Spain’s Immersive “Next to Normal” Revival Allows Audience to Experience Inadequate U.S. Health Care
by Liz Wiest. @lizkhawiesta.
BARCELONA - Last week, Variety announced that Tony-winning 2009 hit Next to Normal will premiere in July at the Festival Greg de Barcelona in July. But this time, audiences will not only get to watch the themes depicting inadequate American mental health care: they’ll get to live it too!
“I noticed that public health crises have been pretty trendy the past few years,” announced festival producer Floyd Parsons, aghast while seeing just how many insurance restrictions there are in the U.S.. “What if there were a show like Sleep No More, but instead of us reimagining a beloved classic, we reimagined a show that didn’t age well at all! And instead of providing spooky atmospheric escapism, we just reminded everyone that no idea is more escapist than sufficient mental health care in the United States.”
Rudy Stone, a New York Times critic who lost a bet and had to be the one to review the preview run, shared his initial thoughts with us.
“I thought making it immersive was…a choice,” he yawned while fighting off the effects of Prozac withdrawal. “You walked in after filling out an intake form for two hours, then an usher who also happened to be a licensed psychiatrist just hands you a prescription that you have to take throughout watching the show. The worst part was when we each got handed a bill on the way out saying our insurance didn’t even cover it! I’m going to be trying to get in touch with Aetna all week now.”
Delores Long, a representative from the American Psychiatric Association, expressed how unabashedly concerned she was with this “stylistic choice”.
“We would never sign off on something this irresponsible,” she said, half paying attention while scrolling through her FYP of all problematic TikTok therapists. “Besides, everyone knows there’s no money in THEATRE, you really think the APA would attach themselves to something that wasn’t lucrative? Please”.
Parsons is also reinventing the wheel by being the first to implement the standard that asking anyone if they attended the show is a HIPAA violation. This is predicted to cause a surge in ticket sales, since the remaining die-hard fans of this show can now subtly attend knowing there will be no risk of being publicly branded as cringe.