For the past month and a half, the Theatre Arts class has been practicing and preparing to perform their comedic play TOC TOC.
Before the play began, the Director, Mr. Acevedo, addressed the crowd and gave a little background on the actual name of the play. He mentioned that there exists a mental disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. In Spanish, OCD translates to Trastorno Obsesivo Compulsivo or TOC, therefore giving the play its name, TOC TOC.
Six different patients suffering from OCD have their patience tested in a waiting room. They are waiting for Dr. Cooper, one of the most well-renowned specialists in treating OCD, to arrive for their appointments. As they each begin to trickle into the waiting room, the audience begins to learn who they are and what their compulsivities are. The characters are:
Fred (Rowen Maguire) A man who has Tourettes, which is very similar to OCD. Fred simply can’t control his own voice and randomly yells out insults mid-conversation. He greets another character, Camilo, and his mid conversation insults almost cause a fight.
Camilo (Julian Garcia) A man who cannot stop counting because of his calculation OCD. His compulsion becomes apparent when he opens the door to the waiting room as he finishes counting the 88 steps he had to climb. He says “5 floors, 88 steps” then says “I have been waiting for this appointment for 5 years. That’s 60 months, 1,826 days, 43,824 hours, 2,629,440 minutes, or 157,766,400 seconds that I have been waiting.”
Lance (Luke Sullivan) A man suffering from Nosophobia, or an irrational fear of contracting diseases. He enters the waiting room rather quiet and with a big briefcase. Before he sits down, he pulls out a cylinder container of Clorox wipes and does the obvious, he wipes down his seat.
John (Jacob Meyer) A man who has a verification OCD. He cannot stop checking and verifying the simplest of things. Multiple times throughout the play he stands up and begins to yell about how he “Forgot to turn the tap off” or “I left the lights on, I just know it”, and don’t forget the 1000 times that he checks that he has his keys.
Willie (Gabe Tan) A man who suffers from both Echolalia and Palilalia which means that he not only repeats back what others say, he also repeats words, phrases, or syllables that he himself has said. This OCD sets up for a hilarious scene where he breaks down in front of the other characters, goes on in a long rant, and just when the audience thought it was over, he began the rant again.
Bob (Miles Dikun) A man who has a phobia of treading on lines and disrupting order and symmetry. He opens the door to the waiting room only to be hesitant to enter as he finds that the floor of the room is made up of all tiles with dividing lines. He can’t step on the lines, he just can’t. So he jumps all across the room in order to sit down.
Miles Dikun, an actor in the play commented, “I have most enjoyed the bond that I’ve created with my fellow cast members. It’s kinda weird how even though we are all different, this theatre class has given us a common ground to help and understand each other and become close with people you would have never thought you had anything in common with. Rowen Maguire also stated that he really liked the “practices when we just joked around and had fun. It really brought us together.”
The play starts out with Fred alone in the waiting room. As other characters enter, his OCD is revealed. With time, the audience learns of each characters’ traits and compulsions through dialogue. When all six patients are finally seated, the audience gets the chance to really understand the patients as they converse and comfort each other due to the seemingly never-ending wait on Dr. Cooper. Many of the patients try to leave throughout the play because of the long wait but the other characters always manage to convince them to stay. After the wait has become too long, Bob subtly brings up the topic of group therapy and how it has helped him in the past. Although, at first hesitant, the other patients finally agree with trying out this notion of group therapy.
The group attempts to fix their disorders and fail miserably. They become downtrodden at their failure but they soon begin to realize that by helping a specific person trying to overcome his OCD, they themselves have unconsciously overcome theirs. They rejoice in their realizations and finally decide that the time has come to leave. They hug, high five, and say goodbye, and they all leave the waiting room, one by one.
He wasn’t needed, the patients only needed themselves. That sums up TOC TOC by Rowen Maguire, Julian Garcia, Luke Sullivan, Jacob Meyer, Gabe Tan, Miles Dikun, and Mr. Acevado.
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