Live Five Facts: 5 things to know about ADHD-inspired Saskatchewan play

Kristel Harder (left) and Nathan Coppens (right) feature in the Live Five play "I Have No Idea" running until March 24, 2024. (Supplied / Photo courtesy of Nathan Coppens)

Live Five’s newest play hopes to make you think about how you think.

I Have No Idea, runs on select days from March 15 to 24 at The Refinery. The play focuses on the topic of ADHD and two friends on their journey being diagnosed and dealing with being neurodivergent.

Playwright and performer Nathan Coppens spoke to PodSask about the new play, and here are five key words and facts about the show for audiences to know:

  1. ADHD – Coppens said his own experiences in getting diagnosed with ADHD played a major role in how the script turned out, along with interviews of other individuals who have ADHD.

    As Coppens puts it, receiving a diagnosis can be “validating” — and being able to explore different elements of living with, and managing, ADHD is a major part of what the show is about.

    “It can be years, sometimes, while you’re trying to get a doctor or get diagnosed or get prescriptions,” he said. “We’re trying to reflect (adult perspectives) and give a voice to people who are struggling with it now.”

  2. New – The script is a new play written by Coppens, heavily influenced by collected experiences of those living with ADHD. The play premiered last season in Regina, but makes its way to Saskatoon for the first time ever with Live Five.

    It’s a new Saskatchewan play by Coppens, who has had award-winning success with scriptwriting in the past. The play focuses on two friends as they navigate through ADHD diagnoses, and the mental health professionals who — for better or worse — are part of that journey.

  3. Two-hander – Coppens and Kristel Harder are the only two performers in the show, each playing the roles of two different characters — a friend and a health care professional.

    Coppens said the pair of friends who form the core of the show are at different stages of their personal journeys in addressing their ADHD, and wanted to incorporate multiple perspectives gleaned from the interview process into the production.

    “It’s not a verbatim play, but we took those experiences, some things (interviewees) said, and they really informed the play,” Coppens said. “We wanted it to reflect what’s actually going on in the minds and bodies of the people who have ADHD.”

  4. Music – While the play isn’t a musical, I Have No Idea features a handful of original musical numbers written by Coppens and performed by both Coppens and Harder.

    Coppens described the music as a sort of “throughline” connecting all aspects of the play, featuring some instruments and singing. He said music has been a point of focus for him in coping with his own ADHD and wanted it to be part of this new play.

  5. Accessibility – Coppens said making this play accessible was an important part of the experience for him and the company.

    For Coppens, accessibility takes many forms beyond getting into the venue to see the show: for those with ADHD who are coming to see the show, Coppens said he wanted neurodivergent people to feel seen and comfortable in the audience.

    And for neurotypical people coming to see the show who might have friends or family with ADHD or some other neurodivergent diagnosis, Coppens hopes I Have No Idea can introduce them to the right kind of language and tools to better understand what neurodivergence — and getting a proper diagnosis and help — is really like.

    “It’s for neurodivergent people, but it’s for neurotypical people as well. We’re talking about ADHD, but we’re talking about any mental health thing that isn’t understood,” he said. “It will be a safe space. You’ll laugh, and you’ll also be moved.”

I Have No Idea runs on select days from March 15 to 24 at The Refinery. Tickets can be found at livefive.ca.

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