Beneath the Surface

Exploring Mental Health and Invisible Disabilities at Clark University


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“Beneath the Surface” will premiere next semester.

Savannah Donohue, Contributing Writer

“Beneath the Surface” is a production in the style of “The Vagina Monologues” about mental health and invisible disabilities being planned by Ziva Wernick (‘19). Unlike “The Vagina Monologues,” which has a predetermined script, “Beneath the Surface” will be composed of anonymous submissions by Clark students. Wernick believes using students’ submissions will make the performance more personal to the Clark community.

The goal of the production will be to raise awareness of individuals’ struggles with mental health and invisible disabilities. Wernick has personally experienced the issues that can arise due to misunderstandings surrounding mental health.

Wernick is particularly committed to conveying the breadth of students’ personal experiences with mental health and invisible illness.

“[We want to] make mental illness and invisible disabilities something that students on campus can begin to recognize not only as something where they are not alone.” she said

Wernick is working with Adam Kosakowski, director of Student Accessibility Services, on securing funding for the project.

Community engagement is a large part of “Beneath the Surface” and Wenick plans to make auditions open to everyone.

“The whole point is about inclusion,” Wernick said.

Wernick wants “Beneath the Surface” to change the way the Clark community thinks about mental illness and invisible disabilities. She hopes the performance will not only remove the stigma around mental illness and invisible disabilities, but also cause students to respect that everyone has their own journey.