The Flight of Fancy: Mental Illness Representation in Drama Anthologies

Regino, C. V. (2017). The flight of fancy: Mental illness representation in drama anthologies. (Unpublished undergraduate thesis). University of the Philippines Diliman, College of Mass Communication.


This study tackles the representation of mental illness in Philippine drama anthologies. Particularly, it seeks to identify and examine the images of schizophrenic characters portrayed in Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK) to see how they perpetuate a culture of stigma in society. It also aims to provide an evaluation of these depictions on the basis of how they can be used to create a culture of compassion and inclusivity for people with schizophrenia.

Through purposive sampling, five episodes of MMK were chosen to be the samples for the study. Using Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiology, Erving Goffman’s theory on stigma, and Paul du Gay’s circuit of culture model in a textual analysis, the samples were broken down and studied to derive the images of schizophrenia. From the data gathered, the researcher discovered that time constraints in production, oversimplification of the process of recovery, overemphasis of illness attributes, and inability to correct these mistakes in production are the foremost contributors to the perpetuation of stigma in society. The images were then deconstructed to determine how the representation of schizophrenic characters can be manipulated to create a culture revolving on the idea of compassion and inclusivity for schizophrenic individuals. These are by letting the audience get a full grasp of the character’s experiences with schizophrenia, educating viewers by showing a proper diagnosis of schizophrenia by the medical doctors in the episode, representing the characters in their normal state, not overemphasizing their undesirable characteristics and focusing instead on their good qualities, and not disempowering schizophrenic individuals through isolating elements.

Moreover, the researcher discovered that in order to apply the theories to topics analyzed in the Filipino setting, the concept of family must be given utmost consideration because it has a huge influence on their culture and relationships. The application of these theories are also not limited to the study of media alone, but they may also be used to analyze and deconstruct cultures for the aim of building a better society.

Keywords: Schizophrenia, Representation, Semiology, Stigma, Circuit of Culure, Textual Analysis, Maalaala Mo Kaya

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