19 But I’m a Good Person


In But I’m a Good Person, an older health care worker assumes that a woman’s pain is more emotion than anything else and questions the decisions of a younger colleague. Later that night, she meets with her supervisor to debrief. She has realized that she was incorrect about her assumptions and questions her own role and ‘blindspots’ towards patients’ experiences. The scene invites questions about what it means to be good and do good, as well as exploration of issues of power related to age and hierarchy. It also provides opportunity to reflect on what we do with our mistakes.

Topic Risk Level: High
Dramatic Skill Difficulty: Low to High

Watch the Scene:

Facilitation and Jokering

Image Theatre (Lower Skill)

  • What does ‘good’ look/sound/feel like? Invite learners to pose as ‘good’? Or have two participants partner up, with one sculpting the other as ‘good’.
    • Does what is good vary between individuals?
    • What does it mean to be a ‘good person’?
    • Who determines what is good?
    • Is Sheila’s character a good person?

Out Scene (Higher Skill)

  • An unseen conversation between the characters of Jordan and Kevin happens in between the two scenes that we have provided. What do you imagine happened during this conversation?  Place learners into pairs and have them role play this missing scene. Invite some to share in front of the whole group.
  • Sheila and Kevin have an important debrief. Imagine that after that Sheila’s character and Jordan’s character have another conversation. What might they say?

Initiating Questions

  1. What responsibility do you think Sheila has for her mistake? Beyond Sheila, are there other mistakes that were made in these scenes?
  2. Who holds the power in this scene? How does power shape our biases? (Remember to consider the experiences of both holding power and not holding power.)
  3. How do you provide feedback to colleagues who seem to be acting on their implicit biases?
  4. How willing are you to discuss your own mistakes with your supervisor?
  5. Do you have people you can critically reflect with? What do you look for in a friend like that?
  6. Do you think there are broad systemic issues at play in this scene? If so, what are they? How do they shape the situation?

Considerations and Research

This scene may lead to a broad discussion about how systemic racism shapes pain management in the health care system. The following research studies may be useful for discussion after viewing this scene.

Benoit, A. C., Cotnam, J., O’Brien-Teengs, D., Greene, S., Beaver, K., Zoccole, A., & Loutfy, M. (2019). Racism experiences of urban indigenous women in Ontario, Canada: “We all have that story that will break your heart”. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 10(2).

Badreldin, N., Grobman, W. A., & Yee, L. M. (2019). Racial disparities in postpartum pain management. Obstetrics and gynecology, 134(6), 1147.

Yearby, R. (2021). Race based medicine, colorblind disease: how racism in medicine harms us all. The American Journal of Bioethics, 21(2), 19-27.

Spotlight on Jokering:

Watch a virtual workshop of the scene in the video below.


Haunting our Biases: Using Participatory Theatre to Interrupt Implicit Bias Copyright © 2022 by Kevin Hobbs; Michael Martin Metz; Nadia Ganesh; Sheila O'Keefe-McCarthy; Joe Norris; Sandy Howe; and Valerie Michaelson. All Rights Reserved.

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