16 Labels


In the scene “Labels,” four healthcare practitioners interact with an unseen patient and write in the patient’s file. One main focus of this scene is the biases held by each of the practitioners and how those biases are transmitted between practitioners. This scene also presents an avenue to discuss issues within the field of healthcare, including how to manage time when one is faced with competing demands.

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

Watch the Scene:

Jokering Techniques

Inner Dialogue (Lower Skill)

  • During the interactions with the unseen patient, what do you think the patient might be thinking? Invite a learner to role play as the patient. What might the patient say in response to what he is experiencing? How might the patient’s contribution escalate or deescalate a situation? Now switch and invite a learner to role play as the “inner voice” of the health care provider. What might the inner voice be saying as the scene unfolds?

Hot Seating (Higher Skill)

  • Invite any learner to play one of the health care workers. Have the audience ask them questions. Sample questions might include: Why did you write what you did on the chart? What was the morning like for you before you saw this patient? What did you find most challenging about the morning? Did you try anything to deescalate the encounter? If not, could you have tried anything? What might it have been?

Initiating Questions

  1. What implicit biases underpin the term ‘difficult’? Who was being difficult in this scene?
  2. Whose narrative is being told in the written report?
  3. What does it mean to give voice to the experiences of patients?
  4. Beyond the issues presented in this scene, are there other more systemic issues that are highlighted in this scene? What would they be and how could they be addressed?

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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