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Gloria VonGouten: Ah, The Theatre</u>

“I didn’t take anything from you!  I didn’t ask to be famous!  I just wanted you to love me!’re supposed to be dead!”

- Gloria VonGouten, Psychonauts


Not long after Raz gets out of Boyd’s head, he finds himself in the asylum’s greenhouse.  Standing in the center of the greenhouse, in a spotlight, and bowing to the various potted plants (which have faces drawn on their pots) is Gloria VonGouten.  When Raz questions her about seeing Lili pass by, Gloria instead comments about what a handsome leading man the theatre paired her with, but laments that her “eternally youthful face” causes her to always be partnered with such young actors.  When she doesn’t respond to Raz’s questioning, Raz finds an old trophy nearby.  Upon grabbing it, Gloria reveals that it’s hers and asks if Raz wants to hear the story of how she got it.  Then she walks out of the spotlight.

Once she leaves the spotlight, however, her entire demeanor changes.  She suddenly becomes confrontational, grabbing the trophy from Raz and insisting that he wants to take it from her.  She chases Raz out of the greenhouse (the look on her face almost gave me nightmares) after saying the above quote.  But once she returns to the spotlight, her happy demeanor returns and she is kind as usual.

When Raz enters her mind, he finds himself center stage in a vast mental theatre.  A stage manager, Becky Houndstooth, rushes him off stage while enduring the verbal beating called out by the theatre’s resident critic, Jasper Rolls.  It is worth noting that Gloria is the only character not to appear in her own mental world, but to be represented by one of her mental beings.  

Gloria’s Theatre is plagued by The Phantom, a mysterious apparition that sabotages all of the plays that Becky attempts to put on.  Because of the malicious events that have been occurring, the star of the shows, Bonita Soleil, has locked herself in her room and isn’t coming out.  Now the theatre is stuck playing only ‘Sunshine Shenanigans’ or ‘The Horror Of Hagatha Home’.  Raz attempts to get Bonita to take the stage by lighting a large spotlight (called the ‘Manual Mood Override’) that can switch back and forth between the comedy and tragedy theatre masks.  However, The Phantom strikes again, and Jasper criticizes Bonita so badly that she runs back to her room and won’t come out again.

Frustrated, Raz is forced to run through a series of scenes on varying sets and stages, both under the Tragedy mask and the Comedy mask.  Slowly, but surely, Gloria’s past emerges.  When Gloria was younger, it became very obvious that she had great talent for acting.  Her mother, a washed-up actress herself, placed Gloria in Hagatha Home For Girls, an intense boarding school for the arts, at the insistence of her boyfriend when Gloria’s fame exceeded her own.  Gloria kept up her spirits during those long, grueling years at Hagatha Home by hoping for rescue, or at least encouraging letters from her mother, but none came.  After finally leaving Hagatha Home, Gloria left to Paris, cutting all ties with her mother.  Not long afterwards, she learned that her mother had committed suicide.  Gloria fell into a downward spiral, and finally, because of guilt and regret, her psyche fractured and she was institutionalized.

After learning about Gloria’s past through acted out scenes and Memory Vaults, Raz finally makes it into the catwalks of the theatre, the Phantom’s realm.  There he confronts the Phantom, only to find that it is actually none other than Jasper, Gloria’s inner critic.  After he attacks, Raz defeats him with a few well-placed spotlights, peace returns to Gloria’s Theatre, Bonita takes the stage once more, and Gloria’s moods stabilize allowing Raz to collect part one of his “Loboto Disguise”.
Now we turn our attention to Bipolar Disorder.  “Bipolar Disorder (formerly known as Manic-Depressive Disorder) is characterized by the experience of one or more manic episodes as well as periods of depression.” (Weiten, 2007).  When in the spotlight, Gloria is talkative, sociable, self-confident, and happy.  These are all symptoms of a manic episode.  When out of the light, Gloria is gloomy, irritable, violent, and negative. These are all symptoms of a depressive episode.  
Similarly, in Gloria’s mind, when the ‘Comedy’ mask on her Manual Mood Override is forward, the sets become happy and brightly colored.  Actors dressed as flowers, puppies, and birds cavort happily.  All of the scenes set on these pleasant sets are hopeful and optimistic.  However, when the ‘Tragedy’ mask on her Manual Mood Override is forward, the sets become dark colored and ominous.  Actors are now dressed as thistles, wolves, and bats, and they also now attack Raz.  All of the scenes set on these depressing sets are cruel and cynical.

According to Weiten (2007), “The mood swings in bipolar disorders can be patterned in many ways.  About 20% of bipolar patients exhibit a rapid-cycling pattern, which means they go through four or more manic or depressive episodes within a year.”  However, Gloria herself has evidence of an even rarer type of cycling, known as ‘ultra-ultra rapid cycling’, also known as ‘ultradian cycling’.  Kramlinger (1996) did studies of a group of rapid-cycling bipolar patients and found “a spectrum of cycling frequencies in rapid-cyclers, including distinct, clinically robust mood shifts that occur at frequencies faster than once per 24 hours.”  He went on to mention finding “affective oscillations spanned a range of cycling frequencies from four episodes per year (rapid cycling) to those occurring within the course of weeks to several days (ultra-rapid cycling), to distinct, abrupt mood shifts of less than 24 hours duration (ultra-ultra rapid or ultradian cycling).”  (Kramlinger, 1996)
Finally, links between creativity/the arts and bipolar disorder have been found.  The rate and intensity of psychopathological symptoms appear to be higher among eminent creators than in the general population (Simonton, 2005; Ellis, 1926; Raskin, 1936).  The rate and intensity of symptoms varies according to the specific domain of creativity (Simonton, 2005; Ludwig, 1992; Post, 1994). For example, psychopathology is higher among artistic creators than among scientific creators (Simonton, 2005; Post, 1994; Raskin, 1936).  Since Gloria is an actress, an artistic creator, she no doubt shared this tendency towards bipolar disorder even before her symptoms manifested.  

“In general, creativity requires the cognitive ability and the dispositional willingness to "think outside the box"; to explore novel, unconventional and even odd possibilities; to be open to serendipitous events and fortuitous results; and to imagine the implausible or consider the unlikely. From this requirement arises the need for creators to have such traits as defocused attention, divergent thinking, openness to experience, independence and nonconformity. Let us call this complex configuration of traits the "creativity cluster."”  (Simonton, 2005)


Pink Flower Person: “And where would Gloria be without her muse!”

Blue Flower Person: “Her inner sunshine!”

Orange Flower Person: “The spirit of her youth!”

Pink Flower Person: “Played tonight, once again, by...”

All: “Bonita Soleil!”

::Bonita appears on-stage::

Pink Flower Person (as Gloria): “Oh, I do so hope that my mother is proud of me!”

::Pink Flower Person is crushed by a falling stage light::

Becky: “Not again!”

Orange Flower Person: “The Phantom!”

Jasper: “I’ve seen some bad plays in my day, but this one is an actual menace!  And it’s all her fault.  It’s her bad acting that makes the Phantom strike!”

::Bonita runs offstage, sobbing::
Part Three!

Boyd Cooper:…
Gloria VonGouten: HERE!
Fred Bonaparte:…
Edgar Teglee:…
Crispin Whytehead: Coming Soon
Caligosto Loboto: Coming Soon
Morceau Oleander: Coming Soon

Sorry it took so long! This one wasn't so much fun as Boyd. It's actually likely that Gloria doesn't have Bipolar, but instead a severe form of one of its relatives (like Psychotic Depression) but I started out writing about Bipolar, and dangit I wrote about Bipolar!

Next up is Fred! Woo! Vive la France! (I think France is supposed to be feminine...) For anyone who's curious, I'm kind of doing these in the order both that I played through the levels, and also in order of the major interactions with each character in the game.

Version with pictures is here:…
DaltonJGivens Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
In the end, aren't we all mad in a way?
halley42 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2008
Yeah, seconded. Made me think harder about Gloria than I've done so far.
NakkiStiltz Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2008

This is very well written! You explained Gloria's mental illness very well in my opinion. :) All those facts about bipolar disorder were cool too!
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Submitted on
October 21, 2008
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