Hard working, spirited, quirky, and unapologetically pansexual, Haley Anne Moore dreamt about performing at the Walterdayle Theatre since she saw her first show at the age of 15. Having seen the show with her beloved theatre-enthusiast mother, she vowed she would one day perform there. That vow soon intensified when Haley's mother passed away that same night. Unable to handle the pain and stress, her father Arthur leaves Haley, though returns shortly after. This experience not only sullied their relationship, but also gave Haley abandonment trauma.
Moving to Toronto from Port Hope at the age of 18, she worked herself to the bone as a server while actively pursuing a career in theatre performance. After years of hustling, including writing and producing her own Fringe show as to gain traction as an actor (and losing lots of money in the process), she finally manages to land the lead female role in the Walterdayle Theatre's upcoming show The Rachel Effect where she plays a figment of the leading man's hallucinations. However, right before opening night, she unexpectedly develops depersonalization disorder, which causes her director Patrick to berate her for her "lack of focus". As she struggles to keep her hard-earned job, she meets Ethan, a non-binary (assigned female at birth) genderfluid arcade worker, and the two of them help each other navigate their mental health issues.
(they/them; assigned female at birth)
With disheveled hair and an "artsy grunge" fashion, Ethan is a gentle, artistic soul with an edge—the kind of person who will write you a love song while a “FUCK SOCIETY” poster hangs behind them on their bedroom wall. Surviving a severe car crash where they lost their mother and younger brother, Ethan now struggles with PTSD and trauma-induced harm OCD. They wear long-sleeved shirts to hide the skin-picking wounds on their arms and shoulders due to their harm OCD. Ethan identifies as pansexual, nonbinary, and genderfluid, and despite their anxiety, they live openly and unapologetically as their true selves.
Known as one of the top theatre performers in Toronto, Jesse knows he's hot shit. However, underneath his charming, confident exterior, he struggles to connect with other people (especially emotionally). Feeling an indescribable, unwavering loneliness every moment of every day, he uses a variety of methods such as sex, drugs, and/or alcohol to counteract the persistent discomfort. In the Walterdayle show, he plays the male lead Connor, a dishevelled, poetic homebody struggling with schizoaffective disorder. Rocking bed-head hair, Jesse's tantalizing eyes will make you believe anything—and he knows it.
A kind, lost soul that never felt like he belonged in this world. Rather than turning to drugs or alcohol to escape, he turns to video games. Arthur has been crushed by the decisions he has made throughout his life—specifically the decision to leave his daughter Haley after his wife/Haley's mother Heather passes away when Haley is 15. The experience left him with clinical depression, which lead him to attempt suicide. Surviving the attempt, he ends up meeting Barb, a single mother with two twin boys, and gets remarried shortly after. Years later, still plagued by his past and the depression, he attempts suicide again. Ultimately surviving, he and Haley get the opportunity to discuss their past, however the confines of guilt and depression become too strong, leading to Arthur dying by suicide.
Having previously directed two flops, Patrick has an immense amount of pressure looming over him from the Walterdayle Theatre to make The Rachel Effect a success. His passive aggressive and abrasive attitude tends to get the best of him, especially when the show gets compromised in any way. However, having been through a lot of tough stuff in his life, he's able to recognize how much it takes for a person to do what's best for them.
Full of unrelenting confidence and femininity, Zoey often gets described as otherworldly. Like Haley, she hustled trying to make it as an actress, which led her to being cast in previous Walterdayle shows. In The Rachel Effect, she plays Sasha, Connor's abrasive sister, and is also Haley's understudy.
THE WALTERDAYLE THEATRE
Inspired by Mirvish Productions in Toronto (essentially Toronto's version of Broadway), the Walterdayle Theatre is the theatre in Feeling Unreal where Haley performs in The Rachel Effect.
A run-down, micro shoebox bachelor apartment lined with budget shabby chic Dollarama decor and theatre/Broadway memorabilia. The first portion of the photos express the vibe, and the bottom portion express the size. The smaller and more confined the apartment, the more it will highlight Haley's feelings of suffocation and entrapment.
Previously owned by her father Arthur, "Moore Fun & Games" has been abandoned in Port Hope for many years. Haley finds herself here after she attends her father's funeral to reminisce...and break stuff.
Below are some visual examples of what depersonalization feels like. They are also examples of what Haley's surroundings look like from her POV when she's experiencing depersonalization.