Elephant-in-the-Room Series: Mental Illness

There’s so much that needs healing in our world... why are we uncomfortable talking about it? New Hampshire Theatre Project is not only talking about these issues—they’ve launched a provocative series, Elephant in the Room, about subjects that we as a society often have difficulty discussing. Supported in part by a Community Project Grant, each program in the series includes a playreading and a facilitated discussion among audience members, artists, and a panel of experts on the topic. We’re looking at our attitudes about ethical issues involved in each topic, and our mutual responsibility as a society to bring these issues out of the shadows and into a national conversation. Mark your calendar for the next event in the series, Mental Illness

Snap!, written and performed by Regi Carpenter, is the true story of a sixteen year old girl’s descent into mental illness, her commitment to a state mental hospital and her journey back to reality and freedom. Mental illness is, in many ways, a taboo topic. Personal admission of hospitalization is still covered in secrecy, rarely treated as directly and honestly as in Snap! Yet Carpenter doesn’t think of herself as courageous to share her personal experience of recovery. “My challenge was how to bring this story to others in a way that allowed them to find their own story in mine,” she explains. “The response from family members of institutionalized or deceased children and from people with ongoing depression issues has been incredible.” Described by one audience member as “profoundly moving, heartfelt, courageous, and altogether inspiring," Snap! uses music, gesture, and humor to put audiences into the experience as well as to facilitate a deeper understanding of mental health challenges. As she created the story, Carpenter learned that the past doesn’t control us. “What I can see in my experience now is a deeply troubled teen who could no longer cope and who received love, care, and hope in the darkest place.” Carpenter’s short version of Snap! won her the 2012 Boston StorySlam for best of the year. The show is appropriate for teens and adults. Along with performing artist Regi Carpenter, the panel will include Dr. Andrew Kaplan and Jennifer Kinsey from Seacoast Mental Health Center, Maren Tirabassi, and Teddi Kenick-Bailey. This event is funded by New Hampshire Humanities and Exeter Hospital.

Admission is free but donations to Seacoast Mental Health will be gratefully accepted. For more information, please visit www.nhtheatreproject.org.

Other upcoming events in the series:

The Opioid Crisis Effect on Families
Thursday, March 22, 7:00 pm

Play reading: A Wider Circle by Mary Ellen Hedrick

Death & Dying
Thursday, May 3, 7:00 pm

Play reading: Constellations by Nick Payne