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 Thursday, Feb. 8, 7:00 pm

Mental illness is the focus of the second event, featuring a reading of Snap!, written and performed by Regi Carpenter. Snap! 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.

“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.

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

All programs are free and open to the public at NH Theatre Project WEST at 959 Islington Street, Portsmouth. For more information, please visit www.nhtheatreproject.org.