SLCA and NoPiates Committee Team Up To Combat Drug Addiction in Rensselaer County

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(In)Dependent” was created in April 2017 after months of primary and secondary research, consisting of 50 interviews of Northeastern Ohio doctors, nurses, paramedics, educators, current and recovering addicts, as well as their friends and families. These stories and people make up the entirety of the show, by taking their stories and personalities and sewing them into a plot and character cast.

Intensive academic study of the neuroscience, psychology, chemistry, politics, economics, and sociology behind addiction and the heroin epidemic also played a significant role in the creative writing process of this artistic activism piece. This research was conducted to view all perspectives of addiction and the heroin epidemic and how it affects everyone, directly and indirectly, along with personifying the drug to show the devastating and personal effects it has on society.

We, the writers, were inspired by the 2016 media blitz of the heroin epidemic to reach out to key publics in a different medium that is underappreciated, but more effective: theatre. Theatre is where all emotions can carelessly be unveiled and felt through the atmosphere as an exchange through the characters to the audience. The art is used to confront this societal issue and display it in a more humanized setting by displaying an array of viewpoints and discussing the problem, rather than sweeping it under the rug. The focus of this play is to get the audience comfortable with the uncomfortable and come face-to-face with the uncanniness and stigma of addiction and the heroin epidemic.

“(In)Dependent” follows the life of Ryan, a recovering addict, as he struggles to maintain his relationships with friends and family, while the sultry temptress/tempter, Heroin, skulks in the shadows, clinging to his every weakness. He attends narcotics anonymous (NA) meetings and crosses paths with Emily, a recovering addict, that dynamically impact his life. Throughout his eventful journey to recovery, he tries his best to settle back into society.

Within the play, we humanize addicts and prove that anyone can be an addict by making the casting physicality vague and personalities flexible. The show becomes complete in its entirety by the actors bringing the characters to life through their interpretation. The play is also to be set in the year and location of wherever it is being performed to show that addiction and the epidemic can happen anywhere. We do not display any physical drug content or gestures, so the play may be comfortably viewed by anyone. We refuse to display anything that could possibly trigger anyone that is currently using or in recovery. *If you are uncomfortable with the curse words throughout the dialogue in the script, then we give you permission to change the words or omit them from the reading.

Lastly, this script is more than a play; it is a way to assist the community. Wherever it is performed, we ask of the director and/or facility, at which it is performed, to collect material and monetary donations to give to a local rehabilitation or help center. These items will go toward assisting recovering addicts with their programs and living arrangements.-Emelia Sherin and Zachary Manthey

NoPiates Committee and Sand Lake Center for the Arts present (In)Dependent, a play by Emelia Sherin and Zachary Manthey.
Saturday 4/4 at 8pm and Sunday 4/5 at 2:30pm
At the Averill Park High School Auditorium
Admission: Free

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