Theater of the Poor, a low-budget, high-performance theater troupe based mostly in Casper took to the stage on the finish of Might and the start of June to current Mindgames: An Anthology. The entire proceeds from the occasion had been donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and to The Trevor Project.
This assortment of quick performs consisted of three separate exhibits, every of which targeted on psychological well being points and the consequences thereof.
Mindgames, the titular play of the anthology, focuses on a therapist and his relationship with a consumer, or was it the opposite means round?
The Ledge tells the story of a younger man about to commit suicide, and a businessman who desires to guarantee that he does it proper.
And, lastly, ‘The Door,’ is a glimpse into grief, remorse, and staying true to at least one’s self.
Nicholas Johnson directed the present and acknowledged that he selected this specific play to shine a light-weight on each psychological well being points and LGBTQ+ points.
“I directed ‘Exit Laughing’ with Clint Saunders at Stage III again in February and began trying extra into Paul Elliot’s work,” Johnson acknowledged. “Earlier than I took on that function, I did an unbiased research with Dr. Conte at Casper Faculty on queer theater and historical past and evaluation, with exhibits like ‘Liz Estrada,’ ‘Boys within the Band,’ ‘Angels in America,’ ‘The Laramie Mission,’ and extra. These are basic items of literature however upon the analysis I did in the course of the research, I spotted that there actually aren’t plenty of queer themes in theater anymore.”
Add that to the truth that increasingly movies and works of theater are starting to concentrate on psychological well being points, akin to performs like ‘Expensive Evan Hansen,’ or tv exhibits like ’13 Causes Why,’ and it appeared like the proper time to convey a psychological well being/queer-themed play to Casper.
June, particularly, was a very good month to indicate this play, as that month has been designated as ‘Pleasure Month.’ Casper celebrated Pleasure for a whole week, that includes group dinners, a Pleasure within the Park occasion, and extra. However Johnson needed to supply one thing that basically reminded audiences of the battle that homosexual women and men have endured all through most of their lives.
“I am all in regards to the celebration and sporting the rainbow and being part of the parade, however I really feel like typically we’re not likely speaking about the place we have been or the place we’re going or the place we have to go,” he stated. “So we thought it might be fascinating to do a present that talked about that.”
Johnson stated that was a part of the rationale for selecting this present, however another excuse was as a result of he needed to shine a light-weight on psychological sickness that, he believes, would not get talked about sufficient.
“Psychological sickness is not actually precisely represented within the media,” Johnson acknowledged. “We see it a number of occasions, just like the closest illustration we have had just lately has been the ‘Joker’ film, and that simply finally ends up with the man taking pictures the opposite man within the face. That is not a good or correct illustration of psychological well being.”
Might was Psychological Well being Consciousness Month and June was Pleasure Month, so it simply made sense to run the present on two back-to-back weekends, on the finish of Might and starting of June. The exhibits befell within the Theater of the Poor’s studio area which, as their identify implies, isn’t made up of a lot. The units within the play consisted of a desk, a sofa, a lamp and a backdrop. However that’s by design. Theater of the Poor represents the concept that it is the performances, not the set, that basically matter.
And the performances all through all three quick performs had been very, superb.
However it was the present’s closing play, ‘The Door,’ that basically left audiences with one thing to consider.
That play targeted on a girl and her grandson having a dialog in a dimly lit room. All through the present, as the 2 discuss popping out of the proverbial closet and staying within the closest, there’s a not-so-gentle rapping on the lady’s chamber (or condominium) door.
The knocking will get louder and louder because the story is informed. The 2 converse of remorse. Grace, the grandmother, regrets not telling her grandson she knew he was homosexual, and that it was okay. Justin, the grandson, regrets not telling her that he was homosexual and that he was afraid it wasn’t okay.
Because the story unfolds, and possibly – simply maybe- Grace begins to search out some peace, it is revealed that Justin is not truly there in any respect and the knocking on the door was a police officer, informing her that Justin had been killed – crushed to dying as a result of he was homosexual.
As Grace lastly accepts this reality, Justin flips the change of the sunshine off, saying “For all of us.”
After which, because the viewers sits in darkness, a slideshow begins taking part in, showcasing the very actual victims of hate crimes, together with Wyoming’s personal Matthew Shepard.
It is a heavy play and Johnson stated it did precisely what he supposed it to do.
“I believe it opened up much more conversations,” he stated. “There is a slideshow on the finish of the present that portrayed some actually graphic deaths and Matthew Shepard was in it, which hits actually near house for lots of people in Wyoming as a result of plenty of the individuals in our viewers had been at in regards to the age that he would have been. Perhaps they went to highschool with him.”
Johnson stated that it mattered much less to him if individuals appreciated the present or did not just like the present; he simply needed them to take one thing from it.
“If I needed to audiences to take something from the present, it might simply be that they are reminded of the place we’re at as we go into Pleasure month and have a good time all of those nice issues, and our openness and who we’re as individuals and as a group and as a nation. I would like them to look again at the place we have been, and stay up for the place we may nonetheless be.”