I have been fortunate to work with a Chicago-based non-profit arts organization, Erasing the Distance, as a research consultant over the last few years. Erasing the Distance has been using the power of performance to disarm stigma, spark dialogue, educate, and promote healing surrounding issues of mental health since 2005.
Their new project, Tell me What You Remember, is a premiere production that explores depression in families. Tell me What You Remember tells the true story of one family’s life-altering battle with depression, using their distinct journey to illustrate the universal truth of how deeply depression can impact both those who suffer, and those who love them.
A few weeks ago, I had a chance to attend their first script reading with actors and the production team. I found that Tell me What You Remember beautifully portrays the interplay of various factors in depression: environmental and systemic factors such as family dynamics and schools; intrapersonal factors such as biological disposition and personality styles; sociopolitical factors such as gender and socioeconomic status, etc. Interactions among these factors are not simple or straightforward. It is nearly impossible to name one specific event or person that caused depression.
Another thing I liked about this script is that it shows that family members have slightly different stories and interpretations about the same event, yet they can be equally valid. There is no single reality, as we construct our own realities. After watching this production, the audience will notice that depression should not be seen as a sign of personal weakness or just a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is not an individual problem.
I would like to encourage everyone to go to see this powerful production to combat the stigma associated with mental illness, learn about mental health resources, and take action!
Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 & 16, 2014
Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee, Chicago
$20 in advance, $25 at door,
$15 for students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more.
Click here for tickets.
Please visit their webpage to learn more about this event.