Local play to share stories of addiction, bringing an audience closer to the opioid epidemic, on Sept. 12
Sally Wasmuth started using theater for veterans who were active drug addicts when she was a research fellow at the VA. The veterans participated in a production with a professional director and a professional actor.
“As an occupational therapist, we were interested if engaging in a meaningful activity would be beneficial,” Wasmuth said.
Now as an assistant professor at the University of Indianapolis School of Occupational Therapy, Wasmuth saw the opportunity to use theater again, this time to give an audience the experience that will bring them closer to addiction. She went out into the community and interviewed people with different types of addictions: to opioids, alcohol, food. Playwrite Tom Horan took those interviews and wrote a script.
The play, Living Recovery in an Addiction Society, will be performed Sept. 12, 7 – 9 p.m. at UIndy’s Ruth Lilly Performance Hall, Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center.
“This project is a little different in that it’s not an intervention,” Wasmuth said. “We’re not having people in recovery in the play. The idea behind this project is to give people a picture of what addiction looks like and
what it feels like, and give people an idea of what it’s like to have some of the less thought of addictions, like food addiction. We’ll present it in a way people can relate to. One of the goals is to break down the barriers between us and them.”
Lauren Briggeman will direct the play, funded by the College of Health Sciences as part of the Universitys Series, Flipping the Script, with five actors. The event will be followed by a panel discussion, allowing the audience share their reactions and to ask questions.
“I hope people walk away with some understanding of the experience of addiction but experience some catharsis, or identification with what’s going on in the play,” Wasmuth said. “I hope they feel closer to the opioid epidemic. It’s something we hear on the news all the time, but addiction is really close to a lot of people’s lives. Most people have either struggled with an addiction themselves or have a family member who struggles with addiction. It can be really devastating for all the people in that person’s lives.”