This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

17Feb/21

THE MANIC MONOLOGUES: A VIRTUAL THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE

Who: Tessa Albertson, Anna Belknap, Ato Blankson-Wood, Mike Carlsen, Maddy Corman, Alexis Cruz, Mateo Ferro, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Sam Morales, Bi Jean Ngo, Armando Riesco, Jon Norman Schneider, Heather Alicia Simms, C. J. Wilson, Craig Bierko
What: Monologues about how real-life individuals are dealing with mental illness
Where: McCarter Theatre Center
When: Thursday, February 18, free, 7:00 am
Why: In May 2019, Zachary Burton and Elisa Hofmeister brought their show, The Manic Monologues, to Stanford University, an evening of true stories about people dealing with mental illness. The project was inspired by a psychotic breakdown Stanford University PhD geology student Zach suffered; he was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The play has now been reimagined for online viewing by director Elena Araoz with multimedia designer Jared Mezzocchi; it will start streaming through McCarter Theatre Center on February 18 at 7:00 am, performed by an all-star cast and featuring interactive design and technology, including sound, writing, and doodling. “With this digital endeavor, McCarter hopes to reinforce its role as a cultural organization dedicated to innovative projects that spark timely dialogue and strengthen community,” McCarter resident producer Debbie Bisno said in a statement. “In pivoting to virtual creation in Covid, we’ve uncovered exciting ways of combining art and ideas. And, we are excited to make this work, and the conversation around mental health, accessible to a wider and more diverse audience than we would have in a traditional live staged-reading format. These are silver linings!”

Presented in association with Princeton University Health Services, the 24 Hour Plays, and Innovations in Socially Distant Performance at the Lewis Center for the Arts, The Manic Monologues, originally planned for a staged reading prior to the pandemic lockdown, consists of twenty-one real-life tales told by actors Tessa Albertson, Anna Belknap, Ato Blankson-Wood, Mike Carlsen, Maddy Corman, Alexis Cruz, Mateo Ferro, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Sam Morales, Bi Jean Ngo, Armando Riesco, Jon Norman Schneider, Heather Alicia Simms, C. J. Wilson, and Craig Bierko; in an effort to further reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, there will also be links to a resource guide, video interviews with experts and advocates, the script, and other related material.

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