“I live in a war zone filled with drugs and violence.”
“You may make me think it’s not getting any better, but it won’t work, Suicide. I won’t let you bully
me any longer.”
These lines, spoken by teen actors, are straight from their real lives in Pieces: In My Own Voice, an original play addressing mental health issues and stereotypes among youth.
Approximately 20% of adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults. These and other factors underline the importance of meeting the mental health needs of this age group.
And yet, it is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of these children get inappropriate mental health services or no help at all. The lack of education about these diseases leaves the warning signs unrecognized, and countless lives ruined.
Pieces: In My Own Voice is a play by Brenda Wesley that educates audiences about mental illness and provides ongoing informational resources. Ten multi-cultural teenagers from the Milwaukee High School of the Arts will bring to life the people behind the labels of “Schizophrenia”, “ADHD”, “Depression”, “Anxiety”, “Bi-Polar Disorder” and “Suicide” in this original theatrework developed to dispel stereotypes.
The production is a creative component of the successful ASK (Access, Support & Knowledge) program, which was developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Milwaukee (NAMI). Milwaukee Public Theatre has partnered with NAMI and the Milwaukee High School of the Arts to develop and tour a teen version of this play to ten Milwaukee Public Schools this spring, thanks to a grant from the MPS Partnership for the Arts, the Wisconsin Arts Board, CAMPAC and the United Performing Arts Fund. City Year has also provided some support for the performances at MPS Schools.
Most of the ten performance sites have been confirmed, with more to be scheduled in May. All of the hour-long school shows are open to the general public but audiences should contact the school as indicated.
- Date to be confirmed, 4 pm, Milwaukee High School of the Arts
- Tuesday, May 1, 4 pm, South Division H.S. Auditorium, 1515 W. Lapham Blvd. (Contact: Kerstyn Carr, City Year at 882-2006 or email@example.com, or the school at 902-8300
- Thursday, May 10, 4 pm, Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts Cafeteria, 800 W. Walnut St. (Contact: Chris Steinkamp at 414-502-5991 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Tuesday, May 15, 3:30 pm, Hopkins-Lloyd School Cafetorium, 1503 W. Hopkins St. (Contact: Cassie Scheidegger, City Year at 502-5983 or email@example.com)
- Thursday, May 17, 4 pm, Northwest Secondary Auditorium, 5496 N. 72nd St. (Contact: Chris Steinkamp, City Year at 414-502-5991 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Tuesday, May 22, 3 pm, Rogers St. Academy Multipurpose Room, 2430 W. Rogers St. (Contact: Erin Fischer, City Year at 678-8178 or EFischer11@cityyear.org)
- Date to be confirmed, 3:30 pm, Mitchell Street School Cafeteria, 1728 S. 23rd St. (Contact: Stephanie Fakharzadeh, City Year at email@example.com)
- To be scheduled: Shows at Rufus King, Hamilton, and Lincoln Middle School of the Arts
For more information and an up-to-date schedule of performances, visit www.milwaukeepublictheatre.org or www.namigrm.org.