My play FIXED opens May 6th at Passage Theatre. It was commissioned as part of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Stage Exchange Program. Here’s the official blurb:
“What would you sacrifice for the people you love?
Ronnie doesn’t want help. Valerie and Daryl don’t want to reunite. But high school vows bind pretty tightly. Broken promises and dark humor fill David Lee White’s new play about friendship, mental illness, and facing the truth.”
It’s a good blurb. It captures the story and themes concisely.
Here’s what the play is really about –
Almost 3% of the US population suffers from bi-polar disorder. That’s 5.7 million people. Over 16 million Americans suffer from depression. We should talk about that more. Yes, I know there are Facebook memes and click-bait articles. But mental illness is still a frightening taboo. And some otherwise reasonable, intelligent adults still treat mental illness like it’s a medieval curse or a moral failing. Likewise, mental health treatment gets a bad rap. Fifty years after Frederick Wiseman made “Titicut Follies” our general understanding of how mental health diagnoses and treatment has evolved is not widely understood.
FIXED is a play that talks about these things. While the story is fictional, it’s based on interviews I did with friends and acquaintances who have suffered from, and survived, these illnesses. Most of what I write is comedy. I LOVE comedy. I think comedy in theatre is terribly important. FIXED isn’t humorless by any means (especially not with the ace actors that we were lucky to nab) but behind the story of three Trenton High graduates who vow to always be there for one another whenever they get sick, there’s a story about how ignored, untreated, mental illness can wend its way around a group of individuals and derail their lives. It’s also about how those same individuals can survive and thrive through treatment and their love for one another.
That’s it. You should come see it.
Directed by Maureen Heffernan
Featuring: Phillip Gregory Burke*, Deena Jiles*, Maria Konstantinidis*, and Alicia Rivas
* Member Actors’ Equity Association
*Fixed was originally commissioned by the NJPAC Stage Exchange, a program of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center – John Schreiber, President & CEO