Local Playwright Tackles Intersection of Race, Mental Health
Friday, July 5, 2019
SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Mental health and the stigma surrounding it are the topics of a new play that's getting a first read this Sunday in Somerville, with a public forum to follow.
The play, "Alone Together," is by local poet, playwright and mental health advocate Marshall Gillson, and was developed with a grant from the Somerville Arts Council.
The play highlights one couple's struggles for emotional wellness, and their particular challenges with it as African Americans.
Gillson says the idea for the play was born out of his own experience.
"I had juvenile depression,” he relates. “I was suicidal very, very young. I was really emotional and didn't understand it, and didn't have a way to express it, and a way to evaluate it and a way to, like, deal with its significance in my life. So, I started writing as, like, a venue for that."
The play tells the story of a black couple trapped during a snowstorm, who must navigate the space with each other – and their mental health issues.
Local actors Mindy Britto and Christian Thomas will be doing the reading, with a discussion to follow by psychologist Charmain Jackman.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four people struggles with mental illness at some point in his or her life. For black Americans dealing with the stress of systemic racism, the numbers can be even higher.
Gillson says he wanted to create the space for discussion around these issues, which are so often hidden or minimized, even among family and friends.
"There's a lot of stigma around mental health, because black people feel like we're supposed to be strong and we're supposed to be overcoming constantly,” he states. “It's dismissed as, like, 'Well, that's fine, you can feel however you want, but we don't have the resources to deal with that.' Or, 'You don't have the space to deal with that, you need to be thinking about surviving.' And, like, that's part of surviving."
The event is free and open to the public. It's this Sunday, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at Arts at the Armory in Somerville.
get more stories like this via email
A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …
Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …
As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …
If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…
North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …
Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …
After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …