As theater, Erasing the Distance’s piece discussing bipolar disorder is not very good. The staging is stagnant, the performance decisions and narrative angles are repetitious, and the sound and lighting don’t add as much as they could. I’ve seen director Genevieve Thompson’s work before; she has a great deal more to offer.
But that’s not the point.
Even today, mental illness has such a stigma attached to it that just to discuss the details of the illness brands those who suffer from it as Other, as lesser. The opportunity to stand on a stage and tell the war stories, share helpful tips and simply offer encouragement is rare and did not go unappreciated by audience members the night I saw it.
Erasing the Distance’s work is ongoing. The next time I see them, I hope they embrace the theatrical medium and give their message even more impact. (Lisa Buscani)
Erasing the Distance at Hoover-Leppen Theatre, Center on Halsted, 3656 North Halsted. Event@erasingthedistance.org. Through May 22.