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Addiction Gets Addressed In NYC Theatre Plays

There is no denying that addiction is big topic across the country right now. And one that happens to impact millions of people. So it makes sense that writers, poets and those in the arts would want to bring it to the forefront. That is actually happening on a large scale right now in New York City, with several high profile plays addressing the topic.

One popular off-Broadway show is entitled Georgia Mertching Is Dead. This one tackles addiction from a 30-something perspective, focusing on three women who form a unified bond while going through treatment. Playwright Catya McMullen reportedly based the drama on events that happened within her own life.

Another hot play, Before The Meeting, has been getting rave reviews by the New York critics and could potentially be up for some Tony Award nominations. This one chronicles the evening of a 12-step meeting and features some powerhouse performances. One highlight is a 25-minute monologue from an older woman describing her ongoing battle to stay clean.

That writer, Adam Bock, had won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2012 show Water By The Spoonful (which also profiled the recovery journey). As Bock told The New York Times, his focus has been the pathways people take after they’ve “beaten” their addictions.

“I was interested in writing about what happens after you stop drinking,” Bock told the outlet. “I am interested in how you live that way.”

Another buzzworthy show actually takes the recovery experience and transforms it into a musical. Octet is performed with a cappella singers and blends the harshness of addiction with powerful dance numbers. Though it has comedic elements, this show was won raves for tackling difficult realities (such as overdosing) within a unique stage setting.

Playwright Duncan Macmillan also shared his thoughts with The Times, delving into the unconventional story structure for his play, People, Places and Things. His off-Broadway show doesn’t follow typical rules and proudly so.

“The conventional form of Western stories — beginning, middle, end — doesn’t do addiction stories terribly well because recovery, in particular, doesn’t have a concrete end point,” Macmillan explained. “Its just something you live with and do every day, every hour, for the rest of your life. Addicts and people in recovery have been really badly served in film, TV and theater because a protagonist in a story who is battling with addiction, you need them to either be definitely fixed, which isn’t particularly accurate, in terms of the experience of living with addiction, or they just die.”

Clearly, these writers are finding new and powerful ways to explore addiction scenarios and deserve significant praise for creating stories that need to be told.