Monday, July 11, 2016

245 AND COUNTING—Combating Addiction with a Little DoReMi

By Jenan Jacobson

Jenan Jacobson
I recognize that I have an addictive personality. There are aspects of my life that I need to keep firmly in check and balanced because I know how far that character trait can take me. This is something I have learned through trial and error, and it has made me wary of the many possibilities that might turn into an addiction. I keep far, far away from any potentially addictive substances, not only because I know the hype behind them, but because I know myself. I practice restraint in everything I do, or at least I try to, and I buff up my willpower so that it can keep me balanced in my life. The thing is, most habits can become addictive, even beyond substances or practices commonly recognized as being problematic. People can become addicted to video games, or exercise, or any other manner of everyday habit.

Nicky from Orange is the New Black
The nature of addiction is that it is something taken to extremes. It is an all or nothing attitude that becomes inherently destructive. I can’t claim to know the science behind all this, but I can speak as someone who has struggled with destructive, addictive behavior. Breaking free of an addiction is trying—and the remarkable difficulty associated with attempting to do this makes for high tension moments. There is a reason television shows and movies often have characters engaging in this struggle: it is relatable to people, even if they don’t suffer in quite the same way, or to the same extent, and it is also intrinsically a point of conflict. Fictional addicts like Nicky from Orange is the New Black and House’s titular character are engaging to watch because you cannot truly understand how much they want whatever it is they want, but they are compelling in their desire for it, even as you recognize how truly destructive it is.

Dr. House
            245 and Counting by Molly Alexa Horan confronts the realities of addiction, and tries to find a solution for the disease. The characters all suffer from their own specific brand of addiction, and each manifests a different level of receptiveness to treatment. Given the musical nature of the show, however, it makes sense that the universal bridge to these troubled minds is through song. You will not meet a person who has not used music at some point in his or her life to work through some sort of emotional turmoil—be it head banging to some loud, metal cacophony, or crying through one pop ballad or another, people gravitate toward the parts of oneself that can be unlocked through melody and rhythm. Told through group meetings and individual breakthroughs, this play deals with the ups and downs of recovery, and advocates for the rising interest in music as medicine. Troubled as they are, the characters in the play are at times unnervingly relatable, and the play draws you in until you are utterly invested in the outcome of their struggles. Whether or not you have any experience with addiction, this is a play that can be understood on a fundamental level. Don’t miss it!

Have you ever had any experiences with addiction? Do you believe in the curative powers of music? Comment below!

245 AND COUNTING, Book, lyrics and music by Molly Alexa Horan
Four 20-something addicts hit rock bottom and land in rehab at the Rhapsody Music Rehabilitation Center. The musical follows their journey through 245 days of recovery, tracing personal discoveries, evolving relationships among the group members and with their psychiatrist, and lessons learned through therapy and music.
Friday, July 22nd at 7pm
Sunday, July 24th at 4pm
Tuesday, July 26th at 7pm
At the Theatre at St. Clement’s, 423 West 46 th Street, NYC
The Riant Theatre’s Strawberry Theatre Festival  

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