Read Bill White's interview with Improbable Players' Founder and Director on his website, William White Papers. Go to > Leadership Interviews > Recovery Advocacy Interviews, "Theater as a Tool in Addiction Recovery and Primary Prevention: An Interview with Lynn Bratley of Improbable Players".
"I started the company...
...with three others in 1984 to inform people about addiction and recovery through theater. My own story, which once seemed so ordinary to me - a story of closet drinking, nightly blackouts, and endless promises to quit - became the basis for the first play, still performed today: it tells a timeless story of the hope and reality of long-term recovery."
"What did I do last night?!" Meet Charlie, the 2nd of 6 masks that dramatize the merry-go-round of addiction. I designed and made the masks, and looked in the mirror to get the expression right. This is what it feels like.
I did WHAT?
He joined the New York troupe Spring 2016 and learned End of the Line for performances at high schools in New Jersey. This fall the troupe went back into rehearsal and he learned the part of Dad in I’ll Never Do That! He is touched by his character's inability to deal with the addiction in his family - and gets to say Dad’s poignant line, “There was a problem in my home, but I didn't want to admit it. I didn't know what to do, so I didn't do anything. I just watched my family go down the tubes.”
After a recent performance, a middle school student asked, “Did you know anyone who died because of drugs?” He told her he did know someone, that he had just seen that person the week before, and now shockingly he was gone. Yes, it does happen. And it doesn’t have to happen.
"I am happy to be a part of this wonderful theater troupe, knowing that our strong message at the end of each play, 'Reach out and ask for help!' is going to save lives."
Justin learned about Improbable Players when he moved to New York from LA and unexpectedly ran into someone at a recovery meeting that he went to college with who just happened to be the associate artistic director of the Players’ New York troupe. Brian told him about the Players and that there was an opening for an actor for the new play, End of the Line.
Despite having studied theater at Brandeis and earning his BA in Theater from Wesleyan University, Justin had returned to New York determined to abandon his acting career. But the surprising possibility of working with the Players was one of the opportunities that came into his life and helped him change his mind. “What a wonderful gift to be part of an art form that I love and am trained to do and that is of service to others.”
thank you and farewell (for now) ...from Brian
After 5 years as the New York Associate Artistic Director I've decided to make a move to San Francisco. I have worked with the improbable players on and off for the last 14 years, beginning as an actor in Boston in 2003.
It has been one of the greatest gifts of recovery to work with this incredible group of people, to share our experience, strength and hope. I will be forever grateful to Lynn and Christina for giving me a chance to be a part of the company- they have been my friends and personal mentors for over a decade.
There is no other acting job quite like the improbable players - the joy, mutual support and camaraderie among the actors is indescribable. So much care goes into our work and it shines through in every performance.
I'm wishing the Players lots of love and appreciation as we launch into a new phase; I know our programs will continue to touch the hearts of many and awaken hope for those in need.
-----All the best, Brian
Lynn and Brian at NYU. He is hoping to start an improbable Players troupe in San Francisco
Elizabeth A., Theater studies, City College of San Francisco, composer/lyrices of original performances - Boston
Joshua A., Bunker Hill Community College, actor in training - Boston
Amie C., MFA in Acting from Catholic University, Washington DC - New York
Justin C., BA in Theater from Wesleyan University, MFA Candidate, Brandeis University - New York
Abby E., studied psychology at Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C. - Boston
Christina E., BA in Theater Arts and Management, UMass/Boston - actress, singer, and voice-over artist - Boston
Matt F., BA in Theater Arts, UMass/Boston - actor - New York
Erin H., BS in Psychology, City College of NY, Recovery coach - Boston
Brian J., MFA in Acting, ACT: American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco - actor, singer, Polarity Therapist - on leave
Shahjehan K., BFA, UMass Lowell, musician and actor - Boston Paco L.,MFA, acting, FSU, Asolo Conservatory, BA in Theater from Marquette University stage actor - New York
Tom P., BA from Brown University, actor in film, television and theater SAG-AFTRA - New York
Julia R., BA in Theater, Cornell University -actor and writer, -on leave
Jonathan R., Vassar College, music teacher at Plugged In Needham, - Boston
Elie S.. BS in Business Management, UMass, working toward M.Sc in early childhood education, Wheelock College - Boston
Dennis S., BFA in Theater Education, Boston University, actor stage and television - Boston
Mary V., BA University of Hartford, B.F.A. in musical theater, The Hartt School, stage and television actor - New York
Maiken W., BA in Drama, University of Washington, Seattle, stage and film actor - New York
"by our silence we let others define us" - Missouri Recovery Network Campaign slogan to encourage people who are in recovery to become spokespeople in the new faces and voices of recovery advocacy movement.
visible, valuable, vocal
Some might say the Improbable Players' message is "we drank and took drugs and had fun, so you can do it too, and then get sober like we did" --thereby encouraging substance abuse.
Our track record and our reviews prove this is not true: the Improbable Players do not demonstrate drug use or portray it in a glamourous light. The plays and follow-up discussions show that alcohol and other drug abuse was destructive in our lives, causing pain and loss with consequences we live with today.
Today we: * Remind people that one doesn't have to be an addict to have a devastating life-changing/altering experience because of drinking too much.
*Support those who have decided not to use.
* Provide inspiration and encouragement to people who are trying to stop, by telling our own stories and providing information about where to get help.
*Introduce community resources: people and organizations.
*Changed our lives from being destructive people to people who are making a positive contribution:visible, valuable, vocal.