Problems with alcohol and other drug abuse often remain hidden, shameful.Improbable Players' goal is to bring these problems out into the open through plays and real life stories and encourage people who recognize their own situations to ask for help.
A new report (02/16/12) from SAMHSA shows that 7.5 million children under age 18 live with a parent who has experienced alcohol problems in the past year. According to the report, "the enormity of this public health problem goes well beyond these tragic numbers....because the children are at far greater risk for developing their own alcohol and other problems later in their lives."
"There are some students who are struggling with alcohol or drugs, but there are others who have a parent or sibling who are suffering from them. Your program was completely helpful and relatable." HS Counselor
"Improbable Players came to our school...their play was real, honest, thought provoking, and entertaining. ...the message was about issues that many of our students are facing.
"Less than a week after the program, we had the freshman and sophomores meet in groups of 12 students and an adult to reinforce the messages from the presentation, answer questions, and get feedback from the students on their own personal experiences. Many were talking about how the Players' presentation was something that they can personally relate to, and in addition there were able to point out how their families were like or not alike a specific actor/actress. They were able to discuss experiences of their own in a safe place." - Adjustment Counselor 2011
One of our actors (D.) sometimes mentions that he had anxiety growing up and that he's even nervous being on stage ‘talking to you now.’ During the Q&A a student raised his hand. "This question is for D.: I struggle with anxiety myself. How would you recommend I go about treating it without turning to medication or drugs?"
From D: "You are already doing it by talking about it and admitting that you have anxiety. I was ashamed to admit it. I didn't have the courage and the bravery that you just displayed - and so I hid behind drugs and alcohol thinking that would solve everything. You are admitting you have an issue and the fact that you said it here in front of everyone makes you my hero. Keep seeking help and keep talking about it."
Both the student and D received a resounding round of applause.
"I just wanted to let your company know that after your performance at my high school in Boston, over a month ago, I really started to think about changing my ways. I had become very dependent on alcohol at just 14 years old, and your performance made me realize how it had really contributed to my depression instead of helping me forget about my pain.
I actually went to the showing for the humor spin of it, but I didn't expect it to really change how I wanted to live my life. Ever since that day, I have stopped drinking. Anyways, I just wanted to thank your company because even though when it was done, there were people in the hallways saying they bet no one was influenced, but i truly was." (email from student)
"...the play today helped one of our students tremendously. She came up to the stage and talked with the actors afterward and had a heartwarming conversation with them. Then she came to see me and for the first time wants to talk about her situation. Thank you, thank you. This group reached her and she opened up. Please let the Players know and give them my best and thanks. - HS Counselor
"I appreciate that the professional theatrical excellence of your performance is what helps bring the scenarios to life, but feel certain that in the end it is your candid directness, your willingness to share your individual vulnerability and strength that connects you to the individuals in your audience" - college counselor
"The students were riveted by the performance. They felt the actors were authentic, accessible, and direct. The acting troupe more than adequately handled the students' questions, responses and comments. The fact that the actors were themselves former substance abusers was the defining characteristic that brought so much realism and forethought to their performance. Our students were obviously impacted."
"I wanted to thank you for all you've done, it will save a life someday. The Improbable Players got their message across in a way that really clicked for me. I already knew a lot of the information you told us, but it never meant anything to me before...one of them even had a story similar to mine." - high school student