Current Slave Play Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood, Rent Tony winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Accidentally Brave playwright Maddie Corman, and more stage favorites explore mental health this winter in a new digital production from the McCarter Theatre Center. The Manic Monologues debuts February 18 with 21 true-life monologues that users can explore at their own pace and through an interactive element virtually respond to.
Joining the trio listed above are Tessa Albertson, Anna Belknap, Mike Carlsen, Alexis Cruz, Mateo Ferro, Sam Morales, Bi Jean Ngo, Armando Riesco, Jon Norman Schneider, Heather Alicia Simms, C.J. Wilson, and Craig Bierko.
In addition to the monologues, the platform also has links to support services, books, articles, research, and the scripts, along with interviews by leading experts and advocates discussing mental health and its intersection with social justice, social media, and COVID.
In 2017, Zack Burton was diagnosed with bipolar disorder while finishing his Ph.D. Elisa Hofmeister helped him through his journey. The two were driven to address the lack of visible narratives around mental health, resulting in a series of vignettes. The Manic Monologues was first performed live at Stanford in 2019, with McCarter planning a staged reading in 2020 that was forced to go digital in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This virtual experience is conceived and directed by Elena Araoz with multimedia design by Jared Mezzocchi, sound design and original music by Nathan Leigh, casting by Stephanie Klapper Casting, and web development by Jackie Liu.
The play is presented in association with Princeton University Health Services, The 24 Hour Plays, and Innovations in Socially Distant Performance, a project of the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton.