“Next to Normal” – See This Play

“Next to Normal” – See This Play

Last Thursday, July 12th, I was privileged, in conjunction with Andrew Calderaro, founder and director of Courage Long Island, Inc. to be invited to attend a rehearsal and meet the cast, crew and director of the Cultural Arts Playhouse’s production of the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play “Next to Normal”.

Ronald B Cohen urges you to go see Next to Normal at The Cultural Arts Playhouse on Long Island.

The cast was exceedingly gracious and generous of their time in performing the entire first act for us. While I make no claims to being an experienced or even educated theater critic, (they’ve already had their say in the multitude of awards and kudos various productions have received) as a Psychiatrist and Systemic Family Therapist, I unequivocally encourage all to See This Play. It is a multi-layered drama that examines emotional growth and development from a myriad of perspectives and experiences.

“Next to Normal” is a profoundly sensitive and thoughtful inquire that presents a painfully spot on portrayal of one woman’s struggle with the “Unquiet Mind” of bipolar disorder. It also explores the larger context of the life career of a family struggling with the predictable crises of life-cycle transitions, such as leaving home and staying connected, becoming a couple, having children, and parenting adolescents. These struggles also include the unexpected traumas of marital discord, drug abuse, attempted suicide, untimely death and complicated grief and bereavement that make the difficult conversations in a family even more difficult.

Ronald B Cohen urges you to go see Next to Normal at the Cultrual Arts Center on Long Island.What is “normal” if not crisis, loss, transition and reinvestment, the real challenges of a real life honestly lived. We all have families. We all grew up in them. Some of us have created our own. They are both sources of great joy and satisfaction as well as intense anxiety and disappointment. Confusion and ambivalence, a mother’s pining for normality or yearning to re-enact the experience of her daughter’s standing on the threshold of first love and possibility. Anger, sorrow, guilt and the memory of what might have been. A disenchanted marriage or an intimate partner relationship that never was. Perfection and reality, as Natalie and her brother sing “Superboy and the Invisible Girl”. All of these, and more are major thematic elements in the play.

For many families struggling with crisis, transition and change, a vast amount of thoughts and feelings are left unspoken and unresolved. The secrets multiply and overwhelm. Life is not linear with a single corresponding cause and effect. Rather it is messy and complicated, the results of even the smallest act being wide-ranging and multifaceted not to mention the crescendo reverberations of a chronic state of crisis in which patient and caretakers are helplessly enmeshed.

Ronald B Cohen urges you to go see Next to Normal at the Cultrual Arts Center on Long Island.“Next to Normal” details the pervasive disruptive effects of severe mental illness on all members of a family. It is not a spectator sport. Severe mental illness is also highly prevalent and the vast majority of us will most likely feel its impact at some point in our lives. Population research demonstrates that if not you, then someone you love or care for will be affected and that, consequently, will affect you. Courage Long Island is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit dedicated to reducing the pain and suffering of mood disorders through outreach and education.

We all belong to families whose emotional connections impact greatly on our lives. So see this play. While emotionally challenging, it is also hopeful and uplifting.

Thank you Tanya, Mark, Alyson, Jeremy, Andrew, Ezra and Tony for opening up your rehearsal to us. Opening night is July 20th at CAP’s Roslyn Heights location, 44 Lincoln Avenue. Call 516-694-3330 to purchase tickets.


Please feel free to ask any questions or to comment in the “Leave a Reply” box below.  To request more information and/or schedule an initial consultation click here (http://www.familyfocusedsolutions.com/contact/).

You are encouraged to forward this blog to anyone who would be interested in reading it.”

Ronald B Cohen, MD, PC www.familyfocusedsolutions.com Ronald B. Cohen, MD
Bowen Family Systems Coach
1 Barstow Road, Suite P-10
Great Neck, NY 11021
(516) 466-7530
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