The award-winning En Garde Arts, in association with the Abrons Arts Center, presents the world premiere of Wilderness, a new multimedia documentary theatre work about the search for connection in families. Co-writer and executive producer Anne Hamburger was inspired by her own journey with her son, along with firsthand interviews and field research.
Seth Bockley is also co-writer and directs the world-premiere production. Performances run October 21-November 13.
In Wilderness, six adolescents find themselves at the brink of emotional chaos—with problems linked to social stigma, insecurity, aggression, and anger—and increasingly distanced from their parents. The stories are based on six real families and their experiences with issues of mental health, addiction, and gender and sexual identity. “Parents risk losing their children forever,“ read production notes. “Thoughts race. Emotions fire. Isolation intensifies. One question emerges: how do we persevere when we feel most alone in the world?“
“As a parent, there has never been a more difficult moment than when I had to admit that my child needed more help than I could provide,” says Hamburger in a statement. “But, as an artist, I knew that we weren’t alone and that our shared human experience demanded a home onstage, where I could use the power of theatre to explore the wilderness of emotions that knows no societal boundaries.”
Talkbacks will follow select performances. Participants include Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, vice chair for Education at The Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, October 21; Robert Cunningham, head of school at the Robert Louis Stevenson School, and John MacPhee, executive director and CEO of the Jed Foundation, October 24; Dr. Brad Reedy, co-owner and clinical director of Evoke Therapy Programs, along with the families and therapists portrayed in Wilderness, October 27; and Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, founding president of the Child Mind Institute, November 3.
A Wilderness opening gala, on October 26, will honor National Book Award-winning author Andrew Solomon (Far from the Tree), who will receive a change-agent award presented by Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis.
The cast of Wilderness includes Holly Demorro, Caitlin Goldie, Taylor Noble, Riley Suter, Welker White, Jake Williams, and Luke Zimmerman. The creative team includes Devon De Mayo (co-movement director), Patrick McCollum (co-movement director), Carolyn Mraz (sets), Claudia Brown (costumes), Scott Bolman (lights), Mike Tutak (video and projection design), Mikhail Fiksel (sound), Michael Hunter (music director), Morgan Jenness (dramaturg), Lory Henning (production manager), and Spencer Armstrong (assistant director and production stage manager).