CLEVELAND, Ohio– Drama plays out on the stage, much as it did in real life for these actors, part of Cleveland’s chapter of Improbable Players.
The performances, based on true stories, are performed by actors still in recovery.
- A Cleveland based group is using theatre to address addiction, alcoholism and the opioid crisis
- For many of the participants, the message hits close to home
- The Improbable Players non profit group was founded 35 years ago
The group already performed more than 50 shows across Ohio this year, on makeshift stages in treatment centers, middle schools, and today, Fairview High School near Cleveland.
Wooster native Karen Snyder started the Cleveland Chapter a little more than a year ago. And for her, it’s art, therapy, and much more.
“It’s hope for people, especially students, that they don’t need to go down the path that I did, but also hope for myself being in recovery. I need to everyday remember that I’m an alcoholic, and that means staying connected to my story and performing,” says Snyder.
Shaker Heights native Mark Isler joined Improbable Players in September.
He talks freely about his battle with addiction that left him with a traumatic brain injury, hooked on pain medications, and eventually estranged from his family.
Now clean and reconciled with his loved ones, his character provides the opportunity to experience addiction through their perspective.
“It was a very surreal, very cool experience to understand the trouble, the pain, the suffering that I was causing to people who cared about me,” says Isler.
Improbable Players was founded 35 years ago in Boston and also has other touring groups in New England, New York, and New Jersey.
The performances are a half-hour long, followed by a talkback and question and answer session.
They want to give students the tools to resist temptations and find healthy ways to cope.
“This is devastating, but it is not ultimate. There’s a way out, there’s a light, don’t think that there isn’t and don’t ever give up,” says Isler.