“Visions” is a powerful play that depicts bottoms, the spiritual awakening and coming into the rooms of 12 Step Programs. The play also depicts scenes of domestic violence, youth at risk, AIDS, codependency and homelessness. Pulling no punches, the play takes a realistic view of addiction and all its talons. But more importantly the play depicts hope.
What makes the play so endearing and refreshing in a field of speeches and balloons, like “Just Say No”, is that the play has taken ten years to evolve. “Visions” has been tested and tried for nearly 27 years. The cast and crew of “Visions” number 20-25 people per show. The drama composes over twenty short scenes. It was our intent to show addiction/alcoholism from so many different characters and age groups. And we have. Not only that, but the cast and crew go out into the audiences after each performance and educate about the dangers of substance abuse. There are no actors here. The cast and crew serve as examples of recovery. Furthermore, the bond between the audiences is heightened by the many different role models in the play. Today the “Visions” cast and crew has grown to more than 500 members.
“Visions” is entertaining, funny at times, sad and reflective. It is not unusual for audiences to freely comment and applaud as the scenes unfold. As one theater critic said, “Throughout, one is reminded of spontaneous congregation in rival storefront church services, as the audience freely commented aloud, sometimes humorously but more often with the sadness of recognition.” The closing scene is having the effect of audiences jumping out of their seats for a thunderous standing ovation, usually after every show. We are witnessing men and women weeping after our performances, not in despair but hope.
Please understand this is not a puppet show. The “Visions” performance has been described as a cross between “Scared Straight” and the powerful drama called “Weeds”. Over $10,000 worth of equipment etc, includes sound, lighting, staging and props. The play has a musical score. “Visions” is a solid one hour production. We come in and set up our production turning any large room into a stage.
It takes two hours to set up a “Visions” show and one hour to take it down. Due to the tremendous amount of manpower needed to put on a “Visions” show (remember there are 25 people involved in cast and crew) our average audience size is 150 or more. It is not unusual to perform for 500 people, if we have a stage and auditorium. We insist that no one is charged to witness a “Visions” production. There are exceptions, when the proceeds go to benefit worthy causes.
No one is paid in the troupe. However, we ask for expenses to cover the costs of the production. A truck has to be rented and gas, tolls and mileage included. We also have the expense of renting a lighting and sound system. Expenses vary depending on the distance we have to travel. We also insist on a pot of coffee for the troupe. Unlike most drug programs that are funded, “Visions” is self supporting.
The Visions” play has received continuing education credits from the Addiction Professionals Certification Board of New Jersey. The play has been used as a training medium at the West Virginia University Medical Center, where twenty allied professionals were trained to perform the play for an addiction conference and received graduate credits in behavioral medicine and counseling. For National Recovery Month “Visions” was performed in the Rayburn Office Building in the House of Representatives in Washington DC.
Visions is a traveling troupe, using the powerful medium of theater to convey the harsh realities of substance abuse, and more importantly to show that recovery is possible. The play is not meant for those under the age of thirteen. Because of its powerful nature, “Visions” is geared toward those in high school and older.