Civic Ensemble’s ReEntry Theatre Program on May 6 premiers Delia Divided, a new play exploring the impacts of mental health, incarceration, and racism written by award-winning playwright Judy Tate in collaboration with ReEntry members.
The play follows Delia, a young woman navigating adulthood while living with the realities of her co-occurring mental health disorders and criminal justice system involvement. As she strives for new friendship, Delia must contend with this chorus of mental health disorders, always present and always impacting her choices.
Delia Divided is a complex human story at the intersection of mental health, criminal justice, and racism, and ultimately invites the audience to question and challenge preconceived notions of how we support each other.
Staged from May 6-15 during Mental Health Awareness Month, the play aims to amplify the voices of individuals who experience mental health challenges in the community.
The ReEntry Theatre Program, along with Tate, recipient of Emmy and Writers Guild of America awards, developed Delia Divided over a two-year period through a process of theatrical improvisation, writing, and interviews with mental health practitioners.
“This play explores what it means to live with mental health, what it means to live in a society that doesn’t make space for you to exist in your fullness, and also a story about what it means to be Black in America,” said Gabriella da Silva Carr, the production’s director and Civic Ensemble associate artistic director.
Adds ReEntry Theatre Program member Amy Heffron, who helped develop the play and takes on the role of PTSD onstage: “This play brings light to some of the major issues that many people have going on. Sometimes people are facing mental health, racism, and criminal justice system involvement, and that’s a lot to deal with. And if people could take a step back and try to understand a little more, there might be less hate.”
Civic Ensemble launched the ReEntry Theatre Program in 2015 as a creative community for people who have experienced incarceration or court involvement to learn storytelling skills, create theatre, and build community together, regardless of arts experience, criminal record, or income.
The group previously presented Steppin’ Into My Shoes in 2021; Streets Like This in 2020 and 2018; Dreams and Nightmares: Do What You Always Did, Get What You Always Got in 2016; and A Setback Ain’t Nothing but a Setup for a Comeback in 2015.
The cast and crew for Delia Divided consists of new and returning members of the ReEntry Theatre Program as well as actors from the community who have not experienced incarceration.
Cast: Leroy Barrett, Uraina Bellamy, Heather Duke, Lisa Ellin, Niya Foster, Jo-Louis Hallback, Amy Heffron, Michael James, Daraisi Marte, Emonie Raphael, Carley Robinson, Edwin Santiago, Kel Woodside, and Sylvie Yntema.
Director: Gabriella da Silva Carr.
Stage Management: Deletris Bryant, Miranda Bianchi, and Christina Johns. Design team: Jennifer Fok (lighting), Jason Simms (scenic), Elizabeth Kitney (props and costumes), Megan Omohundro (choreography), and Nate Richardson (sound).
Sponsors: Tompkins County Tourism Program, Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, Community Foundation of Tompkins County, The Sophie Fund, Rep Studio, Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources of Tompkins County, Wegmans, Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity, and Alternative Federal Credit Union.
Location: The Hangar Theatre, 801 Taughannock Boulevard, Ithaca.
Tickets: $20 or pay-what-you-can, available online at https://civicensemble.ticketleap.com/deliadivided/ or by calling (607) 241-0195.
By Civic Ensemble