Ashland musical promotes mental health awareness

There’s a new approach to an ancient problem in Ashland. A musical aims to provide understanding to sufferers of mental illness, and their families, by showing them they’re not alone through song and laughter.

“These songs and emotions were in me from the beginning and they just sort of welled up.”

Ashland composer, David Gabriel wrote the songs of Divine Lunacy and he wrote them from his heart. Gabriel’s brothers and father suffered from Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia.

“They all died early because of it, because of the effect the medications had on them.”

The story is written by Ashland playwright, Peter Quince and follows a playwright who goes off his psychiatric medication in order to regain his creativity.

“We follow him through the exhilaration and excitement all the way through a full blown manic episode and then, of course, the crash.”

The artists hope the play will bring more than awareness to what’s become a major problem in America, but compassion and understanding.

“Certainly the way we’re handling mental illness by being afraid and keeping it in the shadows is not working.”

Divine Lunacywill be held November 7th and 8th at 7 p.m. at the Bellevue Grange in Ashland. It’s free and includes dinner, but donations are welcomed. Call Peter Quince at541-973-5875 to reserve a spot.

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