Chicago Playwright Focuses New Play JOINT ATTENTION On Autism

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Chicago Playwright Focuses New Play JOINT ATTENTION On Autism

Pat Curtis didn't begin her career as a playwright. The Chicago Dramatist network playwright began her career working as a special education teacher in the public school system in the Chicagoland area. Curtis's new play, Joint Attention, is premiering on October 24 as the inaugural production in Three Cat Productions 2013/14 season at the Berger Park Coach House Theater (6205 N Sheridan Road)

In Joint Attention, Curtis explores the pitfalls of autism, a still poorly understood condition, and the dedication and determination a family requires to address it. One in fifty children in the United States is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"One of my responsibilities as a school psychologist was to evaluate preschoolers with special needs, and to make recommendations for their educational programming," Curtis said. "I always said the only task I hated in a job I otherwise loved was telling parents that their three-year-old was autistic. Witnessing that level of heartbreak was a profoundly disturbing experience, and certainly contributed to my motivation for writing this play.

Curtis began working as a special education teacher and then as a school psychologist in several public school systems including Oak Park, Chicago and Springfield. In 2004, Curtis began playwriting, through the Chicago Dramatists, to begin turning her experience working with families into a play.

"Frantic parents trying to help their autistic children is a story that begged to be told," explains Curtis. " There is no one braver or in bigger trouble than parents dealing with autism."

Joint Attention is directed by Jason Paul Smith, Artistic Director, Three Cat Productions. Joint Attention was developed in part at Three Cat Productions' 2013 Chicago New Work Festival.

The cast includes Catherine Dildilian, Nick Strauss, Molly Bunder, and Valerie Gorman.

Preview performances are October 24-25 at 7:30pm. Opening performance is 4:00pm, Saturday, October 26. The regular run is October 26-November 16. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Saturday matinees at 4:00pm at the Berger Park Coach House Theater at 6205 N. Sheridan in The Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. Doors open 30 minutes prior to curtain.

Tickets are $25 each for all performances. Preview tickets are $20. The first five tickets to every performance are only $5. Tickets can be purchased on our website at threecatproductions.com or via phone at 312.970.9840.

Street parking (paybox until 9pm) is available on Granville, side streets, and Broadway. (Handicapped and a limited parking is available. Please call the box office for special arrangements).

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