Cleveland Play House's JACKED! Discusses National Opioid Epidemic
Cleveland Play House joins forces with StageOne Family Theatre of Louisville, KY to co-develop and workshop the new hip-hop play Jacked! written by Idris Goodwin, inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk. Designed and developed for children, Jacked! fuses storytelling and poetry with hip-hop and break-beat music to encourage a dialogue about substance abuse and the overwhelming effects the opioid epidemic is having in our communities. Directed by Pamela DiPasquale, Jacked! is the newest artistic component included in Cleveland Play House's KeyBank Classroom Matinee Touring Program. The one-act play has toured elementary schools and community centers in Ohio since August 2019 and will transfer to Kentucky in February 2020.
CPH Director of Education Pamela DiPasquale says, "Children of parents addicted to opiates are flooding into Ohio's protection system. Nearly a third of children in the state's custody have parents who used opioids, and that doesn't count the children who continue to live in their homes with an addicted parent or who are living with family members." She adds, "Jacked! opens a gentle dialogue with the youngest members of our community about addiction. It helps to de-isolate young children with families who might be struggling, while giving language to those who don't understand what is happening in their lives."
In the well-known saga of Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack and his mother live happily ever after. But in this reimagined world of magical beans and shady deals, "happily ever after" is just the beginning for Jack. When his farm can't feed him, his community can't support him, and his own mother can't care for him, Jack takes matters into his own hands and steals a golden goose. But the eggs that goose is laying turn Jack's world upside down, and sends him on a journey that will change his life forever. The one-act play is driven by a continuous underscore of beats developed by Yared Sound and SCZ (pronounced "sieze") of Rhythm Science Sound, hip-hop educators based in Louisville, KY.
Jacked! sparks dialogue about the opioid epidemic by commenting on what addiction looks like and how poverty, trauma, and adverse childhood experiences make addiction difficult to combat. The opioid epidemic is a notable discussion to have in both Ohio and Kentucky-two of the most heavily affected U.S. states for drug abuse involving opioids as of 2017 (source: drugabuse.gov). According to The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County, Northeast Ohio is experiencing "devastating effects" from the heroin and opioid epidemic. "Heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil, have led to a staggering number of deaths by overdose. Deaths by overdose have increased from 161 in 2012, to more than 700 in 2017 and 560 in 2018." Jacked! serves as a springboard for parents and caregivers of young children ages 5 through 11 to bring this issue to the forefront of a very urgent and necessary conversation.
Nationally-acclaimed playwright Idris Goodwin is renowned for his literary works tying in cultural and systemic issues with hip-hop and break-beat music. (CPH produced Goodwin's break-beat play How We Got On in 2014.) Goodwin, Producing Artistic Director of StageOne Family Theatre, has been celebrated for his ability to write effectively for young people. Cleveland Play House commissioned Goodwin to write a break-beat play that engaged young children in a safe and open conversation around the opioid crisis and its effect on them. Goodwin's understanding that the crisis was also devastating the Louisville community expanded the collaboration to include feedback with artists and educators at CPH as well as StageOne. The script and score was workshopped at CPH, where the production was built and rehearsed.
For eight decades, CPH has presented unique educational programs for young people in Northeast Ohio. CPH's suite of 13 groundbreaking programs serve over 45,000 students annually at hundreds of schools and community centers across the region. For eight seasons, The KeyBank Classroom Matinee Touring Program has reached students and families in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kentucky. Programming has touched on timely themes such as bullying, racial tolerance, socio-economic inequality and conflict resolution. Jacked! will make its initial three-week engagement tour in Louisville, KY visiting schools and community centers across Jefferson and Floyd counties in February 2020.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Idris Goodwin (Playwright) is a creative voice for change impassioneda??by the power of art for social good. a??An award-winning playwright, break beat poet and Producing Artistic Director of Louisville's StageOne Family Theater, Goodwin uses story to inspire and incite new audiences across culture and generation.a??His critically acclaimed plays And In This Corner Cassius Clay, How We Got On and Hype Man: a break beat playa??are widely produced across the country at professional theaters, college campuses and non-traditional spaces alike. He's been honored to receive commissions and developmental support from institutions like The Kennedy Center, The Eugene O'Neill Conference, Oregon Shakespeare Festival's American Revolutions Series, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Ground Floor Residency. He's currently writinga??Scarfoot Lives,a??a new play co-commissioned by Arena Stage's Power Play Program and The Playwright Center's McKnight Fellowship.a??In addition to the forthcoming poetry collection Can I Kick It?,a??he's had several publications with Haymarket Books includinga??Inauguration,a??Human Highlight: Ode To Dominique Wilkinsa??and the controversial playa??This Is Modern Arta??co-written with Kevin Coval. His words, voice and sometimes entire body, have shown up on "HBO Def Poetry," "Sesame Street," NPR, BBC Radio and The Discovery Channel. A frequent public speaker at conferences and educational spaces, Goodwin is one of the leading voices in his field, committed to using art to cultivate more diverse and equitable spaces.a??Fora??upcoming performances, content and creative writing tools visita??www.idrisgoodwin.com.
PAMELA DIPASQUALE (Director) is in her ninth season as Director of Education at CPH, where she has substantially grown the scope and scale of the education department. Under her guidance and leadership, the department currently serves more than 45,000 children and adults annually with a suite of ten innovative education programs including CARE, funded through an Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant from the US Department of Education. Coming to Cleveland from the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Louisville, KY, where she served as Education Director. In Kentucky, she led the award-winning educational outreach program, Will on Wheels, which serves over 65,000 students annually in a tri-state area, and extensive educational outreach program offerings including Shakespeare Youth Academy, Shakespeare's Studio, Shakespeare Alive!, and From the Page to The Stage. Pamela worked in partnership with the National and State Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Program to provide a theatre-in-education program for incarcerated youth, and successfully developed a training institute for rural theatre artists. In her career, Pamela has developed the artistic and educational vision of Children's Theatre of Maine, where she served as Artistic Director; founded City Shakespeare, a theatre company that provides free programming for low-income urban children and teens; served as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Education at Bellarmine University in Louisville; and presented at both state and national conferences on topics related to theatre education and community building. Pamela received her undergraduate degree from Boston College and her MA from Emerson College in Boston.
Cleveland Play House, founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate, and entertain diverse audiences across Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Cleveland Play House is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. For more information visit: clevelandplayhouse.com.
STAGEONE FAMILY THEATRE introduces young people to theater that is personally relevant, age-appropriate, inspirational, and educational. Through high-quality professional productions, in-school education programs, and community-based classes and camps, StageOne uses theater to serve our community. Study after study has shown that frequent exposure to the arts helps children build fundamental skills that are needed for individual success in school and life. StageOne strives to break down barriers to accessing the arts through our innovative Play it Forward program, focus on accessibility, and partnerships across the region. We are committed to helping children learn both academically and emotionally, using theater to develop the next generation of thinkers, doers, and leaders.