Review: COPING WITH AUTUMN: A Hot Take on Mental Health at Arts For Lawrence

The show runs at Arts for Lawrence through May 21st.

By: May. 15, 2022

Review: COPING WITH AUTUMN: A Hot Take on Mental Health at Arts For Lawrence Dylan and Celeste:

Autumn finds herself locked away in a psychiatric facility for murdering her boyfriend. The only thing is... she doesn't recall doing it. Autumn's psyche has been evolving to protect her from the abuse of her youth, but her mental defense mechanisms Dee, Joy, and Vera are not sure Autumn can stand the stresses of a trial. Will the truth be revealed, or will Autumn crumble under the weight of the past that Dee has so tactfully hidden from her?

Coping With Autumn considers the strength of human nature and is brutal challenged during the production. The question arises about what we will uncover after apprehension, violence, and hopelessness have taken their toll on Autumn. Numerous drama productions, television shows, and movies powerfully depict characters experiencing mental illness, including challenges with depression, social anxiety, and suicide.

While some of these media outlets offer content warnings, theatergoers may be surprised and triggered by intense portrayals of emotionally burdened topics. Since about one in five Americans suffer from mental illness every year, and even more people care about someone with mental illness, the probable effect on audiences is considerable. After the intermission, a certain gloom was over the audience, but I do give that credit to the cast and writer as the show was doing its job.

Theater has the potential to help both actors and audience by providing information about mental illness, challenging stereotypes, reducing stigma, decreasing the sense of isolation, providing role models and instilling hope. Coping With Autumn skillfully has taken into account each and every one of these points, wrapped it up, and presented it. Although jarring at time as these types of shows are, it's an important take on mental health. Autumn embodies much of what people experience during their fight with themselves and their inner demons.

Some audience members might incorrectly have a preconceived notion that these performers will be less than perfect since this is a brand new show, but they would be unbelievably wrong. Every actor on that stage was completely dedicated, and every person gave into the passion and emotion that this show demanded. Every character was well thought out-they had impulses, expressions, and body language that drew us into the show in such a human way. This kind of show and direction is to be applauded, particularly when depicting such a intricate and imperfect personalities.