Photo Flash: New York Debut of SELF-INJURIOUS BEHAVIOR at The 30th St. Theater at Urban Stages
An original play from Dallas, SELF-INJURIOUS BEHAVIOR will mount a twelve performance Actors' Equity Association Showcase run at The 30th Street Theater (at Urban Stages) coinciding with National Autism Awareness Month.
SELF-INJURIOUS BEHAVIOR is based on playwright and star, Jessica Cavanagh's own story of loss, love and survival. When severely autistic, eleven-year-old Benjamin becomes a danger to himself, his divorced mother, Summer, makes the excruciating decision to admit him to a home for special needs kids. Seeking comfort, she visits her sisters in Portland who desperately and hilariously attempt to distract her with a weekend of escapism at the local renaissance faire. Plagued by haunting dreams of her son and memories of her marriage, Summer is forced to face the need to let go. With a bittersweet and unique blend of honesty and humor, Jessica Cavanagh has captured, in telling her own story, a voice that speaks to the qualities within us all not only to cope with our own "unimaginables" but to continue to live, making the play more than just a story about autism or motherhood, but one about the resiliency of human nature.
Having workshopped in Dallas to full houses and critical acclaim for a three week run last August, this award winning work was heralded both for shedding light on what families dealing with autism face and also for universally touching on themes such as family and forgiving and finding oneself. Its playwright and star, Jessica Cavanagh, topped "best of" lists for both her writing and performance and was honored with multiple awards for this extremely honest and often humorous look at her own life, playing a character based on herself, tackling the guilt, feelings of inadequacy and hardships of parenting under the most difficult of situations and ultimately finding support, hope and the permission to live a life more than and outside of her circumstances.
The Actor's Equity Association Showcase run of SELF-INJURIOUS BEHAVIOR will donate ticket sales from all twelve performances to two organizations working on the front lines to directly help families who are coping with autism and actively operating as part of their communities, offering aid, assistance and a variety of programs. AUTISM WORKS NOW provides expressive movement therapy and workplace readiness skills resulting in meaningful, dignified employment for individuals with autism and related disorders with a goal of small businesses owned and operated by and staffed with individuals on the spectrum within five years. THE DOUG FLUTIE,JR FOUNDATION FOR AUTISM helps families affected by autism live life to the fullest. Through theIr programs and partnerships, they help people with autism get access to care, lead more active lifestyles and grow toward adult independence.
Photo Credit Jordan Fracker
Jude Segrest Jessica Cavanagh
Jessica Cavanagh and Jude Segrest