Previews: IN MY OWN LITTLE CORNER: My Work in Progress with Bipolar Disorder at TampaRep

Raw, honest, one-night-only, one-woman show on April 19 about bipolar disorder by Broadway Veteran Chryssie Whitehead.

By: Apr. 18, 2024
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Previews: IN MY OWN LITTLE CORNER: My Work in Progress with Bipolar Disorder at TampaRep

Prepare for an unforgettable evening as TampaRep unveils the spotlight on mental health awareness with a powerful one-night-only performance of Chryssie Whitehead's poignant solo play, "In My Own Little Corner: My Work in Progress with Bipolar Disorder," taking center stage at the HCC Studio Theatre on Friday, April 19, at 7 pm.

Directed and choreographed by Bryan Knowlton with music direction, orchestration, and arrangements by Nick Wilders, the autobiographical play takes the audience on a profound journey through the Broadway veteran's life who unveils her personal struggles with Bipolar II disorder. A blend of song, dance, and memoir, Whitehead becomes a detective of her mind to unravel her diagnosis at 38.

A riveting and heartfelt exploration of family secrets, societal stigma, and personal rediscovery, it touches on the universal theme of mental health and the importance of understanding and compassion. On a black box stage, Whitehead shares her story with raw honesty, inviting the audience to witness her highs and lows and the significant impact mental illness has had on her life and that of her mother.

Previews: IN MY OWN LITTLE CORNER: My Work in Progress with Bipolar Disorder at TampaRep She lost her mother in 2013 and five years later received her diagnosis. While she kept silent for years, in 2021, she finally revealed her diagnosis to Kirsten Wrinkle, who became her champion, asking her if she'd expressed her experience on paper. Whitehead had started working on a book that could potentially be a one-woman show.

"Kirsten said why don't you take a moment and let me know what you need to make that happen," she explains. "That's what inspired me to write my story, my mom's story that didn't end so well not taking care of her mental health, and my story is still a work in progress."

Through her performance, Whitehead creates a space that is both vulnerable and empowering, offering hope and strength to those who may be facing similar challenges.

"My mom kept a big secret from me in my life, and by keeping the secret, I think it made her sick. She never got proper help. I reveal the secret because it's some trauma in my life later on. I found out my father was not my biological father, and she did not tell me. I took a DNA test and found out who my real father is. I talk about that in the play just to show that trauma can contribute to manic episodes."

She explains that the play is a shared experience.

"It should feel like you're coming into my living room, and I'm just telling you a story about my life, my diagnosis, my mom, and where I'm at now. I'm no poster child, but I'm here to help normalize conversations around mental health because people still don't want to talk about it. I feel if we can take care of our brains, we can take care of each other."

Previews: IN MY OWN LITTLE CORNER: My Work in Progress with Bipolar Disorder at TampaRep If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community of talented individuals to raise a play. Whitehead credits her creative and behind-the-scenes team creative and behind-the-scenes team of Bryan Knowlton, Nick Wilders, Ken Cerniglia  (Dramaturge), Paige Seber (lighting designer), Jmonet Hill (Production Stage Manager), Innoruptiv Marketing, Kirsten Wrinkle (Lead Producer), Anant Das (Executive Producer), Lauren Barette (Associate Producer), Chris Riley (Impact Producer), Maggie Siller (Lawyer), Ari Goldbloom-Helzbner (Associate Music Director), and Erin Spears (Associate Director) for the success of the play.

With "In My Own Little Corner: My Work in Progress with Bipolar Disorder," Whitehead weaves a tapestry of emotions—raw, unfiltered, and achingly honest. Patrons have thanked Whitehead and urged her to continue sharing the vital message of normalizing these honest conversations.

"This is a communal show, and we want to connect everyone," she shares. "So many people of different ages come to the show, and they are all touched by it. There are constant, beautiful comments. Thank you for doing this. This is so brave. Keep doing it."

Many people don't know what to expect with a show with bipolar in the description, and often, after seeing it, they wish they'd brought more guests to experience its power.

"In My Own Little Corner: My Work in Progress with Bipolar Disorder" is more than just a play; it's an experience that promises to leave the audience feeling seen, heard, and inspired. It's a testament to the power of storytelling and the arts for healing and connection.

"It's raw. It's deep. It's personal, but there is hope."

The hour-long show concludes with a thirty-minute talkback session, fostering a safe and affirming environment, further supporting "In My Own Little Corner: My Work in Progress with Bipolar Disorder's" mission to normalize these critical, healing discussions.

"In My Own Little Corner: My Work in Progress with Bipolar Disorder" kicks off Tampa Rep's outreach event called Raise the Curtain on Mental Health Awareness. This has all been made possible with generous grants from Community Foundation Tampa Bay and Love IV Lawrence. Tampa Rep partnered with two incredible mental health organizations, Tampa Bay Thrives and NAMI Hillsborough to provide resources and dialogue around mental illness.

"In My Own Little Corner" is one night only on April 19 at 7pm at HCC Studio Theatre, 1411 E. 11th Ave, Tampa (Ybor City). Learn more and buy your tickets at https://www.tamparep.org/imolc.




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