By Mary Van Jura
“While addiction is prevalent in many communities, recovery is possible.”
That is the message that YSU alum Markus Douglas would like to send with his stage play “The Journey Home.”
“The Journey Home” focuses on the cast members’ personal experiences with drug addiction and recovery. The play was performed on Sept. 12 at the Southwoods Executive Centre.
Douglas is a social worker in the substance abuse field at the Veteran’s Administration in Youngstown, meaning he has up close experience dealing with addiction.
The idea for the play stemmed from Douglas’ desire to put recovery out in the open. What he needed most for the performance though, was a cast of people.
“I didn’t need anyone with acting experience, just people who were willing to share their story,” Douglas said.
“The Journey Home” differs from standard theater productions because the stories being told are personal accounts of the cast members. This method of performance grants the audience the opportunity to encounter the realities of addiction and its effects on the cast members’ lives.
Altogether, the performers share a combined 72 years of recovery. The audience has the opportunity to ask them questions after the show about their individual journeys with battling addiction and finding recovery.
After seeing how the performance evoked an emotional reaction from the crowd after their first show last June, Douglas and the cast were amazed and inspired to continue sharing the show.
“People came out of the audience in tears to hug and thank the cast,” Douglas said.
Douglas’ past stage plays addressed issues specific to adolescents and their struggles. The plays focused on issues including child abuse, self-esteem, gang violence and AIDS.
He said that he would like to add different components to the show each year so that audience members viewing each time can take away something new. Next year there will be three new journeys to follow.
“It’s the show that provides hope — that provides knowledge about the problem that is shattering our communities,” Douglas said.
“The Journey Home” will be performed at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Southwoods Executive Centre located at 100 DeBartolo Place, Youngstown. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic at either the Austintown or Youngstown locations, or by contacting Markus Douglas at 330-507-5162.