DeKALB – For one night only, 10 people will brave it all on stage, all while using the platform to share their battle with mental health or substance abuse issues with an audience.
Tickets cost $20 for general audience members and $15 for seniors and students with ID, with proceeds benefitting the DeKalb County Mental Health Board.
Rockford resident Landon Ballard, who is directing and performing in the show, said the goal of the production is simple.
“I hope that it will inspire people to share their stories,” Ballard said. “That’s one of the biggest things that we’re trying to do with this show. Not just tell our stories and bring awareness to the things that are going on in everybody’s lives, [and] in every community, but also to inspire others to tell their stories, to get help for the things that they need help for and to help others when they can.”
Among those also expected to perform in the show is St. Charles resident JJ Celli. She said she plans to engage the audience through storytelling.
“I’m actually sharing a story on intimate personal violence and same-sex relationships,” Celli said. “I’m hoping to have an impact on the way that people might perceive intimate partner violence in relationships regardless of gender and also how police respond and handle intimate partners in same-sex relationships.”
Celli said it’s clear that a stigma associates itself with mental health and substance abuse issues and that it may weigh heavy on some people, deterring them from moving forward.
“I think the only way it becomes less and less is people are brave enough to talk about it,” she said.
Aurora resident Marsha Vaulx said she plans to deliver a poem as part of the show.
“I want people to feel seen, see parts of themselves or be able to connect with it,” Vault said. “My piece is called the ‘Heaviness of the Mask.’ It’s about living behind a mask. [It’s] kind of like my story. I haven’t really shared my mental health story with people, and I don’t even really think they know a lot about what I’m probably going to say. So, it’s kind of letting that mask fall and a way of being seen.”
Vaulx said this poem brings out a version of herself that she’s excited to share with others.
“When I wrote it, it was from this place of passion, authenticity,” she said. “It’s nice to deliver that moment in front of people because I often am not able to be authentic with people.”
From poetry and song to storytelling, “This Is My Brave: The Show in DeKalb” has a lot to offer the audience.
Celli said she believes the show is coming together beautifully collectively.
“No one’s really doing the same thing,” she said. “Even though it’s ‘This Is My Brave,’ it’s pretty authentic to see what brave is to each person. You know, how different that is.”
Ballard said he can’t wait for the audience to see the show.
“It’s been really exciting to see people go from the kind of nerves when they first [rehearse] the piece to now feeling comfortable and getting to point where you’re starting to see their personality come through,” Ballard said. “So that’s what I’m excited for the audience to see.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle