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You can get hooked on Kristen Bush in ‘Individuals, Locations & Issues’ at Studio

Stoned, strung out, and stumbling, her mascara streaking her cheeks, Emma is an actress hooked on a such a plethora of drugs that it’s a miracle she’s not lifeless. However in Studio Theatre’s propulsive manufacturing of Duncan Macmillan’s Individuals, Locations & Issues, which tells the story of Emma’s tortured and tortuous restoration, the true miracle is the actor who brings Emma shatteringly to life: Kristen Bush. She is onstage your complete two acts. She is the magnetic epicenter of each scene. Her uncooked inside feelings appear not simply uncovered however turned inside out. Hers is a efficiency you’ll be transfixed and intoxicated by. And you’ll surprise how earth she does it.

Kristen Bush as Emma in ‘Individuals, Locations & Issues.’ Picture by Margot Schulman.

{That a} play about such wretched extra begins benignly is however considered one of Director David Muse’s ingenious selections. As we the viewers enter the theater, we hear the prerecorded sound of … an viewers coming into a theater. And we face a clean white curtain. That’s the final ho-hum second we’ll have, as out of the blue a loud sound kilos, a vivid gentle explodes, the curtain elements, and we’re watching an enactment of Chekhov’s The Seagull. The actress Emma is enjoying Nina, already wasted.

Emily Erickson, Kristen Bush, and Derek Garza in ‘Individuals, Locations & Issues.’ Picture by Margot Schulman.

Reduce as if cinematically to a rave in a membership with throbbing techno music and gyrating, high-flying habitués — together with our heroine Emma — openly indulging their habits.

Then minimize to a staid rehab clinic, the place Emma, in a stupor, has arrived badly in want of some blow, a line of which she does on the admissions counter. She is out of her thoughts, as is obvious from the hallucinatory projections, lighting, music and sound (Alex Basco Koch, Andrew Cissna, Lindsay Jones, respectively) — all of which have the uncanny impact of placing us contained in the thoughts that Emma is out of.

Thus begins our mind-churning immersion right into a hyper-theatricalized psychic world of dependancy that can entail scenes of denial, deceit, excruciating withdrawal, and rescue. Fairly enjoyably if disconcertingly, the sobering script is shot via with humor, particularly Emma’s scathing sarcasm, which retains us on her facet, whilst she self-sabotages.

Jeanna Paulsen (seated in purple), Kristen Bush (standing in grey), Jahi Kearse (standing in purple) and the forged of ‘Individuals, Locations & Issues.’ Picture by Margot Schulman.

The set designed by Debra Sales space is see-through: The viewers sits on both facet of a boxed stage, watching the opposite half watch — a surprising transformation of the brand new Victor Shargai. The idea is akin to Luciana Stecconi’s design at Studio 5 years in the past for The Impact, additionally directed by Muse, and it features brilliantly, now as then, to include the viewers’s self-consciousness right into a story about consciousness and self.

The play is clearly about dependancy and restoration; extra profoundly it’s concerning the existential chaos of a life not lived as oneself. “Fact is troublesome while you lie for a residing,” says the actress in a session together with her therapist. “If I’m not in character I’m undecided I’m actually there.”

DOCTOR: Do you lie to guard your self or your dependancy?
EMMA: It’s not mendacity. It’s admitting there’s no fact to start with.

Emma’s disaster of self is a veritable abyss.

EMMA: There isn’t a that means to something. There aren’t any beginnings, middles and ends. No closing authorities. No destiny or pre-determination or grand plan. Historical past has ended. There aren’t any new concepts or experiences. No free will. Id is a assemble and the mind is incapable of objectively introspecting itself.

Little surprise that medication can appear for some to make all of it higher. The play helps us perceive that.

Jeanna Paulsen and Kristen Bush in ‘Individuals, Locations & Issues.’ Picture by Margot Schulman.

Notable among the many key gamers in Emma’s restoration saga is Jeanne Paulsen, who seems as Emma’s take-no-bullshit shrink, her wise group remedy chief, and her judgmental mom — a trio reflecting Emma’s blurred imaginative and prescient.

Additionally excellent within the excellent forged are Jahi Kearse as Mark, a fellow addict in group who befriends Emma after which is there for her as a staffer when she relapses, and David Manis as Paul, a certifiable psychotic, later as Emma’s forbidding father.

The play’s title refers back to the triggers in life {that a} recovering addict wants to acknowledge and keep away from.

DOCTOR: As an alternative of declaring ourselves powerless over alcohol or medication we admit that we’re powerless over individuals, locations and issues. Individuals who make us need to relapse, locations we affiliate with utilizing and issues that reactivate previous conduct.

Whether or not the play itself is a set off will likely be a person matter that one might not know until one sees it. (Be suggested that simply earlier than intermission, Emma, completely wrecked, jovially invitations everybody, the viewers included, “Let’s all simply have a drink.”) However of this a lot, you may be sure: In case you do resolve to see Individuals, Locations & Issues, which I extremely suggest, you’ll not quickly shake Kristen Bush’s tour de power efficiency. And so indelible will you discover her identification as an artist with the character of Emma that you’ll hope they are going to be okay … someday at a time.

Operating Time: Two hours quarter-hour with a 15-minute intermission.

Individuals, Locations & Issues performs via December 11, 2022, within the Victor Shargai Theatre at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th Avenue NW, Washington, DC. For tickets ($50 –$95, with low-cost choices and reductions out there), go on-line or name the field workplace at 202-332-3300.

December 3 (2 PM): Signal-interpreted efficiency
December 4 (2 PM): Audio described efficiency

This system for Individuals, Locations & Issues is on-line right here.

COVID Security:  Masks are required whereas within the efficiency houseMasks are strongly inspired in all different areas of the constructing. Studio Theatre’s full Well being and Security protocols are right here.

Individuals, Locations & Issues
By Duncan Macmillan
Directed by David Muse

Emma: Kristen Bush
Physician/Others: Jeanne Paulsen
Paul/Others: David Manis
Foster: Nathan Whitmer
Mark/Others: Jahi Kearse
Charlotte/Others: Lise Bruneau
Laura/Others: Tessa Klein
Shaun/Others: Derek Garza
Jodi/Others: Lynnette R. Freeman
T/Others: Maboud Ebrahimzadeh
Ensemble: Emily Erickson
U/S Paul/Others: David Bryan Jackson
U/S Foster, Shaun, & T: Keith Rubin
U/S Ensemble: Jordan Crow

Set Designer: Debra Sales space
Costume Designer: Helen Q Huang
Lighting Designer: Andrew Cissna
Authentic Music and Sound Design: Lindsay Jones
Projections/Media: Alex Basco Koch
Props Marketing consultant: Holden Gunster
Voice, Textual content, and Dialect Coach: Elizabeth Forte Alman
Motion/Choreographer: Tony Thomas
Intimacy Director: Chelsea Tempo
Dramaturg: Adrien-Alice Hansel
Manufacturing Stage Supervisor: Lauren Pekel
AEA Assistant Stage Supervisor: Stephen Bubniak
Casting: Kate Murray, CSA



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