Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review: Flirting with the Monster

I have not been that uncomfortable during a stage production in my life.  Never has anything which was "acted" seemed so real.  It made my insides churn, my heart sink, and my head reel.

Hannah Davis IS a fifteen year old meth addict.  I know that her bio says she's the 20 year old actress, but that can't be true, because what I saw was real.

That's what made the play so disturbing.  I am a child psychiatrist just finishing my training. I spend my days interviewing kids in mental hospitals, drug rehab centers, and juvenile detentions.  I hear these stories all day, every day.  I see the families, feel their anguish, cry for their loses, cheer their progress, and pray for their future.

I hear speeches and lessons told to scare teenagers away from using drugs.  I hear shocking tales that are overblown and are made to make you cower in terror at the sound of "meth."  They don't work, at least not for long, because they don't ring true.  The shock stories don't leave an imprint on your heart, a circuit change in your brain.  They shock for a second and then they disappear.

That's what made seeing "Flirting with the Monster" so sad, so terrifying.  I knew the author and the actors weren't trying to shock me.  They weren't making up horror stories or trying to scare me away from meth.  They were showing reality.  They were showing exactly what really happens.  Nothing was overplayed, nothing was "dramatic."  I watched a fifteen year old honor student gradually become a meth addicted ghost, and it broke my heart.

The play is based on the book CRANK by Ellen Hopkins.  The book is fictional, but based on the experience of Hopkins' own daughter.

I don't know about recommending the show to others.  I really don't.
A fifteen year old girl from my church told me she has read the book and loved the play.  That terrified me.  This show is not entertainment.  It is not fun.  It is real.

If you want to know what meth does; how it affects a person, a family, a school - then see this show or read the book.
If you can avoid meth in your life and have no need for that knowledge - then keep your distance and more power to you.

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