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  • Writer's pictureKayla Grant

Clark Atlanta University Players explore the complexities of mental illness with "4.48 Psychosis"

Edited on June 11, 2020

The Clark Atlanta University's Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts presented a play exploring mental illness at the Mass Media Arts building in room G-17 from Wednesday, Oct. 17 to Sunday, Oct. 21.

"4.48 Psychosis" is a play that explores many different themes, such as the clinically depressed mind, relationships and isolation. “It really is actually a suicide note of the playwright because the playwright never saw this work. She took her life before because she dealt with these issues,” said Jonathan Kitt, the director of the play.

Originally written by Sarah Kane, there were four actors in this production of the play: Ashja Vargas, Trejhaun Dueberry, Therecia Lang and Derrick Robertson. The play was presented in a blackbox theatre, which seated 80 people and created an intimate setting between the actors and the audience.

Kitt’s aimed to address the struggles of the student body at the university with this production. He wanted students to feel more comfortable talking about their problems. At the end of the play, there were mental health specialists available for any student that wanted to talk to someone.

Mariah Hill, a junior mass media arts major, said, “It made students feel more comfortable speaking on topics like this. They also provided professionals to talk to. By doing this students could get through those hard times and get advice on how to prevent depression."

While watching the play, many students were able to relate to the different senerios being depicted through the students.

“It made me feel vulnerable and realize that people can relate to what I am going through,” Makyah Coleman, a sophomore political science major, stated.

A criminal justice major named Tatyanna Pugh stated, “The play reflected the student body because it touched many subjects that students go through in their everyday life.”

“To see the way Professor Kitt had the actors say certain things and the mannerisms he made them have really resonated with me and actually reminded me of my mom who has Schizophrenia,” Michaela Brown, a stagehand for the play, stated.

Many audience members were grateful to Kitt for directing this play. “Thank you so much for bringing this to us and to our students. I know that this is an issue all over the campuses and all of the country and it is just so emotional for me because my sister had mental illness and it’s a beautiful thing what you have done. I hope that whoever has heard this and has aniexty will reach out,” Irene Johnson, the first lady at Clark Atlanta University, said.

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