In 2014, area playwright and actress Laura Uzarski won the LEFF competition with her piece Remember Me. When asked if she considered it a prize to be asked to write a full-length show, her immediate response was, “Oh, absolutely! This was hard, because I've only ever written 10 minute scripts, but to see your work produced onstage is wonderful!”
Draw Me Out features Drew, a shy, withdrawn teen suffering from bi-polar disorder. We follow his days at school, relationships with his mom, sister and her friends, his new therapist, and a new friend named Suze who seems to be everything that Drew is not and pops up out of nowhere when he least expects her. Director Adam J. Hyde worked for eight years in the mental health field as a behavioral analyst and autism specialist, but he hopes the audience won't view the show as a heavy 'issue play' about mental illness. He considers it "a drama, with levity" and hopes it will spark “intelligent conversation about relationships and being honest with yourself and who you are in a world of fake people.”
Originally written two years ago for a 24 Hour Theatre Showcase as a 10 Minute Play, featuring Drew, Suze and Dr. Greene, it seemed to her that “the characters wouldn't leave me alone, insisting that there was more to their story.”
Cast members include: Benjamin Brown as Drew, Claire Mahave in the double role of his mother and Dr. Greene, Suze is portrayed by Julia Steudle and Amanda Furstenberg plays Drew’s sister, Amy. Kaija von Websky, Jessica Fountain and Anessa Johnson round out the cast as Amy’s “mean girls” friends.
Most of the actors play two roles, showing the duality of human nature; the best and worst qualities of themselves. As an actress herself, Uzarski finds playing multiple characters a challenge and would welcome the chance to show versatility on stage. She is an Aquinas College graduate who has appeared onstage there, in several Stark Turn productions, and has performed with many other local theatre organizations. About Draw Me Out, she adds, “I think the biggest thing that resonates with this show is Drew's need to leave an impact on his time in the world. I think that is the main reason why he draws the entire show. Yes, he uses it as a creative outlet, but I think it goes much deeper. The theme of creative assertion, or empowerment, is huge in this show. That is why Suze is born... Drew could never push himself into standing up for himself, so… she… is someone who could do that for him.”
Draw Me Out opens April 30 and performs through May 3 at the Dog Story Theater. There will be a talk back with Adam and Laura after Friday night's performance, May 1.