Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University presents Circumstance, a student’s original play about teenagers with mental illness, March 10 and March 11 at 7 p.m.
Brandi Aragon, a Highlands music performance senior, wrote Circumstance and directs the production performed by the university’s Zero Theatre Club in the Sala de Madrid Building, 801 University Ave.
“My two-part play is about teenagers who are in a mental hospital with a focus on ones who are there for self-harming behavior like suicide attempts,” Aragon said. “The most important aspect of the play is for people to recognize that teenagers, and even younger children, can have mental illnesses like depression that affect their daily life.”
Aragon, a 22-year-old Las Vegas, New Mexico native, said she has battled depression since she was in grade school, making the play she wrote hit home.
She describes her play as a dramedy because it’s a blend of drama and comedy. The young playwright also wrote another dramedy, The Invisible Woman, which Zero Theatre Club performed spring semester 2016 at Highlands.
“Highlands and the faculty, especially Don Evans in theater, have given me the spectacular opportunity to write, direct and see my plays come to life. Since I was a teenager writing short pieces for local theater, Don Evans has been a very good mentor to me. He inspired me to write more in-depth characters and story development for my plays befitting a college-level stage,” said Aragon, president of Zero Theatre Club.
Highlands University theater faculty member Don Evans advises Zero Theatre Club, a student club. He also created the sets for Circumstance.
“What’s so significant about Brandi’s piece Circumstance is it looks at the humanity of young people suffering through various kinds of anguish,” Evans said. “She is a very keen writer in developing natural dialogue. Her works are character driven, giving the drama more depth and connection to the story that is being told.”
Evans said Circumstance is a strong production.
“The cast is very dedicated to bringing their characters alive on stage,” Evans said.
The Highlands University student cast includes includes Isaac Gallegos, Taylor Bocksnick, Elena Chavez, Greg Medina, Amanda Gomez, and Claire Baire. Cast member Libby Cattey is from a local high school.
Evans said the characters in the play are trying to navigate a fractured life, putting the pieces together again through a maze of treatments.
“The set is a visual depiction of this maze,” Evans said.
General admission tickets for Circumstance are $5. Highlands students with valid HU IDs are free.