NAP, THE PLAY features Acting in Columbus alumni Jacqueline Cook

Jacqueline Cook as JINX
On Friday, August 30, 2019 I had the privilege of seeing Acting in Columbus alumni, Jacqueline Cook, in 'I Could Take a Nap, but Killing Myself would be more Productive' in Chicago, the final leg of their cross country tour. It was great  to see how much jaqueline has grown as an artist through her training in CalArts MFA Acting Program which she and other cast members are entering their third and final year.

SYNOPSIS: Step inside a life size journal and follow the pages of one suicidal teen’s journey as she makes her way through the incidents preceding her death. The mind of modern adolescence is explored through a multimedia experience (home videos, an original score, 6 foot tall journal pages, and life size doll stands). A group of 18-23 year old artists partnered with 8 suicide prevention organizations to create an eye opening theatrical experience with a core of activism.

Nap the Play, written, directed by and starring Lauren Sage Browning, is nomad theater at its most poignant and aims to highlight the complexities of mental illness and prompt a discussion around suicide.

After its debut at the California Institute of the Arts last fall, Nap the Play went through an extensive artistic rewrite, after which Browning says she wanted to make sure it was a productive piece of social change. She considers her work as a form of activism, and the most important aspect of bringing this story to the stage was that its message was not harmful and wouldn’t contribute to anyone’s mental health struggles. To ensure its empathetic approach, Browning asked four parents whose children had committed suicide to read the play.

For the cast, all of whom are either recent high school graduates or in college, this is the first time they’ve participated in a traveling production of this size and importance. “This whole tour has been finding the artists voice and container for the piece. And something that was really important to us all from the get-go is that this is a national epidemic and it’s being talked about a lot and discussed a lot, but there’s very little young adult or teen voices in that conversation. It’s a lot of adult perspective, which is great and we need that, but we also need the inside of the teen suicide epidemic talking about what it’s like to know these kids and what it’s like to feel these pressures,” Browning says. “The main thing is to leave with the connection of humanity and the fact that we all need each other and we all have a place here and we’re all intertwined. Without us things fall apart, and the answer is never to leave.”