The UCSB Department of Theater and Dance is presenting “Under Normal Circumstances, a new play written for Zoom by Brian Otano, and directed by Shirley Jo Finney.
The free show will open at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 and run through Dec. 5. The viewing link is available at www.theaterdance.ucsb.edu.
The play follows the members of Never Had a Legal Drink, an AA group for young people in recovery.
Taking place in the time of COVID-19, the story explores the very real implications of social isolation, and the unique pressures and struggles that come with recovery in quarantine. These struggles are heightened when one of the group members breaks quarantine and vanishes.
A large part of what makes AA successful is the community support. Under Normal Circumstances explores what can happen when that community is disrupted.
“I’ve been orbiting around the topic of rehabilitation and recovery in my work for as long as I’ve been writing,” said Mr. Otano in a news release. “I decided this would be a great time to explore how the recovery community is adapting to the new normal that COVID-19 has ushered in.
“Recovering from addiction and alcoholism is difficult in any circumstance, but adding the pressures brought on by required social distance, unemployment and isolation with toxic family members has made the going that much tougher for so many,” Mr. Otano said.
Although the characters in “Under Normal Circumstances” have their own unique struggles, there is something familiar about what they experience. Director Shirley Jo Finney sees that familiarity and hopes the audience can find common ground in their stories.
“We experience their challenges of having to endure what we all have faced: isolation, fear of the unknown, experiencing personal loss of friends and family,” Ms. Finney said. “In their boxes we see their determination, their resilience, their hope, and finally, gratitude for life and each precious moment.”
— Dave Mason