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Study Guide Contents 3.) Production Information 4.) Introduction 5.) Letter from the Education Director 6.) Meet the Writers 7.) Characters 8.) Synopsis 9.) Bipolar Disorder 10.) Two Sides to Prescription Medication 11.) Female Hysteria 12.) Elements of Teaching Theatre 14.) Sources & References

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SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

Interim Director of Education Kate Laissle (315) 442-7755

Group Sales & Student Matinees Tracey White (315) 443-9844

Box Office (315) 443-3275


Robert Hupp Artistic Director Jill A. Anderson Managing Director Kyle Bass Associate Artistic Director PRESENTS

B O O K A N D LY R I C S B Y

MUSIC BY

Tom Kitt Brian Yorkey

SPONSORS

Syracuse Stage Board of Trustees

O R I G I N A L B R O A D WAY P R O D U C I T O N P R O D U C E D B Y

David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, and Second Stage Theatre DIRECTED BY

Robert Hupp MEDIA SPONSOR

MUSIC DIRECTOR

CHOREOGRAPHER

Brian Cimmet Anthony Salatino OPENING NIGHT CHAMPAGNE TOAST SPONSOR

SEASON SPONSORS

SCENIC DESIGNER

COSTUME DESIGNER

LIGHTING DESIGNER

SOUND DESIGNER

Shoko Kambara

Suzanne Chesney

Dawn Chiang

Jonathan Herter

PROJECTION DESIGNER

S TA G E M A N A G E R

Katherine Freer

Laura Jane Collins*

New York premiere produced by Second Stage Theatre, New York, February 2008 (Carole Rothman, Artistic Director; Ellen Richard, Eecutive Director). Next to Normal was subsequently produced by Arena Stage in November 2008. Developed at Villiage Theatre, Issaquah, WA (Robb Hunt, Executive Producer; Steve Tomkins, Artistic Director). An earlier version was presented in the 2005 New York Theatre Festival. Support for the development of Next to Normal was provided by the Jonathan Larson Foundation. January 24 - February 11, 2018

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Welcome!

A few reminders...

audience etiquette BE PROMPT Give your students plenty of time to arrive, find their seats, and get situated. Have them visit the restrooms before the show begins. RESPECT OTHERS Please remind your students that their behavior and responses affect the quality of the performance and the enjoyment of the production for the entire audience. Live theatre means the actors and the audience are in the same room, and just as the audience can see and hear the performers, the performers can see and hear the audience. Please ask your students to avoid disturbing those around them. Please no talking or unnecessary or disruptive movement during the performance. Also, please remind students that cellphones should be switched off completely. No texting or tweeting, please. When students give their full attention to the action on the stage, they will be rewarded with the best performance possible.

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As you take your students on the exciting journey into the world of live theatre we hope that you’ll take a moment to help prepare them to make the most of their experience. Unlike movies or television, live theatre offers the thrill of unpredictability.

GOOD NOISE, BAD NOISE Instead of instructing students to remain totally silent, please discuss the difference between appropriate responses (laughter, applause, participation when requested) and inappropriate noise (talking, cell phones, etc).

With the actors present on stage, the audience response becomes an integral part of the performance and the overall experience: the more involved and attentive the audience, the better the show. Please remind your students that they play an important part in the success of the performance.

STAY WITH US Please do not leave or allow students to leave during the performance except in absolute emergencies. Again, reminding them to use the restrooms before the performance will help eliminate unnecessary disruption.

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Dear Educator, Live theatre is a place for people to gather and experience the joys, triumphs, and sorrows life has to offer. The Syracuse Stage education department is committed to providing the tools to make learning in and through the arts possible to address varied learning styles and to make connections to curricula and life itself. It is our goal in the education department to maximize the theatre experience for our education partners with experiential learning and indepth arts programming. Thank you for your interest and support. Sincerely,

Kate Laissle Interim Director of Educational

2017/2018 EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH SPONSORS Syracuse Stage is committed to providing students with rich theatre experiences that explore and examine what it is to be human. Research shows that children who participate in or are exposed to the arts show higher academic achievement, stronger self-esteem, and improved ability to plan and work toward a future goal. Many students in our community have their first taste of live theatre through Syracuse Stage’s outreach programs. Last season more than 15,500 students from across New York State attended or participated in the Bank of America Children’s Tour, artsEmerging, the Young Playwrights Festival, Word to the World, Backstory, Young Adult Council, and our Student Matinee Program. We gratefully acknowledge the corporations and foundations who support our commitment to in-depth arts education for our comunity.

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meet the writers

Composer Tom Kitt and lyricist/librettist Brian Yorkey met as students at Columbia in the 1990s. After graduation, they were invited as a team to participate in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. “Feeling Electric,” a 10-minute musical about electric shock therapy, was their 1998 final project at BMI and became the inspiration and starting point for Next to Normal, which went on to a long life on Broadway and won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Their next project together was If/Then starring Idina Menzel in 2013. Their current project, Freaky Friday, based on the Disney movie, premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in January 2017. 6

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Aside from his work with Yorkey, Tom Kitt is an accomplished composer and orchestrator. In 2010, he was orchestrator, arranger, and music supervisor for American Idiot. Kitt collaborated with LinnManuel Miranda and Amanda Green for Bring it On in 2011. In 2014, Brian Yorkey collaborated with John Logan on the libretto for Sting’s The Last Ship. Recently, he adapted Jay Asher’s novel and was co-showrunner for the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. He has scripted several films now in various stages of production.


Characters Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Diana is a middle-age wife and mother afflicted with bipolar depression and delusions for nearly sixteen years.

school, but finds the stress of dealing with her mother’s illness is too much to handle.

Dan is Diana’s husband, who tries to be supportive and optimistic despite his wife’s crippling and seemingly permanent illness.

Henry, Natalie’s musician boyfriend, tries to be supportive as Natalie tries to cope with her family.

Gabe is Dan and Diana’s eighteen year old son, a bright, talented young man who serves as a narrator of his mother’s problems throughout the play.

Dr. Madden, Diana’s unconventional new doctor, attempts a number of unusual treatments to alleviate Diana’s depression.

Natalie, Dan and Diana’s sixteen-year-old, tries to do well in

—adapted from a study guide written by Laura Ascoli for Arena Stage Community Engagement SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

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SYNOPSIS As the musical Next to Normal opens, middle-age mother Diana seems to have it all: a handsome, loving husband, and two talented teenage children. It is soon obvious, however, that life for Diana is far more difficult than it seems. She has been dealing with severe depression and delusions since tragedy struck her marriage nearly sixteen years earlier. As she continues to seek various treatments, medications, and therapies to help her return to a normal life, her family begins to unravel, finding desperate ways to deal with her own illness and their loss. —adapted from a study guide written by Laura Ascoli for Arena Stage Community Engagement

Doctor Madden: There’s a difference between being happy and just thinking you’re happy? Diana: Most people who think they’re happy just haven’t thought about it enough. Most people who think they’re happy are actually just stupid.

costume design by suzanna Chesney

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Bipolar Disorder

In Next to Normal, Diana is a seemingly normal wife and mother, but she is privately battling bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder—also known as manic depression—is a mental illness characterized by serious, even disabling, mood instability. People who suffer from the disorder swing back and forth between two extremes and opposite phases of moods: mania and depression. Mania can be identified by extreme optimism, rapid speech and activity, risky behavior, and inability to concentrate. Its opposite, depression, is marked by sadness, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, fatigue, and chronic pain.The mood swings may last for weeks to months, and sometimes a patient will swing back and forth between the two moods several times in an hour. Severe episodes of either mania or depression may result in psychosis or a detachment from reality. Symptoms of psychosis may include hearing or seeing things that aren’t there (hallucinations) and false, but strongly held beliefs (delusions). The cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but connections have been made to biochemical factors and genetics. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, a combination of medication and therapy can often control the disease enough for the patient to lead a normal life. Mood stabilizers like lithium can regulate mood and keep the swings from occurring, while therapy can help the patient recognize and control their mood swings. —adapted from a study guide written by Laura Ascoli for Arena Stage Community Engagement

ECT While medication and therapy are most commonly used to treat bipolar disorder, some cases are so severe that such treatments make no difference. In these cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is sometimes used. ECT is a procedure in which electric currents are passed through the patient’s brain, deliberately triggering a brief seizure. The treatment is usually given three times a week and for up to 15 sessions. According to the American Psychiatric Association, its success rate is 80 percent, considerably higher than the 50-60 percent success rate of most antidepressant medications. Doctors are unsure why ECT works, though it is known that many chemical aspects of brain function are altered during and after seizure activity. Researchers theorize that when ECT is administered on a regular basis,

above: Demi lovato has bipolar disorder and is an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness and treamtment.

these chemical changes build upon one another, somehow reducing symptoms of bipolar disorder. Despite its effectiveness, electroconvulsive therapy remains controversial. This is likely due to early brutal treatments, in which high doses of electricity were administered without anesthesia, leading to memory loss and death.Today, ECT can still cause side effects like memory loss, but uses precisely calculated electrical currents given in a controlled setting to achieve the most benefit with the fewest possible risks. —adapted from a study guide written by Laura Ascoli for Arena Stage Community Engagement SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

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Two Sides to prescription medication Next to Normal tells the stories of two very separate battles with prescription medications. While Diana struggles with how her prescribed medication makes her feel, her daughter Natalie begins taking pills recreationally.

(Not) Adjusting Many patients find it difficult to stay on medication for psychological conditions. While medication may help lessen depression or stabilize mood, it also can cause side effects that many find unpleasant. Some patients feel that their personalities are clouded over or their creativity is dulled. As one patient described it, “There was a perpetual mental fog…The emotional blunting left me without any real passion for much of anything, while deep inside the real me was screaming nonstop.” Twenty-eight percent of patients taking antidepressants go off the drug within the first month of use. Patients should not go off medication talking making to their doctor. Often medications take getting used to, and patients will eventually be able to function better than they would otherwise. —adapted from a study guide written by Laura Ascoli for Arena Stage Community Engagement

Teen Addiction Alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana continue to be the drugs most abused by young people, with dangerous synthetic pot, (often called K2, spice, or plant food) in the picture, as well as LSD and ecstasy. However, more teens are beginning to take prescription drugs recreationally. The ADD prescriptions Adderall and Ritalin are often abused, as well as cough medicines, and amphetamines. Without a doubt, we are in the throws of a drug abuse emergency with adult and young Americans addicted to prescription opioids such as Vicodin, OxyContin pills, oxycodone, codeine, and the very dangerous Fentanyl. Some turn to heroin with tragic results. In Next to Normal, which was first produced on the edge of the current epidemic, Natalie reacts to the chaos at home by using her mother’s antipsychotic drugs washed down with Red Bull.

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Female Hysteria Female hysteria—the idea that mental instability in a woman is connected to her gender—dates back to ancient Greece. Hysteria derives from the Greek word hystera, meaning literally “wandering of the womb. Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (the father of medicine) defined the condition, claiming that a woman’s womb traveled through her body and strangled her as it reached her chest.

victorian images of women with hysteria

Female hysteria has appeared in works of drama for thousands of years. In the ancient Greek play Medea, the main character murders her own children in a fit of rage after being betrayed by their father. Shakespeare incorporated the idea into Hamlet through Ophelia, who goes mad after all the men in her life attempt to control her in different ways. . . .In Next to Normal, Diana’s metal problems are strongly associated with her identity as a wife and mother. The idea of hysteria became popular in the Victorian era. Physicians did not define its cause, vaguely claiming it was a “womb disease” having to do with pent-up fluids in the female body. In 1859, it was claimed the 29 percent of women suffered from hysteria, undoubtedly due to the 75 page catalogue of symptoms, which was seen as incomplete. These symptoms included faintness, nervousness, insomnia, heaviness in the abdomen, muscle spasms, shortness of breath, irritability, and a loss of appetite. Since hysteria was a chronic condition that could only be treated but not cured, it was suspected that doctors diagnosed women merely to make money from the continued treatment. —adapted from a study guide written by Laura Ascoli for Arena Stage Community Engagement

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elements of drama PLOT

What is the story line? What happened before the play started? What do the characters want? What do they do to achieve their goals? What do they stand to gain/lose? THEME

What ideas are wrestled with in the play? What questions does the play pose? Does it present an opinion? CHARACTER

Who are the people in the story? What are their relationships? Why do they do what they do? How does age/status/etc. affect them? LANGUAGE

What do the characters say? How do they say it? When do they say it? MUSIC

How do music and sound help to tell the story? SPECTACLE

How do the elements come together to create the whole performance?

Other Elements: Conflict/Resolution, Action, Improvisation, Non-verbal communication, Staging, Humor, Realism and other styles, Metaphor, Language, Tone, Pattern & Repetition, Emotion, Point of view.

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Any piece of theatre comprises multiple art forms. As you explore this production with your students, examine the use of:

WRITING VISUAL ART/DESIGN MUSIC/SOUND DANCE/MOVEMENT

activity

At its core, drama is about characters working toward goals and overcoming obstacles. Ask students to use their bodies and voices to create characters who are: very old, very young, very strong, very weak, very tired, very energetic, very cold, very warm. Have their characters interact with others. Give them an objective to fulfill despite environmental obstacles. Later, recap by asking how these obstacles affected their characters and the pursuit of their objectives.

INQUIRY

How are each of these art forms used in this production? Why are they used? How do they help to tell the story?


elements of design LINE can have length, width, texture, direction, and

curve. There are five basic varieties: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved, and zig-zag.

SHAPE is two-dimensional and encloses space.

It can be geometric (e.g. squares and circles), man-made, or free-form.

FORM is three-dimensional. It encloses space

and fills space. It can be geometric (e.g. cubes and cylinders), man-made, or free-form.

COLOR has three basic properties:

HUE is the name of the color (e.g. red, blue, green), INTENSITY is the strength of the color (bright or dull), VALUE is the range of lightness to darkness.

TEXTURE refers to the “feel” of an

object’s surface. It can be smooth, rough, soft, etc. Textures may be ACTUAL (able to be felt) or IMPLIED (suggested visually through the artist’s technique).

SPACE is defined and determined

by shapes and forms. Positive space is enclosed by shapes and forms, while negative space exists around them.

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Sources and Resources: Next to Normal Many thanks to Arena Stage for the use of portions of their study guide for Next to Normal: https://www.arenastage.org/education/education-programs/student-study-guides/08-09/Arena-Stage-study-guide-normal.pdf Breslow, Jason. PBS News Hour. “Conversation: Pulitzer Prize Winners in Drama Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey of Next to Normal. April 14, 2010. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/conversation-pulitzer-prize-winners-in-drama-tom-kitt-and-brian-yorkey-of-next-to-normal Brantley, Ben. “Fragmented Psyches, Uncommon Emotions: Sing Out.” New York Times, April 15, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/theater/reviews/16norm.html?pagewanted=all Bipolar Disorder National Alliance on Mental Illness “Bipolar Disorder,”. Reviewed August, 2017. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder Teenagers and Prescription Drugs National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.” January 2014. .https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-adolescent-substance-use-disorder-treatment-research-based-guide/frequently-asked-questions/what-drugs-aremost-frequently-used-by-adolescents National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens, “Prescription Pain Medications (opioids)”, March 2017. https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/prescription-pain-medications-opioids National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Teen substance use shows promising decline,” December 13, 2016. https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2016/12/teen-substance-use-shows-promising-decline

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THE THREE MUSKETEERS ADAPTED FROM THE NOVEL BY ALEXANDRE DUMAS | BY CATHERINE BUSH | DIRECTED BY ROBERT HUPP CO-PRODUCED WITH THE SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF DRAMA

NEXT TO NORMAL MUSIC BY TOM KITT | BOOK AND LYRICS BY BRIAN YORKEY | DIRECTED BY ROBERT HUPP | CHOREOGRAPHY BY ANTHONY SALATINO | MUSICAL DIRECTION BY BRIAN CIMMET

JANUARY 24 - FEBRUARY 11

SEPTEMBER 20 – OCTOBER 8

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME BY SIMON STEPHENS | ADAPTED FROM THE NOVEL BY MARK HADDON DIRECTED BY RISA BRAININ CO-PRODUCED WITH INDIANA REPERTORY THEATRE

OCTOBER 25 – NOVEMBER 12

THE WIZARD OF OZ BY L. FRANK BAUM | WITH MUSIC AND LYRICS FROM THE MGM MOTION PICTURE SCORE BY HAROLD ARLEN AND E. Y. HARBURG WITH BACKGROUND MUSIC BY HERBERT STOTHART | BOOK ADAPTATION BY JOHN KANE FROM THE MOTION PICTURE SCREENPLAY | DIRECTED BY DONNA DRAKE CHOREOGRAPHY BY 2 RING CIRCUS MUSICAL DIRECTION BY BRIAN CIMMET CO-PRODUCED WITH THE SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF DRAMA

A RAISIN IN THE SUN BY LORRAINE HANSBERRY | DIRECTED BY TIMOTHY DOUGLAS | CO-PRODUCED WITH INDIANA REPERTORY THEATRE

FEBRUARY 21 – MARCH 11

NEW FOR 17/18

COLD READ: A FESTIVAL OF HOT NEW PLAYS APRIL 5 - 8

THE MAGIC PLAY BY ANDREW HINDERAKER | DIRECTED BY HALENA KAYS | CO-PRODUCED WITH THE ACTORS THEATRE OF LOUISVILLE & PORTLAND CENTER STAGE

APRIL 25 – MAY 13

NOVEMBER 29 – JANUARY 7

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Next to Normal Study Guide  
Next to Normal Study Guide