WHAT IS THE ANXIETY PROJECT?
THE ANXIETY PROJECT is a new MUSICAL that explores true stories of contemporary suffering, loss, struggle, alienation, friendship, brokenness, love, hate, and everything that comes with anxiety and depression disorders and other mental illnesses. The show combats the last great stigma and gives voice to the people who live it - using the actual words of those for whom this disease is a large part of their lives. At once poignant and touching, this new musical explores the effects of mental illness on our collective minds - and how ignoring it leaves ripples in our social existence.
YEAH, BUT WHAT'S THE STORY ABOUT?
Grad student Avery is in her final semester at Notre Dame and in just a few short weeks, she will earn her doctorate in Psychology and open her own practice. That's assuming she finishes her thesis - a study of the mechanics of mental illness and how science can change lives. Case after case, Avery becomes immersed in the lives of these patients - the day to day struggles of anxiety, depression, suicide, medication. But when one of the cases hits very close to home, Avery realizes that numbers only tell part of the story of mental illness.
HOW WAS THE SHOW WRITTEN?
In 2014, Rachel Dean (composer) and David Brush (librettist/lyricist) began The Anxiety Project – a weekly blog series in association with Ryan Scott Oliver’s Crazytown Artist Asylum Blog. We asked for submissions of personal anecdotes about dealing with mental disease, and we received letters, poems and stories from all over the country that were nothing short of brave. In many ways, anxiety and depression is the last great social stigma, making the depth and personal nature of these stories all the more poignant in their openness and honesty. We knew we wanted to develop a unique theatrical avenue to tell their stories. The process began with songs that were released weekly on the blog. We developed each story we received into specific musical and theatrical moments. The result was a work which we feel has tremendous honesty and importance.