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DRAMA AND THEATER : INNERCITIES : DRUG ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE OPOID CRISIS : UNITED STATES: CITIES: PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: A Play Won't Save Kensington, But This One Has the Ideas That Might | Mike Newall

David P. Dillard
 

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DRAMA AND THEATER :

INNERCITIES :

DRUG ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE OPOID CRISIS :

UNITED STATES: CITIES: PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA:

A Play Won't Save Kensington, But This One Has the Ideas That Might

Mike Newall

Updated: November 3, 2017 4:09 PM EDT

http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/mike_newall/
opioid-crisis-play-durkin-renegade-company-theater-
20171103.html?mc_cid=f94f0d8a46&mc_eid=20b37afcd1

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/ychuojq7

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Mike Durkin stands on Kensington Avenue, handing out fliers for a play he wants the neighborhood to help him write.

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Its called The Old Man and the Delaware River, an adaptation of the celebrated Ernest Hemingway short novel, The Old Man and the Sea.

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Hemingway wrote about an old fisherman who spends most of the book in rough waters, on a skiff trying to land his big catch. Persevering.

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In Durkins version, the old man is the people of Kensington and the struggle is the opioid crisis.

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Durkin is artistic director for the Renegade Company, a community theater troupe. He is 32 and soft-spoken with a thick red beard. For him, the story is personal. His father, Michael Sr., a Brooklyn construction worker, died in 2004 from complications of alcoholism and pancreatic cancer. For a while, Durkin had imagined the blue-collar saloons of the River Wards the ones like his pop drank in back home as a setting to explore addiction and the stigma that worsens it.

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But by last year, the opioid catastrophe had drawn him to the epicenter of those issues: Kensington.

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He brought his idea to ZoVan Orsdol, a community development associate at Impact Services, a Kensington revitalization organization. Durkin, who landed in Philly after studying theater at West Chester University, assured her he wasnt interested in doing a drive-by. Rather, the Pennsport resident wanted to stage the play in Kensington at the El stops, on the street corners. A theatrical walking tour of the neighborhood with Kensingtonians and their stories weaved throughout.

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So, they can rewrite their own narrative, he said.

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To ensure that was the case, Durkin postponed opening for a year and began showing up in the neighborhood. He hit community meetings. Block parties. That little space on The Avenue the Kensington Storefront, its called, an arts and health services hub opened this year by the city and Mural Arts.

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Hes done a really good job of listening to what people have to say in all their complexity, Van Orsdol said.

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He hopes to cast the play by January. Five professionals, eight residents. Hell be holding neighborhood workshops to finalize the script through summer, with the curtains set to rise for September.


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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Related News Report

DRUG ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE: ADDICTION :

LIBRARY: LIBRARIANS :

UNITED STATES: CITIES: PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA:

For These Philly Librarians,
Drug Tourists and Overdose Drills are Part of the Job

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For These Philly Librarians,
Drug Tourists and Overdose Drills are Part of the Job

Mike Newall

Updated: MAY 24, 2017 3:01 AM EDT

Philly.com

http://tinyurl.com/y8yangsh


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