CCRI Players bring 'Bedtime Stories' to campus

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6 The Community College of Rhode Island Players and Seed & Ivy Theatre Co. will bring a play to the college this week about a young woman plagued by depression who learns how to find her true self.

“Bedtime Stories” follows the life of Marina and her interactions with the most significant people in her life: her mother, who is nearly oblivious to Marina’s developing depression as she becomes an adult; her babysitter Sean, who sexually assaults her when she is 9 and again as an adult; her best friend Hazel, who is caught up in her own world and blind to Marina’s real needs; and two different boyfriends, Jessie and Rudy, one who can’t stand her tendencies and the other who misinterprets Marina entirely.

The show will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, March 14 to 16, in Room 0540 on the ground floor of the round building at the Knight Campus in Warwick. Admission is free and the performance is open to the public.

Director and playwright Rhiannon Lynn Annin, artistic director of Seed & Ivy Theatre Co., teaches theater at the Artists’ Exchange in Cranston and runs theater programs at several schools and after-school programs.

Annin said the actors playing the other characters also become a Greek Chorus of Marina’s thoughts, working with her and against her.

“They take on a life of their own during short scenes when they remind Marina of the depression and anxiety living within her, often with personification,” she said. “Audience members may feel uncomfortable when they realize the Chorus is driving Marina toward self-harm and suicidal thoughts, steering her back and forth between melancholia and mania.”

Associate Professor Ted Clement said “Bedtime Stories” cast member Kerstyn Desjardin, who performed in CCRI Summer Rep’s “Macbeth” as the Mother Witch, introduced the project to the CCRI Players club, which sometimes hosts guest artists and staged readings.

“The Players officers were enthusiastic about this project, as it speaks to issues they feel strongly about, including sexual misconduct, assault and suicide,” he said. He said the cast features a variety of local actors including CCRI theater alumnus Bob Macaux.

Desjardin, who plays Marina, auditioned for her first community theatre production on a whim in 2014 and has been acting ever since. She graduated with her bachelor’s in creative writing from Rhode Island College and works as a middle school librarian at a charter school in Providence.

The show is being produced in association with the CCRI Office of Student Life, and the CCRI Office of Institutional Equity is supporting the event with informational tables about the themes in the play.

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