“Your mother doesn’t own a fucking thing around here. You hear me?”
The above line expresses some of the intensity woven throughout the play “Surviving the Cycle,” by Richard Gustin. Premiering in Milwaukee April 10-13 at UWM’s Kenilworth Studio 508, the play focuses on abusive relationships and their origins.
“When people hear the term ‘abuse’ many of us don’t think about our own relationships… we think about other people we know, or have read about. In truth, many of us are in abusive relationships without knowing it,” says Gustin.
The Milwaukee presentation of “Surviving the Cycle” is a collaboration between Gustin and Clinical Associate Professor Roberta Hanus of the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare (HBSSW).
Hanus, a clinical social worker and psychotherapist says: “The play demonstrates the complicated internal and external dialog between people caught in various types of abusive relationships. Many people have experience with mental or emotional abuse, humiliation, being put down, bullied or marginalized. ‘Surviving the Cycle’ is meant to help us shift our thinking about these often unconscious patterns.”
Milwaukeean Richard Gustin teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, and is directing the production. Gustin wrote the play in 2013 in conjunction with St. Agnes Hospital’s domestic violence awareness program. His acting students performed in the Fond du Lac production of “Cycle.”
“The play has a profound effect on audience members,” Gustin says. “They recognize elements of their own stories portrayed on stage, and when that happens there can be shift of awareness, the potential for change. Theatre is meant to be a transformative experience, that’s always the goal…to better society.”
The cast is made up of UWM students from various areas of study – social work, criminal justice, acting, business, education, film, music, community education and communications. Also participating are students from Marquette University’s theatre program and community members.
The play contains adult subject matter and language. The play will be presented at Kenilworth Studio 508, 1925 E. Kenilworth Pl., Thursday and Friday, April 10-11, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 12, at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m.
Admission is $5. All proceeds benefit scholarships to HBSSW.