By Karen Saari, 2015 Wisconsin Wrights playwright
There's a reason alcoholism is at the center of many stories. It's a compelling and relatable topic. Most of us have known or loved at least one alcoholic. If not, our gut reaction is often still emotional, ranging from compassion to outright disdain. Whatever our personal experience is with addiction, we want those in the throes to beat it and to find redemption.
What we don't often see in stories of recovery is what happens after the credits roll. The flawed character quits the bottle or puts down the needle and starts over. There's our happy ending ... right? Not really. Now the addict has to face life without the one thing that has been ruling his or her existence. With this comes regret, pain and grief over lost time and chances blown. And if they are committed to recovery, there is no anesthesia for these emotions.
This topic is something I've always wanted to explore in writing. Mark, the main character in my play, "In a Clearing," is living this reality in rural Wisconsin. I chose to write him as smart, but not scholarly. He's a good man who has done some very bad things and may have caused something outright devastating. Or did he? I can't wait to see how an audience reacts to Mark. What will they want for him? Will they relate to him? Or will they relate more to those who love him and are experiencing his recovery along with him, but in different ways? I hope the audience will be surprised at how much humor there is in the story too.
I'm very thankful that my play was chosen to be part of the Wisconsin Wrights New Play Festival and to share this story. I'm in such wonderful company and I really hope you come and see it!