Discover Your Island

TAMU-CC Theatre Production “Good for Otto” Shines Supportive Spotlight on Mental Illness

September 30, 2016

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – After six weeks of intense rehearsals and personally receiving the green light from the playwright, a cast and crew of more than 70 Islander students will take center stage in the collegiate world premiere of David Rabe’s new play “Good for Otto.” The Tony Award Winner is described as a whimsical, yet tornadic, ensemble piece and is directed by J. Don Luna, Professor of Theatre and Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

The play is set to run Oct. 11-16, with showings Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. in the Wilson Theatre, located in the Center for the Arts. Tickets are available now.

“Good for Otto,” which through its characters, takes great care in understanding and respecting those who suffer from addiction, substance abuse, chronic depression and mental health illnesses, also offers a platform for advocacy of these issues with mental health information offered to patrons before the show and during intermission. The information is sponsored by the University Counseling Center at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

“The play is centered around this fantastic group of people who are in troubled places in their lives,” said Luna. “It’s a story about mental health, but it’s also about these characters as they search for guidance, acceptance and a way to make their lives better.”                                         

The Wilson Theatre holds about 180 guests and offers an intimate experience between audience members and the cast as the cast portray the many colleagues and patients of main character and psychologist Dr. Michaels. The lead is played by B. Connor Flynn, a junior theatre major.

“While trying to help his many patients, Dr. Michaels himself struggles with his own demons,” said Flynn. “This play brings to life a lot of the issues we often don’t think about or realize are there. It’s my first true lead in any work I’ve ever done and I’m excited. I’ve never been a part of anything that’s been both entertaining and resourceful for the audience.”

Kurt Wilkinson, a sophomore theatre major, plays an autistic patient named Timothy. Although having participated in many student-directed productions, this will be Wilkinson’s first main stage performance.

“The process of this show requires a lot of intense character analysis,” said Wilkinson. “Every summer, I volunteer at a camp for special needs students, so I have had first-hand experience in seeing their strength and just how amazing they are.”

Jacob Salazar, a freshman theatre major, plays Bernard, a 73-year-old man suffering from separation anxiety and immobilizing depression. This is Salazar’s first collegiate performance.

“There’s never a dull moment backstage. Everyone is working together to make the show the best it can possibly be,” said Salazar. “The subject of the show is very serious. It’s our focus to try and understand the characters we portray and respect their struggles, so we can give them the justice they deserve.”

           

If you go:

“Good for Otto”

Oct. 11-16

Wilson Theatre, Center for the Arts

Tickets available now