Special Event Partners GCC with Mental Health Association

Theater Performance to Mark Suicide Prevention Week

A limited-engagement production of the stark Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play ’night, Mother will team the Genesee Community College Forum Players with the Mental Health Association of Genesee County (MHAGC) for three performances in Batavia next week.

’night, Mother is an unsettling peek into the lives of two woman, one of whom is carefully and nonchalantly planning to take her own life. The play opens with daughter Jessie telling her mother Thelma that she will commit suicide that night. The evening delves into the relationship between mother and daughter, the younger woman’s reasons for wanting to end her life and her mother’s desperate attempt to persuade Jessie to change her mind.

There is no happy ending here. But that does not have to be the case in real life. After two of the performances, a discussion of depression with a regional mental health expert and counseling services will be available.

The play is being produced for three performances only at GCC’s Stuart Steiner Theatre. The first show is Friday, May 11, 2012 at 7:00pm, followed by a conversation with Overcoming the Darkness Executive Director Eric Weaver. His Victor, NY-based organization aims to reduce the stigma, increase understanding surrounding the many challenges of mental health related issues, create a culture that openly discusses the topic of mental illness and suicide, and to reach out to individuals and families to offer hope of recovery.

Following the play on Saturday, May 12 at 7:00pm, GCC Counselor Jeanie Burdick will be available to offer support, and the concluding performance is set for 2:00pm on Sunday, May 13.

‘night, Mother is appropriate for those aged 16 and over—children under 5 are not permitted, and tickets are $5 each, cash or check only. Seats can be reserved through the Box Office website: boxoffice@genesee.edu, or by calling (585) 345-6814.

GCC’s production features mother-daughter acting team Maryanne and Jaime Arena. Maryanne joined the faculty in 2004 as director of Fine and Performing Arts and is the creative force behind the Forum Players, serving as producer and director in various productions, and often taking on an acting role as well.

“Jaime and I have always wanted to do ’night, Mother,” says Maryanne Arena. “It’s about a very complicated mother-daughter relationship, and we wanted to dive in and explore it. It was also a great opportunity for Emily Jones to understudy the daughter’s part and do the Sunday matinee. It’s great to see two actresses interpret the same role. We also hope to make lots of money for Genesee County Mental Health Association. If this play helps one person recognize the warning signs of suicide, we’ve done more than put on a play.”

Jaime Arena is a GCC graduate who currently resides in Springfield, Massachusetts. She will tackle the role of the daughter for the first two performances, with theatre major Emily Jones of Waterloo, NY assuming that challenge on Sunday.

Funding for the play comes in part from a grant from Genesee Orleans Regional Arts Council (GoArt) to MHAGC, and all ticket sales will support the mission and programs of MHAGC.

For further information please contact Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: dsutherland@genesee.edu.

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Editor’s Note:

Information about GCC’s counseling services is available by visiting:


For more information about Overcoming the Darkness, visit: http://www.overcomingthedarkness.com/index.html