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Morristown grad's show opens Friday

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

Forgive Adam Allen for missing Morristown’s first boys’ basketball semistate appearance in 20 years.

The 2012 Morristown High School graduate has a big weekend of his own coming up.

Allen’s cabaret-style show, “The Masks We Wear,” debuts at The Cat, in Carmel on Friday, and will be performed again the following night.

The show delves into mental health issues that Allen said began when he found out he had a minor anxiety disorder. He said at the same time, he began noticing on Facebook and in everyday interactions that people talked about depression more.

So Allen, who at the time was a senior at Ball State University, decided for his Capstone project, that he would create a show looking at the two issues, which he said go “hand in hand.”

“I thought a film would be too long, too impersonal,” he said of the original project. “I thought doing a live show would be the best thing to address this issue.”

The original production was brought to stage once at Ball State.

And after several people told him after the original that it needed to be more than a one-night show, he started looking into it.

With help from a friend, they reached out to Ashton Wolf, the artistic director of the Indiana Theatre Company in Fishers. ITC agreed to produce the show and Allen got to work tweaking the show.

The show incorporates health care statistics and includes personal experiences as well as the experiences of friends, he said.

“I noticed a severe lack of understanding,” he said of his decision for the original project. “I decided I wanted to do something to address this problem.”

The show is endorsed by Mental Health America of Indiana and includes eight performers who come together to present the issue of mental health. Allen described it as a “conversational” show.

The updated version now includes an original song, “The Masks We Wear,” that opens the show. Allen warned that it includes strong language and is not child-friendly, but encouraged people who want to be a part of the message to come.

“For too long in this country, we have held the door shut against mental health, trying to sweep it under the rug,” he said. “It opens the door and leaves it open.”

Tickets can be bought in advance for $15 at www.itcindy.com or for $18 at the door. They can also be preordered at 317-649-4228.

“Have a great night, enjoy the show, but really listen to the message delivered,” he said. “That way we can really address these issues together.”