Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Troupe Is Adding 'Shared Discomfort' Topitt Production

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Troupe Is Adding 'Shared Discomfort' Topitt Production

Article excerpt

Outside the Wire is all about challenging the audience.

"It's about shared discomfort .if you want to leave the room when you hear an actor talk about suffering, let's talk about how hard it is to stay in the room in the presence of real suffering," said Bryan Doerries, who co-founded the social impact group.

Outside the Wire will stage a table reading of excerpts from the play "Tape" on Wednesday evening at the University of Pittsburgh's Charity Randall Theater. It's a free event at 7 o'clock.

This is the first time Stephen Belber's piece about three friends recalling what might have been a sexual assault a decade earlier will be performed in a campus setting.

Following the performance, there will be a brief presentation from diverse groups in education and health fields, including Pittsburgh Action Against Rape and a university Title IX representative. Then the floor is open to audience members as a town hall facilitated by Mr. Doerries.

If this sounds dry or academic, know these events are anything but. Mr. Doerries is a classicist who turned to ancient dramatic texts after the traumatic death of his girlfriend in 2003. He said that in his almost manic need to talk about the experience, he found new insights into the works of authors such as Aeschylus, Sophocles and Shakespeare.

He also discovered that they were surprisingly effective in helping others talk about their pain, be it from addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, rape culture or other maladies of the human condition.

Mr. Doerries enlists more than 200 actors - some well-known, some not - who cross the globe, bringing these therapeutic readings to military bases and campuses. Last week featured events in Ferguson, Mo., at the high school of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old black man who was fatally shot in 2014 by a white police officer, and a church there.

Mr. Doerries also founded "Theater of War," which specifically addresses challenges facing those in the military. Other subjects for OTW include end-of-life issues.

"It's just exciting that we can utilize art to help people" said Kimberly Parker Green.

Ms. Parker Green, who is the Chosky teaching artist-in-residence at Pitt, will perform one of the roles in "Tape," along with her husband, Brendan Griffin - a Broadway actor and veteran of OTW events - and Mr. …

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