Rust Belt presents ‘Madhouse’

The Rust Belt Theater Company will premiere the dark comedy “Madhouse” on Friday.

Written and directed by Rust Belt founder Robert Dennick Joki, the play tells the story of a woman who sees faces in everyday objects — houses, cars, trees, etc. Triggered by the sudden and untimely death of her brother, she begins to believe that inanimate objects are actually speaking to her, influencing her life in ways she never thought possible.

The show relies on a projection screen to give audience members a glimpse through the main character’s eyes. When everyday objects “come alive” and begin to speak, their photos are flashed on the screen. The ensemble cast members then provide the voices for the objects.

“Many of the photographs have been digitally manipulated to help the audience see what Elizabeth sees,” Joki said.

The cast features Brooke Nobbs, Jude Mikulich, Kage Coven, Lisa Torrence, Celena Coven, Heather Powell, Mary Boldish James, Jim Hain, Josh Yohman, Janelle Yohman, Samuel Mentzer and Marisa Zamary.

“I’ve always used humor to help me through difficult times,” Joki said. “This story is based on my own struggle with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Grief can be a very deep hole to dig yourself out of, and different people have different ways of coping. I wrote this play as a little piece of art therapy to deal with some major losses in my life.”

Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday through May 25 at the Calvin Center, 755 Mahoning Ave., Youngstown. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors and can be reserved by calling 330-507-2358.

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