A trailblazing new musical based on a 10+ year relationship between a woman with borderline personality disorder and her therapist – starring the patient and the therapist themselves – will run at the Provincetown Playhouse November 13-16, sponsored by the Drama Therapy program at the NYU Steinhardt School.
Borderline tells the story of actress Jill Powell, a single lesbian mom raising a transgender child while herself struggling with borderline personality disorder; and Dr. Cecilia Dintino, her intrepid therapist, who adopts a cutting-edge approach to treating her client, helping to save the client’s life and transforming them both in the process.
“This play is Drama Therapy in action,” said Dave Mowers, Producing Director of the “As Performance” series at NYU Drama Therapy Program, where he also serves as Adjunct Professor, and director of Borderline. “The performance exists at the borderline of art and clinical work. Audiences are invited into the treatment space created by client and therapist over ten years of hard and intimate work. The actors live in a space on the borderline of real and rehearsed. The play is the therapy and the therapy is the play.”
Borderline is the fruit of a bold experiment on the part of Powell and Dintino, the latter of whom is an Adjunct Professor of Drama Therapy at Steinhardt. Dintino approached Robert Landy – director, writer, drama therapy pioneer and Professor of Educational Theatre and Applied Psychology at Steinhardt - to write the play in an attempt to help Powell’s progress. Landy then convened 18 hours of intensive workshops with Powell and Dintino, creating a play with songs, set to music by Tony Award Winning Orchestrator, Michael Starobin.
A three-month engagement of therapeutic rehearsals under the direction of NYU faculty member Dave Mowers culminates in four public performances at the Provincetown Playhouse on the following dates:
Thursday, November 13, 8 PM
Friday, November 14, 8 PM
Saturday, November 15, 8 PM
Sunday, November 16 at 2 PM
Powell was once a promising Broadway musical theater performer and TV actress, but the onset of borderline personality disorder made work impossible for her.
“I have a mind that takes in too much, eyes that see everything and a heart that is affected by all. Hyper compassionate and hyper sad,” she said. “When the pain happens and is not dealt with skillfully, when I cannot get away, my mind tells my heart that the pain is too much to bare and then I want to die.”
After reaching an impasse in her treatment, Powell and her therapist realized the need for a new plan. Powell wanted to tell her story, and according to Dintino, “We felt like taking this approach was the only way we could move forward. And Jill was very interested in how the play could give people a sense of what living with borderline personality disorder is really like.”
The result is a poignant and personal one-hour play that exposes the complexities of learning to live and to cope with borderline personality disorder. BORDERLINE is produced by NYU Drama Therapy Program at Steinhardt, through a grant from The Billy Rose Foundation. It is part of the therapeutic theatre series, AS PERFORMANCE.
Provincetown Playhouse is located at133 MacDougal Street in Manhattan. Admission is: $15, $5 for students & seniors. For tickets, contact NYU Ticket Central online at nyu.edu/ticketcentral/calendar, or by phone at 212-352 3101.