Performance-based research project “Behind the Doors” analyzes and dramatizes actions and repercussions of terror - both in the home and out in the world.


Amidst the nation’s fixation with the threat of socio-political terrorism, the NYU Steinhardt Program in Drama Therapy will present Behind the Doors: Terror as Performance, an arts-based drama therapy research project examining both public and private terrorism and how the two compare.

The shows, running November 10-13, 2016 at the Provincetown Playhouse, will be comprised of clinicians as well as faculty and students from the Steinhardt drama therapy program. Its goal is to define and explore in dramatic format the interrelation between public and private terror, causes and collateral damage of both kinds, and approaches to therapeutic treatment. Behind the Doors is written by Eric Bernat (Bend, Drift) in collaboration with cast members, and directed by Heidi Landis, registered drama therapist and associate director of Creative Alternatives of New York (CANY).

“The old adage that ‘hurt people hurt people’ is supported by existing research showing a strong correlation between terror at home and public acts of terrorism, with 16% of mass shooters having been previously charged with domestic violence and 57% of these cases including a spouse, former spouse, or other family member,” said Maria Hodermarska, acting director of the Drama Therapy Program. “Behind the Doors is designed to dig deeper into this theme of terror in both the most intimate of spaces, the home, as well as the socio-political world.”

Behind the Doors is the latest performance project in Drama Therapy’s “As Performance” therapeutic theater series, which has previously grappled with the themes of borderline personality disorder, disability, and bullying. The show’s ensemble is comprised of drama therapists, students, social workers and artists who have identified as having experienced terror in the home or the world.

The decision to build this year’s As Performance show around the concept of terrorism was the outgrowth of a relationship formed between Hodermarska and Landis at Project Common Bond, an international symposium for young people who have lost a family member to an act of terror, armed conflict, or interreligious conflict. Their goal for Behind the Doors is to develop more effective drama therapy techniques to help treat this population.

“In keeping with the mission of drama therapy, artists are using theater to shift their narrative and allow for growth and transformation for themselves and those who witness,” said Landis. “Therapeutic theater performance deploys metaphor, story, and group process, compelling the cast and playwright to weave experiences into an exploration of what happens behind closed doors, as well as what happens when we open them or chose not to.”

Behind The Doors' three-month engagement of therapeutic rehearsals culminates in four public performances:

Thursday, November 10, 8 p.m.
Friday, November 11, 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 12, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 13 at 2 p.m.

Behind the Doors is produced by NYU Drama Therapy Program at Steinhardt, through a grant from The Billy Rose Foundation.

Provincetown Playhouse is located at 133 MacDougal Street in Manhattan. Admission is: $15, $5 for students & seniors. For tickets, contact NYU Ticket Central online, or by phone at 212-352 3101.

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