Junior Jesús Martinez is playwright & director of “Far From Normal” Jan. 26-29 Junior Jesús Martinez is playwright & director of “Far From Normal” Jan. 26-29

North Central News

Junior Jesús Martinez is playwright & director of “Far From Normal” Jan. 26-29


Jan 18, 2017

“Recovery is not a linear path,” says North Central College junior Jesús Martinez regarding his upcoming original production “Far From Normal.” Written and directed by Martinez, the drama tackles the debilitating stigma of mental illness and will be staged at North Central Jan. 26-29.

The play centers on a Latino teen named Jesús, who battles with an eating disorder personified as “Ed.” After an intervention from his family and school staff, Jesús is admitted as an inpatient into a behavioral health hospital’s eating disorder program. As he undergoes treatment, he creates bonds with patients of similar traumas who, despite their differences, assist one another for the sake of a common goal: recovery from mental illness.

Martinez was inspired to write “Far From Normal” after witnessing the stigma associated with mental illness at his high school, where his own friends suffered with mental disorders. 

“With the rising diagnoses of mental illness among our nation’s population, it’s important to recognize that despite these mental illnesses, people who struggle with illness are just that—people,” says Martinez.

In “Far From Normal,” Martinez separates illness from the identities of his characters in an attempt to destigmatize the lives of those who suffer from disorders. Through a cast of nuanced characters, Martinez hopes that patrons will leave the theatre with changed perspectives of people who live and battle with mental illness daily.

“Recovery doesn’t happen before or after discharge from a mental health program,” says Martinez. “It’s a constant battle, filled with ups and downs, where some days are easier than others. This story showcases an example of that battle.”

This play is part of North Central’s Student Directed Series. Members of the theatre faculty invite students to submit a proposal to direct their own theatrical productions and only the best are chosen. Martinez’s is one of three selected for the year.

Four performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26-28 and at 2 p.m. Jan. 29 in the College’s theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St. Tickets are $5/adults and $3/students and senior citizens; call 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.   

The cast for “Far From Normal” is (role, name, town, year, major):

Raul, Instructor: Ricardo Castro of Round Lake Beach, a junior majoring in theatre
Maria: Kat Davis of O’Fallon, Mo., a junior majoring in theatre and sociology/criminal justice
Goldman, Judy: Rachel Mecca Davis of Westmont, a sophomore majoring in political science and broadcast communication
Sam, Melody: Laura Dougherty of Winnebago, a sophomore majoring in interactive media studies/graphic arts
Tracy: Tegan Follis of Lincoln, a senior majoring in theatre
Ed: Reagan of Naperville, a junior majoring in psychology
Cynthia, Taylor: Erin Huggins of Aurora, a sophomore majoring in theatre and organizational communication
Hannah: Miranda Keating of Sun Prairie, Wis., a freshman majoring in musical theatre and theatre
Interpreter: Andrea Lares of Plainfield, a freshman majoring in English writing and theatre
Zoey: Samantha Loveland of Montgomery, a sophomore majoring in English and organizational communication
Martin, Rick: Matt Lusa of Orland Park, a sophomore majoring in theatre
Crawford, Curt, Santa: Brian McLeod of Addison, a senior majoring in theatre
Chloe, Megan: Marissa Olavarria of Chicago, a freshman majoring in musical theatre
Jesús: Alexander James Poe of Thousand Oaks, Calif., a sophomore majoring in theatre and theatre technology & design
Karina, Rey: Shelby Slager of Elgin, a freshman majoring in theatre
Lucas: Tommy Varela of Ketchikan, Ark., a sophomore majoring in journalism and interactive media studies

The crew is (role, name, town, year, major):

Director: Jesús Martinez of Aurora, a junior majoring in psychology and theatre
Assistant director: Lexii Gravis of Montgomery, a sophomore majoring in musical theatre and organizational communication
Stage manager: Liz Miller of Alton, a junior majoring in theatre and theatrical design and technology
Assistant stage manager: Tyler Meyers of Elmwood, a sophomore majoring in theatre and speech communication
Design mentor: Ruby Lowe of Aurora, a junior majoring in theatrical design and technology
Movement coach: Laura Ebsworth of Jarrettsville, Md., a senior majoring in musical theatre
Lighting designer: Stacey Adams of Plainfield, a junior majoring in musical theatre and theatre
Sound designer: Karina Reitz of Groton, Conn., a senior majoring in interactive media studies/graphic arts
Music composer: Tanner Cassidy of Aurora, a junior majoring in instrumental music education and secondary education
Costume designer: Emily Fritz of Medinah, a freshman majoring in English and secondary education
Publicity: DJ Wohead of Lemont, a junior majoring in interactive media studies/graphic arts

This upcoming performance is among many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. North Central offers a variety of venues accommodating a rich range of local and world-class events, performances and space needs for the public. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical and dance productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit northcentralcollege.edu/show.

Photo, from left: Miranda Keating as Hannah, Ricardo Castro as Raul, Rachel Mecca Davis as Judy, Alex Poe as Jesús, Samantha Loveland as Zoey, Marissa Olavarria as Chloe, Megan