One-Act features a look at mental illness in 1800s

Islander Staff Report

Nellie Bly, played by Alexis Osborn, is brutally scrubbed by nurses Jorja Mangeot, left, and Carley Pool while Ellie Pagel watches as part of the One-Act Production of Nellie. The show will be performed on Dec. at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater and on Dec. 3 at Lincoln High School. Photo by Roger Holsinger

For 10 days, New York World newspaper reporter Nellie Bly saw what life was like for patients who had been committed to an Insane Asylum in New York.

What she witnessed and later reported on revealed the horrors to the entire world.

This story is just as appropriate today as it was in the 1800s as the stigma of mental health is still apparent in the world today, however, what has changed is the way patients are treated in mental health care facilities.

This one-act play, adapted from Bly’s book, “Ten Days in a Madhouse,” and tells the incredible story of how this “girl” reporter forever changed the way the world looks at treatment and housing of those diagnosed with a mental illness.

Since the conclusion of the Fall Musical, 16 cast members, eight crew and three directors have worked nonstop on this year’s one act play, Nellie, by Robby Steltz.

The one act team will compete in district on Dec. 4 at Lincoln High School at 11 a.m. The Senior High team will be competing against seven other schools including Lincoln North Star, Omaha Skutt, Scottsbluff, Lincoln High, Lexington, Waverly and Norfolk.

The cast of the production includes: Alexis Osborn as Nellie Bly; Gage Brockmeier as Dr. Grupe; Carley Pool as Nurse 1; Abi Casarez as Anne Neville; Bella Mora as Mrs. Fox; Olivia Madison as Tille Mayard; Louise is played by Alexa (Black) Tchemaya; Cathrine is played by Kerrigan Jelinek; Bridget: Hannah Madison; Dr. Kinier: Casey Sorensen; Dr. Ingram: Logan Ripp; Peter Hendricks: Alex Weaver; Male Dancer/ Editor: Ethan Andrade; Female Dancer: Haley Wiemers; Assistant Nurse: Jorja Mangeot and Patient is played by Claire Gardner.

The crew includes: Emily Pikop, John Brody Cromer, Orvin Rubio Hernandez, Braylon Bilslend, Ellie Pagel, Emma Haar, Grady Brisnehan and Karina Calmo.

The directors are: Roger Holsinger, Sammantha Hanks and Chloe Holsinger (Student Director).

“This is a very powerful piece and the entire cast has worked every day after school since Nov. 1 to not only memorize their lines but to become their characters,” said Roger Holsinger. “Director Sammantha Hanks and student director Chloe Holsinger have blocked the play and added elements that really help to tell the story of how horrible conditions were in this asylum and how terrible the women were treated.

“Hanks also brought is special fight choreographers to assist in the fight scenes to ensure the safety of the students but still make it look real. Thanks to the efforts of the main character, those abusing the patients were brought to justice and how the world viewed those with ‘mental illness’ was changed for the better,” he added.

A public performance is scheduled for Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater.

Published by gishislander

Journalism/Communications instructor at Grand Island Senior High School in Grand Island, Nebraska

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