“Dirt” A One Man Show of Substance Abuse and Choices,” is the most realistic and potentially life-changing presentation I’ve seen in over 30 years of working in the field of prevention and wellness and substance abuse.

“Dirt” A One Man Show of Substance Abuse and Choices,” is the most realistic and potentially life-changing presentation I’ve seen in over 30 years of working in the field of prevention and wellness and substance abuse.
Created and performed by actor, comedian and educator, John Morello, the drama was first presented here in 2006, at which time I remember thinking, “My God this is powerful. I have to find a way to get him back – and get more area townspeople and students to witness it.”
The show, which is co-sponsored by PSU’s Gorillas In Your Midst and the Southeast Kansas Regional Prevention Center at Greenbush returns to the Pitt State campus February 11th at 7:30 p.m. in McCray Hall. Admission if free.
Since he began performing it in late 2001, “Dirt” has become so popular that Morello is on the road for more than 100 days a year, coast to coast and in Canada, in city, suburban and rural schools, churches and synagogues. He is summoned to Midwestern towns where crystal meth is a scourge, to Southern cities losing children to OxyContin and teenage binge drinking.
What I love most about the presentation is that it doesn’t depict substance abuse – or abusers - as one-dimensional. The stoner may also be the kid who stands up for the girl getting tormented in the lunchroom.  The hardworking father, who’s upset with his substance abusing son, is addicted to work at the family’s expense. It shows the current choices and consequences that young people and their families face with honesty, compassion, and understanding.
Plus it’s great theater.
Morello has a B.A. in Theatre Arts has been on stage for 15 years. “DIRT” connects with students, their families, and educators by depicting real characters. The one-hour show is not just for students in middle school, high school and college, but also for adults of all ages. His characters provide a mirror for the entire audience to see themselves and the choices they make on a daily basis.
He also makes his audience laugh. Some of his segments and characters include: A W.W.II Veteran reflecting on his choices in battle and sacrifices for the present generation; a teenage girl who drinks socially; a poetry festival gone hilariously wrong; and “Voices from the dirt” telling of their struggles being and loving an addict.
“I won’t dumb it down,” he told New York Times reporter Gerri Hershey after relating a story about Cherry Hill, N.J. parents being upset with his take-no-prisoners approach. “These kids are way too smart to disrespect that way. ”
Mr. Morello comes by his truth honestly. The day after his 12th birthday, his oldest brother, Henry, then 20, died in a drunken driving accident. His other brother, Glenn, “the one who slept in the top bunk and broke my Hungry Hungry Hippos game” became a heroin addict and after many rehabs and two years of sobriety, bought a bag of heroin, overdosed and died alone on Jan. 30, 2003.
Video clips and more information on Morello’s show can be found on the Internet at www.johnmorello.com.