PITTSBURG — Don’t be ashamed. Seek help.
A performance by Joplin’s Midwest Regional Ballet will highlight the fear and shame from abuse and mental health issues, while sharing the message of becoming “victorious” after a negative life-changing event.
PSU Campus Victim Advocate Stephanie Spitz, invited MRB to perform another “Black and White Series” this year in the Linda & Lee Scott Performance Hall in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.
The original show, “Black and White Series,” is planned for 6 p.m. Saturday. It explores the fear and shame caused by abuse, addiction, suicide, mental illness, and sexual assault, and was written by MRB Director Kaye Lewis for audience members ages 13 and older.
“I think it’s an incredibly unique and powerful performance that highlights fear and shame within,” Spitz said.
Spitz said the performance is uplifting for individuals who are facing any of the portrayed experiences.
“I thought it was an incredibly refreshing take on violence and mental illness and it’s of a nature that art can express,” she said.
The performance is a “safe way” for the audience to be informed, Spitz said.
The project hits close to home for Lewis, as she is a survivor of abuse, had dealt with her own mental health following, and had people in her life who lost their battle with mental health.
Lewis kept the “secrets” in and began to self-blame, which turned into self-degrading, she said.
“I started turning into a horrible person,” she said. “This had a hold of me way too long, I was turning into a person that I know I’m not, I decided I was going to be a victorious.”
Lewis journaled hers and other’s experience as part of her creative process, and after a brief hold on the project, she finally found the music to go along with the story.
“I wanted it to have realism, but also wanted it to be the victory not having the end product of what normally happens,” she said, adding making the decision to receive help could change their lives.
Throughout the scenes in the ballet, each person has a different path taken to recovery, whether that is spiritual, pamphlets or chatlines.
Following the performance and a brief intermission, Lewis, Spitz, and a mental health professional will hold a discussion panel to unpack the show’s themes. Audience members may pick up resources in the lobby on related topics.  
Spitz said she encourages audience members to view the “What were you wearing?” gallery before the show. The gallery shows stories of sexual assault survivors through various pieces of clothing.
Want to go?
Tickets are on sale now and are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. They may be purchased at the PSU Ticket Office, Room 137 in the Garfield Weede Building, 1701 S. Homer, or by calling 620-235-4796. They also may be purchased at the door.  
Because of the nature of the content portrayed they are issuing a trigger warning.
A percentage of the proceeds will go to the local Children’s Advocacy Center and the Safehouse Crisis Center. Details: 620-235-4831.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.