‘A Shadow That Broke the Light’ by Troy Foundry The­atre

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - For more in­for­ma­tion go to troy­foundrythe­atre.org By Bob Goepfert

TROY, N.Y. >> If it is true that the best art is per­sonal, then “A Shadow That Broke the Light” might turn out to be one of the finer artis­tic ex­pe­ri­ences of the year.

The world pre­miere will be of­fered by Troy Foundry The­atre on Thurs­day even­ing and in a 24-hour marathon 7 p.m. Fri­day to 7 p.m. Satur­day. It is at the Col­lar Works Art Gallery on River Street in Troy.

The piece has been cre­ated by two broth­ers who are at­tempt­ing to honor their de­ceased brother by shin­ing a light on the af­flic­tion that caused his death at age 33.

In 2014, Joey DelMar­celle died from a drug over­dose. In the years since, his broth­ers Char­lie and Adam DelMar­celle, have com­mit­ted their art and their en­ergy try­ing to ex­plode the myths that place a stigma on all drug-re­lated deaths.

In the af­ter­math of that sense­less event, the broth­ers – one an ac­tor and play­wright, the other an in­stal­la­tion artist - have dis­cov­ered that there is a pub­lic shame that ac­com­pa­nies a drug-re­lated death.

“There is this at­ti­tude that vic­tims of drugs ‘get what they de­serve,’” says Char­lie, in a re­cent tele­phone in­ter­view. “That couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.”

Both men are re­spected and suc­cess­ful artists in the Philadel­phia area. They also teach at var­i­ous Penn­syl­va­nia col­leges. They both use their artis­tic tal­ents to en­lighten the pub­lic about ad­dic­tion; its causes and its hu­man cost.

They com­pare to­day’s drug epi­demic to the A.I.D.S. cri­sis of the 80s. “Be­fore we can start to stop the epi­demic, we have to get rid of la­bels, myths and mis­in­for­ma­tion,” says Adam”. “A Shadow That Broke the Light,” is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the two men to hu­man­ize those vic­tims.

About his brother, Joey, Adam says, “We had no idea he was us­ing heroin. He was the last per­son you would think of as us­ing drugs. He was ex­tremely well-liked by ev­ery­one, the epit­ome of fit­ness and a per­son who al­ways gave of him­self to oth­ers. He would moon­light at a cri­sis cen­ter at a nearby hospi­tal sev­eral night a week.

“His death didn’t make sense. We had a lot of ques­tions to ask and a lot of things we had to learn.”

In the years since Joey’s pass­ing, Adam and Char­lie have been try­ing to con­vince the pub­lic to look at drug fa­tal­i­ties in a less emo­tional, more ra­tio­nal man­ner. To­wards that end, he’s been trav­el­ling the coun­try in­ter­view­ing peo­ple who lost a loved one to drugs. Char­lie has put the sto­ries into dra­matic form and they are the mus­cle of “A Shadow That Broke the Light.” Joey’s story pro­vides the heart­beat of the piece.

Af­ter speak­ing with and gain­ing the trust of the fam­i­lies, Adam would make what he calls “a big ask.” He would re­quest an ar­ti­cle of cloth­ing that be­longed to the de­ceased. “It was ma­jor,” says Adam. “Of­ten it was the only tan­gi­ble thing peo­ple still had to con­nect them with the per­son they lost.”

Adam would reg­u­larly take the pieces of cloth­ing it to a Texas com­pany who had a process that could con­vert cloth­ing into in­di­vid­ual sheets of pa­per.

Af­ter each of Char­lie’s sto­ries, one of those trans­formed sheets will rise and hang about the per­form­ing space. By the end of the show they will sur­round the stage. Com­bined with sen­si­tive light­ing, it will be as if the sub­jects are bear­ing wit­ness to their own sto­ries. By the end of the pre­sen­ta­tion the hope is there will be a ghostly, but tan­gi­ble pres­ence in the room.

The sto­ries will be told in seg­ments last­ing 7 min­utes and 3 sec­onds. It’s no co­in­ci­dence that of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics show some­one in this coun­try dies of an opi­ate or drug over­dose ev­ery 7 min­utes and 3 sec­onds. Adam em­pha­sizes the num­ber of deaths. “197 peo­ple die from drugs ev­ery day. If that isn’t a call to ac­tion, I don’t know what is.”

How­ever, he stresses that while sta­tis­tics are stag­ger­ing, “A Shadow That Broke the Light, isn’t about sta­tis­tics. “In the­ater you have to touch the emo­tions, oth­er­wise it’s a lec­ture. We make the numbers real by telling the sto­ries.”

As for emo­tions, Char­lie sug­gests he might be the most emo­tional per­son in Col­lar Works. “This will be the first time I will speak aloud some of my most pri­vate thoughts. It’s a beau­ti­ful gift to honor my brother and share for the first time the grief that is al­ways with me.”

The event will be pre­sented tonight and Fri­day/ Satur­day at Col­lar Works, an art gallery on River Street in Troy. It is pro­duced by Troy Foundry The­atre. On Fri­day, it will be pre­sented for 24 hours.

There will be short breaks be­tween sets and a per­for­mance sched­ule will be on the Troy Foundry web­site. There is a $15 do­na­tion on Thurs­day, with par­tial pro­ceeds do­nated to lo­cal drug pre­ven­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions. Fri­day to Satur­day, ad­mis­sion is free.

EMILY CURRO PHOTO

Char­lie DelMar­celle in “A Shadow That Broke the Light.”

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