*** corrected from an earlier vision due to error in titles
When the COVID-19 lockdown began, a call was placed to Michael Kamenir, Beit T’Shuvah’s Director of Creative Projects and Freedom Song director, in hopes that he could create a digital version of the stage play. Michael promptly called his long-time friend and original creator of Freedom Song, Stuart K. Robinson. After discussing the possibilities of the play, it dawned on them that they needed to create something new, something that spoke to this difficult time we are all living through. That is how Escape Room was born.
Escape Room is the story of a group of addicts who come together during a pandemic to feel less isolated and alone. Sound familiar? Stuart K. Robinson, the creator of Freedom Song and the writer behind Escape Room, put it best when he said, “Escape Room is a musical drama exploring the challenges of maintaining sobriety amidst a pandemic. Freedom Song was a story of the devastation of addiction while Escape Room is about recovery.”
After learning from the beautiful process of rehearsing and performing Freedom Song, they realized that for this show, more than most, the process was just as important as the product. This resulted in six weeks of group therapy sessions, where the cast discussed their problems surrounding addiction, death, and COVID restrictions in order to determine the best direction to take this production. They brought current residents, staff, and alumni into the cast because right now, more than ever, they all need to feel the warmth of community. “It was collaboration in isolation,” says Jessica Fishel, Freedom Song Coordinator, Escape Room Coordinator, and Assistant Director of Partners in Prevention at Beit T’Shuvah.
There is no doubt in any of our minds that, the most difficult part of all of this has been the isolation, and Escape Room sets out to tackle that. In the words of BTS Rabbi Joseph Shamash, “We are isolated. How do we connect? Harriet talks about how even the healers are struggling right now. So, how do we reach out and heal together?”
The opportunity that Escape Room provides is the concept of going through this process together.” During this time, it is very important to remember that even though you cannot walk through the doors of 8831 Venice Blvd, you are still very much a part of this community. Escape Room is a bright and shining example of that.
Escape Room… coming soon to a computer near you.