Beneath the Skin
About the Show:
A new musical addresses the stigma of mental illness through the story of a young woman’s struggle as she climbs up and over the obstacles of acceptance, identity,of her community, while dealing with her mental illness.
Cynthia, a freshman music major, struggles with depression and self-injury. Haunted by the voices in her head that remind her of all of the things that are wrong with her, every day is a battle. Thankfully, her girlfriend Pamela convinces tmid Cynthia to join the college choir to show off her voice. Cynthia becomes wildly popular. A over a series of events, Cynthia struggles deeply with her self-injurious behavior and finds herself in the Wellvue Inpatient Mental Health Facility. Through her story we meet characters that are based on real life people and their story as they fight their battle with mental illness and find their way towards recovery. The audience is navigated through a journey of candid introspection as Cynthia works her way toward recovery while trying to mediate her identity in the LGBTQ+ community and her conservative christian culture. The realistic, raw, and honest storytelling is paired with a beautiful original musical score as we get to see the voices inside her head and the feelings within.
Audience members should note that the content in this project contain material not suitable for young audiences parental guidance is advised. The show also contains sensitive material that may be upsetting for audiences so a trigger warning for depression, self-harm, suicide, abuse, and strong language is being presented, please use your best judgement.
When and Where:
Beneath the Skin opens March 28 and runs through March 31 at
The Meetinghouse at Codman Square, 600 Washington Street, Dorchester, Boston, MA.
Show times and dates are
Thursday, March 28 at 7:30pm,
Friday, March 29 at 7:30pm,
March 30 at 3:30pm and 7:30pm,
and Sunday March 31 at 3:30pm.
The 3:30pm Shows will feature a talkback.
Doors are a half hour before curtain.
The Meetinghouse is a historical building and is not ADA accessible, patrons will have to utilize stairs to get to the space. The campus of the Meetinghouse is tobacco, alcohol, and substance free.
Meet the Cast
Shekeirra Perryman, (Kate), is am a home grown Boston native, educated through the city's finest public institutions, and raised in a biracial, bipartisan, multinational home. She enjoyed musical performances in her youth, singing in chior and playing the recorder in Glee Club. Her novice artistry gained further momentum during adolescence when she began journaling a book of poems and then performing selected pieces at public open mic events. It has long been a goal of to act and this is her first ever endeavor.
"This play's importance resonates with me because of my own struggles with obtaining and maintaining ideal mental health. It is an key topic that more people need to offer serious consideration to and all people benefit learning about. I hope the audience takes away new perspective and understanding as well as an interest in further education and renewed compassion. "
The Creative Team
Michael-John Amaral, (Director, Producer, Musical Direction) is an Educator, performer, musician and performing artist. His training studying at Westfield State, Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) , (BA), and Gordon College, (MM, Ed.) is paired with notable extensive experience. As an active member in the music, theatre, and creative arts & education in Greater Boston, he works in the public schools K-12 as a music and movement teacher and curriculum consultant. He has a vested philosophy in education that fuels his passion for sharing the creative arts with people of all ages and levels to show the power of the arts to transform the world around us and the people in it. Recent highlighted theatrical credits include Beauty and the Beast, Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat, (Eastern Nazarene College) Phantom of the Disco, Wicked Mean Gurlz, IRNE nomiated Sweeney Todd (Heart and Dagger Productions), Gay Shorts: We Are Family - Open Theatre Project
"What I love about this show is how it presents these characters in a raw realism that shows the honest humanity behind mental illness and how it impacts us and our communities. This story of Cynthia’s, (our main character), climb up and over the obstacles of acceptance, identity, mental illness, and rejection of her community is so much more than the average musical. It is a whole experience that ends with the realization it’s okay that we have hills, it’s okay, and we’re not alone.
I hope that our work becomes a catalyst for hope, help, and support. I hope that we create a cause for dialogue in our circles of influence. I hope each person leaves our show knowing their voice is heard. There’s a line in the show that sums up our message: ‘we are people, we are stories, we’re survivors, we’re one.”
Athena Horton, (Creator, Editor) is the original producer of Beneath the Skin which workshopped in Boston in December of 2016. She has since founded Bodhi Theatre whose mission is to tell the stories of marginalized people by producing new works of theatre for social justice. Bodhi Theatre is located in Kansas City, Missouri where Athena most recently produced Mirrors, a newly devised play addressing eating disorders. She has several years’ experience acting, teaching, costume designing, and producing. Athena is excited to see the newest iteration of her story come to life yet again, on a Boston stage.
"Beneath the Skin is the project that changed the trajectory of my theatrical career. One morning I had the realization that I wanted to tell my story through theatre, and I poured everything into making it come to fruition. I raised money to pay a writer and composer to devise the work, and we worked tirelessly to get the piece to where it is now. After the initial workshop of the show, I revisited the script, and am left with the final version that Pariah Theatre Company will perform. Beneath the Skin is not only based on my journey, but the journeys of three other very real individuals. We see their stories played out in the life of Janice: a non-combat military veteran with PTSD, Bryce: a young man with Bipolar I Disorder, and Joshua: a teenage boy battling anorexia. Not only was Beneath the Skin healing to me, I hope that it can serve the same purpose to those that take part in it, whether they are acting on stage or participating as an audience member. My hope is that people can see themselves, their friend, their sister, their son, on stage; and feel comfort in knowing they are not alone. They are not defined by their diagnosis. It is okay to seek help. "
Acknowledgements: Melissa Carubia, Zareh Artinian, Michael Amaral, Pariah Theatre Company
Melissa Carubia (Composer/Lyricist) is an actor, musical director, teacher, and composer based in the Boston area. She composed the award-winning musical T: An MBTA Musical, and has also published several musicals for children. Her performance credits include Evita (Eva Peron understudy), Ragtime (Emma Goldman), La Cage Aux Folles (Jacqueline), The Little Mermaid (Flotsam), Avenue Q (Bad Idea Bear/Mrs.T), Les Misérables (Ensemble) and Chicago (Hunyak) with the Company Theatre. She regularly performs keytar and vocals with her synth-rock band, Minusworld. Their newest EP, Dancing In the Ashes, is now available on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music. Melissa is the Director of Education for The Company Theatre in Norwell and musical directs all teen and youth productions.
Zareh Artinian, M.F.A., (Book/Playwright) is an experienced editor, writer, and producer of educational products. He is also an experienced author with works published in diverse genres and media, including science fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction works, as well as a novel for young adults. The book for Beneath the Skin is his first full-length musical. Zareh has taught at several colleges, including Emerson College, where he earned his M.F.A. in Creative Writing. He is currently at work on his second full-length musical, an adaptation of one of his published original fairy tales.
Sarah Kifer, (Stage Manger / Production Manager): is a senior at Eastern Nazarene College. She majoring in secondary special education and elementary special education.Sarah has been a production assistant for the Bible Women’s Project, Oklahoma!, Ti-Jean and His Brothers, Tartuffe and All That Jazz!, The Wiz, and A Night of Absurdism. She has previously stage managed for Tartuffe, and the Bible Women’s Project, and A Night of Absurdism. This is her second show she has stage managed for Pariah, including Bible Women’s Project. She would like to thank her family and friends for their support. She is very excited for the performances you are about to see and wants you to enjoy the show!
"My hopes for the audience and the surrounding community is that it will start a dialogue about how we can change the view towards mental illness and other topics raised in the show. I also hope that changes can start in those areas to fully expect those who have previously not been expected."
Allison Nicole Tucker, (Technical Director) sits on the board of Pariah Theatre Company as the Secretary. She is also the Lead Instructor at South Shore School of Theatre. She is a graduate of Eastern Nazarene College and Emerson College where she received her MA in Theatre Education. She is currently working toward her PhD in Education at Lesley University. Allison has been teaching at SSST since 2012. In addition to directing the teen program at SSST she is a set designer and oversees technical training for students. Allison has also been teaching at The Woodward School for Girls and Eastern Nazarene College since 2016. Allison has acted in several shows in the Boston area including The Bible Women’s Project, ....Or Dreaming, The Bacchae, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Yellow Wallpaper