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TO MARCH 17
According to films such as The Man With the Golden Arm and Requiem for a Dream (pictured), white people (Frank Sinatra, Jared Leto) are the ones who nobly struggle with the demons of addiction. If Hollywood is reluctant to treat substance abuse among the black community with any degree of thoughtfulness, The Process unabashedly brings those concerns to a Northeast Washington stage. Written, produced, and directed by former addict Kathy Creek-Vann and performed largely by actors in recovery, the play takes a wholeheartedly ecumenical approach to drug abuse, depicting poverty-stricken single mothers alongside strident professionals (Creek-Vann herself was an NIH biochemist before sliding into drug abuse) in vulnerability to drugs. Creek-Vann’s touch is hardly light; the play often feels close to a scare-you-shitless drivers’ ed filmstrip. During the first act’s climactic scene, dark-cloaked devils hover around the action, ready to draw partygoers into abuse. The soundtrack to their fall? War’s “Slippin’ Into Darkness.” After hitting bottom shortly before intermission, the addicted find redemption in the second act, with the help of white-cloaked “Angels of Recovery” and a healthy dose of divine intervention. In its best moments, the play takes on a tent-revival vibe, with impressive gospel-soaked vocal performances overshadowing the melodrama. And though The Process makes its point with a sledgehammer, subtlety isn’t exactly a hallmark of addiction recovery. See for yourself at 7 p.m. Mondays to Monday, March 17, at the H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE. $20. (800) 494-8497. (Mike DeBonis)