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Redrum at Fort Fringe, 610 L St. NW

Remaining Performances:

Saturday, July 16, at 11 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, at 6 p.m. Friday, July 22, at 8:30 p.m.

They say: “Morphine sees over 50 physicians before being diagnosed with Lyme disease. Her chronic pain is treated with prescription narcotics, to which she becomes addicted. Her battle becomes the survival against disease, addiction, and abusive relationships that come her way.”

Olivia’s Take: While climbing the stairs of Fort Fringe, sounds of pain and paranoia echoed from Redrum. Fearing we were late, my companion and I quickly entered the theater as one very perturbed woman ran out. Taking a seat on the back riser, it wasn’t long before I was submerged in the discomfort she had chosen to avoid.

On the stage before me were four actors of The Morphine Diaries twisted together, screaming their agonies as IV, played by Molly MacKenzie, crept amongst them. Soon the lights dimmed and we were introduced to Cocaine, Ecstasy, Quinidine, and Morphine—rather, the embodied addictions—as each gravely stated, “I will make you an addict.”

The Morphine Diaries follows the story of Morphine (Miranda Rawson), a young woman whose battle with Lyme disease leads to a narcotic addiction. Stuck in an atmosphere of hatred and drug abuse, Morphine begins to rely on her misogynist boyfriend (Aaron Sulkin) and party-obsessed best friend (Brittany Martz). As she visits nearly sixty doctors, joins group therapy, and fights her disease, the two advocate more abuse. It is only with the assistance of Doctor 56 (Richard Meister Chancellor) and IV that Morphine—or Elizabeth, as we come to know—finds the inner strength that wills her to fight.

Presented by the Mason Players at George Mason University and written by April Elizabeth Brassard, The Morphine Diaries dares to present masked truth of addiction—and is successful in doing so. Director Bethany Galyen utilizes her stage beautifully and never once gratuitously presents the violent scenes of rape and drug use. Every action is done with purpose; through all the uncomfortable moments, The Morphine Diaries never banks on shocking their audience. The show is presented tastefully, but recognizes the need to stay true to the causes and outcomes of addiction.

With abuse in every form becoming more rampant, The Morphine Diaries is a must-see. Whether or not you have been affected yourself, you will leave this show with empathy for those who have.

See it if: You appreciate theater with intent.

Skip it if: You’re looking for something light.