One-man play explores the effect of schizophrenia

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:35

    NEWTON — Nationally acclaimed poet/playwright/performer Michael Mack will be on tour for NAMI New Jersey this October, performing his one-man autobiographical play “Hearing Voices (Speaking in Tongues)” about growing up with a mother who suffered from schizophrenia. The Sussex County affiliate of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has been selected to host the northern Jersey performance of Mack’s tour, which will be held Sunday, Oct. 16, 3 to 5 p.m., at the Newton High School Auditorium in Newton. “Hearing Voices” is actually a compilation of poems Mack wrote to express how his mother’s illness affected him, his three younger siblings and his father, and how they struggled to stay together as a family despite the mother’s confusing and sometimes terrifying swings of mood and behavior. Mack shifts perspective throughout the performance, attempting to share not only his experience as a child, but also the experience of his mother, who passed away ten years ago. “I’ve done something in memory of my mother and in the spirit of my mother to validate her experience,” Mack is quoted as saying in a 2002 Washington Post article. “It’s a devastating illness and there are people who face that challenge and people who opt out.” Michael Mack’s mother battled the illness to the end of her life. Tickets to the Michael Mack performance of “Hearing Voices (Speaking in Tongues)” on Oct. 16 will be sold for $10 as a fundraiser for participating north Jersey NAMI affiliates. Call 973-214-0632 or email for tickets. Tickets will also be available for sale at the door.