Mundie Moms

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Flirting with the Monster: A Review of Ellen Hopkins' CRANK play + Giveaway of SMOKE

Post-show Q & A. Back row: "Flirting with the Monster" cast. Front row: two addiction specialists,  Ellen Hopkins and director, Holly Natwora 

It's a rare thing when my husband comes home and is excited about a YA book I love. I know, Mundie Moms, miracles do come true! One day last week, he came home all excited about a play called "Flirting with the Monster" and he wanted to see it because it was an incredibly honest depiction of teenage addiction. Little did he know that I already planned to take him to this play. You see I've been watching Ellen Hopkins' tweets about adapting her New York Times best-selling book, CRANK, into a play, and I knew that it was debuting in our biggest, little city in the world, Reno, this January/February.

We went to the play this weekend, and we both kept over-using the word "powerful" to describe it. As parents to a freshman in high school, we both felt that it's a must-see for all 15-year-old or older kids and their parents. I know that we are not alone in thinking about our children's safety, especially since the world has changed so much since we were in high school (when incidentally drugs were already readily available). I promise you that this play will open your eyes even more on this subject and it will definitely make you think.

There were two haunting lines that struck through both of our hearts: "Doesn't everyone party?" and "Everyone tells me to slow down, but no one tells me how." Those words resonated with us, and they still haunt us. 

I want to give huge props to Ellen for adapting her novel into a stage play, and the director, Holly Natwora,  for choosing an incredibly gifted cast as well as staging an adaptation that kept the momentum going seamlessly. The actor who plays Kristina, Hannah Davis, is an incredible artist. She delivers us Kristina in her innocent, sweet, coy, desperate, pleading, heartbreaking moments. And she is so talented that she pulls the audience through the full spectrum of those emotions.

I cannot praise this adaptation enough. If you can make it to Reno this weekend, you can still catch it. Here's the direct link to dates, times and ticket information. If you can't make it, don't worry. I asked Ellen and she said there will be a few more performances this summer, and this time they will be in Carson City, NV. These performances will be fund-raisers for Ellen's non-profit organization,Ventana Sierra (webpage twitter | Facebook), which provides youth, who have aged out of the foster care system, with safe housing, food, medical care and further education. Ellen also let me know that these performances will be filmed, edited and then available for download. So eventually everyone will be able to view this, yes, powerful play. 

In the mean time and to tie you over until the download is available, I managed to snag two copies of Ellen's latest book, SMOKE (Burned #2). And guess what? She signed them for you! So enter away, Mundie Moms (the giveaway is open to international entries)! 

Here's the synopsis of SMOKE (buy at amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound):
Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated. Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life, but is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?

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