coming to a library near you!

I AM SO EXCITED! Make Sure It’s Me/nh is almost ready to launch! Our community discussions on Traumatic Brain Injury began in fall 2012 with two early workshop readings from Kate Wenner’s play, Make Sure It’s Me. Now, in advance of our full production of the play this coming June, our Library Presentation series begins on March 18th at the Portsmouth Public Library. I’ll be joined there by MSIM/nh cast member US Army Sgt. Conan Marchi (ret.) and Jenny Freeman of the Krempels Center. We’ll be sharing some basic information about the “invisible wounds” experienced by our service members exposed to IED blasts–and how these injuries can be exacerbated by multiple concussions of various kinds or become intertwined with symptoms of PTSD. And we’ll be reading selected scenes from the play that illustrate the effects of TBI on service members and their families.

Jenny and Conan will stick with me for visits to Straham and Hampton. For our forays to Manchester and Nashua, Conan and I will have the company of Lt. Col. Stephanie Riley of the New Hampshire National Guard. For the full schedule of events, please see our updated MSIM page.

I’m also delighted to present an extremely special resource ACT ONE has created for all of our events: the MSIM TBI Fact Sheet. Compiled with assistance from the NH Commission on PTSD & TBI; the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire; The Military-Civilian TBI Collaborative; the Manchester VA; Easter Seals; our state’s Military Transition Assistance Advisor, Lisa Aldridge; Dr. James Whitlock of Northeast Rehab; and NH DHHS Bureau Chief of Community Based Military Programs Jo Moncher, this Fact Sheet will be distributed at every MSIM/nh event thanks to the generous support of the American Red Cross for our first printing of 4000 sheets. The electronic version of the MSIM TBI Fact Sheet is here to be shared and used by all–go ahead, you know you want to share it! But, when you do, please remember that we are getting oodles of them into the hands of military and civilian families this spring because the Red Cross was there when we asked for help. And I must give a special shout-out to Ian Dyer, Emergency Services Director for the NH Region of the ARC, for pushing this project through (and for being an all-around cool guy). How many people can honestly say, “Yes, I secured funding for a theatre outreach project aimed at helping veterans WHILE ALSO RESPONDING TO HURRICANE SANDY”!?!?!?!

So, share the Fact Sheet. Check our event schedule. And then, please join us in support of all our local heroes at the libraries in March and April, and at the West End Studio Theatre in June.


The month of January saw some incredible growth for ACT ONE’s Make Sure It’s Me/nh project, a community discussion about Traumatic Brain Injury in the military. First of all, sponsorships: We closed 2012 with a kickoff donation from the Netland Family Foundation, and this was quickly followed up by generous support from our ACT ONE Circle of Friends. Then, months of work resulted in a major donation through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation! More funding partnerships are in the works to help us bring the best theatre artists on board and lift our production values for the June production at WEST.

Also in January, I began my work with composer Jason Crigler. Oh, this is so much fun! Twice I have met Jason in his home studio to listen and learn as he weaves a haunting soundscape for Make Sure It’s Me. Meshing the sounds of Humvees, explosions, hospital equipment, crunching footprints, and even the a bell-like tone from tapping a fence in Inman Square, Jason’s composition is already firing me up to get into rehearsal and bring the world of this play to life!

I have also continued my collaborative discussions of the Make Sure It’s Me script with playwright and novelist Kate Wenner, who is not only brainy, compassionate, and incredibly energetic–she’s also endlessly cool! My talks with Kate always illuminate her characters in new ways for me, remind me of important messages we want to highlight in our production, and revive my faith in people. Kate, my life is better with you in it!

Casting: I’m delighted to say that we have the show 9/10ths cast and we’re hot on the trail of our final cast member! Among this great crew are three veterans. I’ll look forward to introducing you to the cast in the coming months.

Library presentations: As you may recall, MSIM/nh will include five visits to New Hampshire libraries with a one-hour (free!) presentation of selected scenes from the play interspersed with information about recognizing and coping with TBI. I have assembled a great team to join me at the libraries, including Conan Marchi, SGT, US Army (RET) and Jenny Freeman of the Krempels Center. You can find the full schedule on the MSIM/nh page here.

As you can tell, my Executive Director Stephanie Nugent and I have been busy these past weeks–perhaps our greatest accomplishment is remembering to laugh at least once every day while we tackle all the work involved behind the scenes of this multi-faceted event series! But we continue to be inspired by all the great women and men we’re meeting who serve our community in so many ways. Yes, the road to recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury is hard. But there are so many people standing ready to help!

Stay tuned, and best wishes for your health and happiness as 2013 marches on . . .