Harbor and Pullman explore mental illness with humor in new London play

LONDON, June 23 (Reuters) – ‘Stranger Things’ star David Harbor says his own experiences with mental illness inspired parts of his new London play ‘Mad House,’ a black comedy written by the author acclaimed Theresa Rebeck.

The 47-year-old actor, who recently told Britain’s Big Issue magazine he was institutionalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder aged 26, said his conversations with the American playwright helped shape the script.

“People talk a lot about wanting to have a conversation about mental illness, but I always feel like the discussions are trivial or about how people with mental illness are freaks and I think that it’s neither of those things,” Harbor told Reuters. of a preview performance.

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“I wanted to have a real expression of what it is because I experienced it myself and so she wrote a piece about the pandemic based on a lot of things that I talked about with her. C It’s really his piece but I definitely brought a part of myself to it, so doing it is a very personal expression for me.”

The play stars Harbor opposite veteran theater and Hollywood actor Bill Pullman, who plays a dying family patriarch.

Harbor plays her son and primary caregiver Michael, who has struggled with mental health issues throughout his life.

With the father’s health fragile, Michael’s sister and brother also return home and the ensuing sibling rivalry, underlying trauma and preparation for his death turn the house into a madhouse.

“What I’m really proud of is that it’s been a really messy discussion of all these issues, namely death and palliative care and caring for someone dying and suffering from illness mental,” Harbor said.

“He does it in a very messy way where there’s no right and wrong and you can just go live with those questions and hopefully you come out of the theater with more questions, deeper questions. “

“Mad House” runs at London’s Ambassadors Theater from June 26 to September 4.

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Reporting by Hanna Rantala, editing by William Maclean

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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