Heroin Project: Howland grad produces play on her hometown’s epidemic

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Howland graduate now attending Kent State has written a play centered around the heroin crisis.

Tuesday afternoon, the Youngstown Playhouse held auditions for actors looking to take part in “Independent: The Heroin Project.”

It’s the brainchild of 20-year-old Emelia Sherin.

“I thought, ‘Why not create something here in Northeastern Ohio to notify a problem, to help educate the public on this situation?'” she said.

The play is centered around Ryan and Emily, who meet at Narcotics Anonymous. He’s been clean three years and she’s trying to get there. Ryan relapses and is confronted by his girlfriend, Ann.

Austintown’s Grace Offerdahl auditioned for the part of heroin. Yes, the writers of the play made the drug a character.

“Theater is something people can be interested in and they go to enjoy it, but this is also something where you can enjoy the performance but you’re also going to learn something,” Offerdahl said.

Sherin said they personified heroin as a vixen and temptress.

“I felt that maybe a theatrical project was just right for the moment with this epidemic,” said Jim McClellan, executive director of the Youngstown Playhouse.

“Independent: The Heroin Project” will be performed at the Akron Civic Theater on August 4 and 5. So if it’s being staged in Akron, why audition in Youngstown?

“It’s my home,” Sherin said. “We also auditioned in the Akron and Kent area. I want to try and incorporate as many Northeast Ohio actors and actresses as much as possible.”

She said she hopes to also book the play at the Youngstown Playhouse, though no date has been set.

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