By Walter Rutledge
After a successful two-day run in the spring of 2011 Helena D. Lewis’ one woman show, Call Me Crazy: Diary of a Mad Social Worker returns to the Kumble Theater for an unprecedented six performances beginning Friday September 23 through Sunday October 2, 2011. Lewis takes us on the roller coaster ride of comedic highs and surreal lows in her portrayal of a New York City Social Service Provider. The production is part fiction, part reality and one hundred percent pure entertainment.
“These are the crazy stories that social workers probably sit around with their peers and talk about, but now I’m telling the whole world,” explains Lewis. The story takes an unexpected twist when the already overworked Lewis’ workload is increased. Lewis suffers a nervous breakdown and is committed for observation in a psychiatric ward.
While restrained in a fashionable white straightjacket Lewis begins to formulate a plan for her escape, making the audience her accomplice and her conscience. Within the all too short span of seventy minutes twenty-five different characters (yes twenty-five!) emerge. The ensuing madness is both comedic and poignant recalling many of her real life experiences; running a drop-in center for prostitutes, providing services for HIV positive male inmates, and working with staff members who sometimes need more help than the clients. “We get paid the least amount to deal with the most important commodity in the world—human life,” professes Lewis.
Call Me Crazy: Diary of a Mad Social Worker was Festival Pick at the 2010 Washington, DC Black Theater Festival. In addition to her success as a playwright Lewis has authored a book of poetry entitled From the Gut. She has been a member of the Nuyorican Poets Café 2000, National Slam Team and has performed with various groups including Nubian Expressions, Uninhibited Theater Company and the New Jersey First Wave Slam Team.
The Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts is located on Flatbush Avenue, between DeKalb Avenue and Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Tickets for “Call Me Crazy: Diary of a Mad Social Worker” are $20; $18 for groups of 10 or more and can be purchased online at www.kumbletheater.org or by calling 718.488.1624.