CBC explores ADHD in 'Distracted'

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerFebruary 1, 2013 

What is wrong with that kid? He can't sit still, he's loud, obnoxious, mouthy and totally dysfunctional.

Anyone who has raised or is raising a child with ADHD won't want to miss Columbia Basin College's next production titled Distracted.

It follows the frustrations and anxieties of a family dealing with a 9-year-old child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

But even if you're a laid back kind of person unfamiliar with the condition, watching this play will be as entertaining as it is educational because it was written to bring out the humor of such situations as well as the poignant side of dealing with it.

"This is a play that I believe is very accessible to most people," said director John Tuttle. "ADHD has become such a household name in our society and almost everyone has some experience with the disorder."

But Distracted is also about how ADHD affects individuals, families, a community. It explores all aspects of the disorder as well as other behavioral diagnoses, he added.

"There are many views about the best way to treat kids with behavior issues," Tuttle said. "I think this play does a great job of presenting all sides equally and letting the audience decide for themselves what to think."

Kyla Haren, 22, plays the mother with an adolescent son who suffers from ADHD. Haren doesn't have any children, so to prepare herself for the role of a distraught parent, she forced herself to feel anxious all the time.

"John (Tuttle) and I did a lot of rigorous exercises to make all the actors, including myself, feel stressed and anxious," Haren said. "And even though I don't have any children, I do know a lot of people who struggle with children who have (ADHD)."

Haren's real life nephew, Gavinn Purser, 9, will portray her son in the play. Throughout the majority of the show, you never see the kid, only hear his voice off stage becoming angrier and louder as the family dilemma escalates. He finally steps into the spotlight toward the end.

"This play is not preachy or overly serious," Tuttle said. "By maintaining a sense of humor, the playwright allows us to explore this complex subject without feeling as if we are at a medical symposium."

He chose this play for CBC because he believes the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral issues in the country needs to be re-examined and rethought, Tuttle added.

"I also chose this play because I believed that the students at CBC could really relate to the issues that are presented," he said. "This show moves at an incredibly quick pace with a ton of different characters and a lot of information."

Also playing key roles in the play are James Callaghan as the dad, Brittney Case as Natalie, Matthew Reinemann as Vernon, Laura Knittle as Sherry and Sean Lytton as Dr. Zavala.

Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7-9 in the CBC theater on the Pasco campus. There also will be a 2 p.m. matinee Feb. 10. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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