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'Nap the Play,' which takes aim at teen suicide, comes to Kansas City

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 20:02:06-04

SPRING HILL, Kan. — Lauren Sage Browning is an actress, director, writer and Kansas City area native.

She is using her platform to spread awareness about the nationwide epidemic of teen suicide.

"I grew up in the Overland Park School District, and I think as everybody knows there is a teen-suicide epidemic," Browning said. "Everyone has a connection unfortunately, not even a six-degree separation to knowing someone."

Browning wrote a play about suicide called "I Could Take a Nap, But Killing Myself Would Be More Productive." The shortened title is "Nap the Play."

"I think when theater is done in a conscious way and in a mindful way, it uses that agency and that power to tell the story that needs to be heard and give voice to a silenced community," Browning said.

The play focuses on a suicidal teen named Sophia. Audiences get to dive into her diary and see her daily struggles.

Nathan Harrell knows the horrors of teen suicide all too well.

"June 12, 2017, our 17-year-old son Chad, without any warning, took his own life," Harrell said.

Along with his wife, Sylvia, the Harrells have made it their mission to help teens through the Keep the Spark Alive Foundation as well as bringing "Nap the Play" to Kansas City

"I love the message and I love the medium, so when you combine what I believe is a very different perspective than what we as a community and as parents and as children have seen in the suicide world," Nathan said.

He believes "Nap the Play" will change lives.

"I wish I had seen this story two and a half years ago," Nathan said. "It would have changed the way that I viewed things that I thought were teenage things, stresses and pressures, and make you really see how difficult it is being a teen today."

The cast will begin performing "Nap the Play" locally at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Spring Hill Middle School. It's also part of the Kansas City Fringe Festival.

Tickets and a complete list of additional performances in the Kansas City area are available online.

"Nap the Play" will head to Boulder, Colorado, and Chicago next month.