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Playhouse presents ‘Middle School Crohnies’

August 30, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

According to local weather reports, Pine Island received nearly 20 inches of rain between Friday and Sunday, but, "The show must go on," Pine Island Playhouse director Nichole Pichon said.

The play, "Middle School Crohnies," is part of the "Pine Island Playhouse Student Series," and was performed on schedule Saturday with plenty of people in attendance.

The play brings awareness to Crohn's disease. It was written by Nichole Pichon and directed by Lilly Overgbaugh.

Article Photos

Kaylynn Sabella as “Gracie” in the Pine Island Playhouse production of “Middle School Crohnies” Sun-day at Pine Island United Methodist Church


According to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, about 1.4 million Americans have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Of those, about 700,000 have Crohn's.

The disease is described as "an inflammatory bowel disease." It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition ... The inflammation caused by Crohn's disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Crohn's disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.

Overbaugh, aPine Island PILOT (Pine Island Leaders Of Tomorrow) student, suffers from the disease and directed the play.

"Last year, Angela Kerr, a PILOT program student, decided to collaborate with Pine Island Playhouse to direct "EAT: It's Not About Food," Pichon said. "This play focused on bringing more awareness to eating disorders and kicked off the 'Pine Island Playhouse Student Series'. The series is produced by island teens who direct plays that bring awareness concerning various issues they face to the community."

The play"Middle School Chronies" begins with lead character Gracie's first day of middle school and ends two years later at the first day of high school. Gracie is dealing with the issues she faces with Crohn's and the issues every teen faces with adolescence.

Gracie tells the audience about Crohn's disease.

"You may be thinking to yourself, 'what is Crohn's disease?''' Gracie asks. "Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease a condition of the gastrointestinal tract."

She outlines the symptoms, "not just regular tired but really, really tired barely enough energy to get out of bed tired." Abdominal pain: "like a dagger stabbing so much pain."

Depression: "This disease is very isolating."

Weight Loss: "and not the kind you do every summer to be bikini ready, the kind that the doctor tells you if you don't gain weight we'll shove a tube up your nose to feed you."

Throughout the play dealing with the symptoms of Crohn's plus the social stigma of the disease especially among teenagers is emphasized.

"This play is special to Lilly Overbaugh," Pichon said. "Not just because she wants people to know about the disease but because she also wants people to be kinder to one another."

All Pine Island Playhouse performances are offered free to the public. Donations are accepted before and after each performance. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation in Overbaugh's name.

The show was sponsored by El Pollo Rico; Century 21, Jeanette Jones; Team Shevlin Century 21 Sunbelt Realty; Flood Masters Restoration; Little Lilly's Island Deli; and CW Fudge Factory.

The Pine Island Playhouse thanks Pine Island United Methodist Church for its support.



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