In Distracted, audiences are drawn into the struggles of the parents of Jesse (CJ Aaronson), a nine-year-old child affected by ADHD. This witty and cutting journey plays with the “fourth wall” and brings the audience into the story by only identifying the parents as Mama (Dana Cordelia Morgan) and Dad (Jeff Clarke). Much of the play leaves the audience wondering who this kid is, since Jesse is mainly known through his loud, sometimes even vulgar, voice that amplifies the universal tension of love and exhaustion that is parenting.

Throughout the course of human history, one of the primary constants is this: a parent will do anything to help their child. What separates parents in the 21st century from their predecessors is that the amount of information (and disinformation) available to parents today purporting to help kids has grown at an exponential rate, to the point that if parents think their child is in pain, there are so many voices speaking with such equitable authority that they can feel paralyzed about where the starting point is.

Lisa Loomer wrote Distracted a little over a decade ago when the ADHD phenomenon was a burgeoning facet of American society. In 2018, the amount of diagnosed ADHD cases has grown considerably, along with the theories, strategies, and medicines designed to control or curb those cases. In an over-medicated country where doctors and pharmaceutical companies promise a pill for any ailment (physical or mental), there is no shortage of experts assuring that their special stratagems are the key to controlling the ADHD-affected child. Like it does for Mama, the audience’s everywoman touchstone, it can feel like being in the eye of a hurricane made up of promises and information.

Loomer explores the full spectrum of theories and philosophies surrounding ADHD, and thankfully (and, for some perhaps, frustratingly) doesn’t supply the answer that Mama so desperately seeks. However, this much is clear: No matter what is championed by doctors, teachers, and neighbors, parents need to know and try to understand their kids if they are going to be able to help them.

–Jeff Clarke, Associate Artistic Director

Distracted will run April 12–May 6, 2018, at Bus Barn Theater (in the Hillview Community Center at 97 Hillview Ave, Los Altos, CA 94022). Get tickets and find more information.

Distracted is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (440 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016).

Los Altos Stage Company

The mission of the Los Altos Stage Company is to present theater that celebrates the rich diversity of American art and culture, to foster an enduring commitment to the performing arts and artists, and to serve as a welcoming and creative gathering space for the community.

Los Altos Stage Company is a quintessential neighborhood playhouse. Each season, the company strives to bring together a diversity of theater practitioners, enthusiasts, and supporters to create and explore American musicals, comedies, and dramas—balancing work that entertains, engages, provokes, and inspires audiences. Leveraging the special nature of the intimate Bus Barn Theater, Los Altos Stage believes in building deep connections between artist and audience, in offering high production values, and in creating an audience experience that is warm, welcoming, and personal.

Los Altos Stage Company plays an essential role in the community by creating and presenting live theater in Los Altos, serving as a cultural hub for local residents, and inspiring a passion for the performing arts in current and future generations. By fostering a deep commitment and connection to the performing arts locally, Los Altos Stage seeks to advance a more vibrant cultural community throughout the region. Since its inception, the Los Altos Stage Company has produced more than 125 productions.

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