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Pine Island Playhouse set to present ‘Middle School Crohnies’ this weekend

By Staff | Mar 27, 2019

This weekend Pine Island Playhouse will present for the second time “Middle School Crohnies,” a play about a local teen suffering from Crohn’s disease.

“We performed this in August of 2017 on the weekend we had a huge rainstorm before Irma,” playhouse artistic director Nichole Pichon said. “Because of the weather, attendance was pretty light and we had several audience members request that we bring the show back so it could continue to bring awareness to Crohn’s disease.”

This original piece was written by Pichon, Pine Island Playhouse’s founder/president.

The play begins with lead character Gracie’s first day of middle school and ends two years later at the first day of high school. Gracie, played by Bella Player, is dealing with the issues she faces with Crohn’s and the issues every teen faces with adolescence.

The play is based loosely on the life of Lilly Overbaugh, a 16-year-old Mariner High School student. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 8 years old. This year, Overbaugh will be directing the show for a second time.

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.

A portion of the donations from the production will go to the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation. All Pine Island Playhouse productions are free to the public with donations being accepted after each performance. Seating is done on a first-come first-served basis with the house opening 30 minutes prior to each performance.

The play will only run one weekend: Friday, March 29, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 30, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 31, at 2 p.m., at Pine Island United Methodist Church, 5701 Pine Island Road, across from the fire station.