By John Krinjak


Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- "Four Legs to Stand On" tells a story many can relate to, but few openly talk about.

It chronicles the journey of a family struggling to deal with their daughter Sam's addiction to prescription opioids. She later graduates to heroin.

The hard-hitting play was all inspired by what was going on in South Kingstown, the hometown of the playwright, Ana Bess Moyer Bell.

While she was in grad school at NYU, overdose deaths--people she knew--started to take off.

"It was 2014 and I was 25. I went to three funerals in a row, and I kind of turned to my friends, and we were all in shock. We should be going to weddings and baby showers and graduations, and we were going to funerals," said Moyer Bell.

People were dying, but no one was talking about why. 

"And ultimately when I became public about my anger and my frustration and my sadness," said Moyer Bell. "People came out of the cracks to tell me their stories. And I thought well now I've got all this content, what do I do with it. Why don't I make a performance about it?"

She founded the nonprofit COAAST to produce the play, and these stories became the real-life building blocks of an onstage family.

Here, a mother fears the worst. She sees the signs her daughter's addiction playing out, but she's not able to confront her. It's not until a tragedy makes it impossible to ignore any longer.

The actors are all local, and all with some connection to the crisis.

"We've had friends of the actors overdose while on tour, and I've found that it is healing and it's a supportive environment for them when they're going through those hard times," said Moyer Bell.

Moyer Bell says the play is all about sparking conversations.

"If you're a parent that's struggling with how do I talk to my kids about drugs, how do I talk to my kids about this really scary opioid epidemic, the performance gives you kind of a jumping-off place," said Moyer Bell.

You can see "Four Legs to Stand On" Monday, February 26th at the Edwards Auditorium in South Kingstown. It starts at 7, and admission is free.

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018