Aerheart (Kansas City Aerial Arts’ professional performance company) presents n0rmal, a new creation by writer and director Kelsey Aicher (winner of “Best Show” KC Fringe Fest 2018 and 2019). 

n0rmal explores the dark reality of common mental disorders and risk factors that lead to suicide, while incorporating pop music and mesmerizing circus arts, in an effort to talk about this silent epidemic. By initiating the conversation through an entertaining presentation, n0rmal aims to make talking about mental illness, well, normal.

Originating from Aicher’s own struggles with depression and self-harm, n0rmal has grown to include the lived experiences of her fellow performers. From substance use disorder to dealing with the loss of a friend to complete suicide, n0rmal weaves individual stories into a tapestry of national mental illness. In the show, aerialists fight their way through anxiety, acrobats succumb to self-hatred, and dancers pretend as though nothing is wrong.

An artist’s movement can serve as a distraction or it can be the means to communicate. The performers of n0rmal choose to communicate in hope that it will make finding the courage to say, “I am not okay,” a little easier.

Trigger/Content Warning: While this show contains no props or life-like portrayals of harm, the presented content may be disturbing to certain audience members. Subjects represented include mental illness, substance use disorder, self-harm, suicide, gun violence, and death. Audience members will be permitted to leave during the show should they feel uncomfortable. Mental health comes first.

Aerheart would also like your help supporting local mental health

Kansas City Black Mental Health Initiative (KCBMHI), founded by Cecil Wattree in 2019, exists to address the fact that “Black Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population, yet only one in three Black adults who need mental health services actually receives them.”

“The Black community struggles with poverty, systemic racism, and violence perpetrated on and within daily living. Other barriers of stigmatization and lack of resources for mental health contribute to [their] disparities.” But KCBMHI provides support to Black communities, Black mental health professionals, and Black students interested in the mental health field to understand psychology and sociology through a Black lens and to implement the mental health practices that best care for Black people.

“Our [overall] goal is to mentally liberate the Black Community by creating a revolution to promote, de-stigmatize, and bring awareness to Black mental wellness in the KC Metro Area.”

Cecil Wattree, Kansas City Black Mental Health Initiative

As art lovers, let us always remember that the art that inspires us today was appropriated from Black culture and, therefore, strive to love Black people as much as we love Black art. We can work toward this today by financially contributing to KCBMHI’s Black Therapy Initiative. Black Therapy Initiative aims to provide four sessions of therapy for fifteen Black candidates (ages 15+).

Show Dates and Times: 11/18 @ 7p, 11/19 @ 7p, 11/20 @ 7p, and 11/21 @ 2p

Tickets can be found at kansascityaerialrts.com

More info here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/donations-for-kcbmhi and /a>

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Photo by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash

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