One of our students, Edmund Bruyere, had the loveliest words to say about HUGE, we thought we’d share them with you:
What does Minneapolis’ Huge Improv Theater mean to restoring the health of Disabled American Veterans? I know from personal experience that the creative art of improvisation that Huge provided through a monetary scholarship rekindled the air of social competence that was buried deep within my psyche and hidden by major depression. My mental health status prior to joining my group, The Jazz Hands, is associated with service-connected chronic osteoarthritis. Over the course of ten weeks the kind natured non-profit’s generosity, led by actress and comedian, Jill Bernard, reminded me how important it was to socialize, participate in fun activities, and be a human unrestrained by a condition that is now 90% disabling.
It is important that I highlight Huge’s role in restoring the health of a disabled American Veteran because many of our sisters and brothers are, or have returned, from the heavy burden of combat without knowing that they have a support system ready to nurture their mind, body and spirits as close as possible to the state they were prior to being deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Huge’s curriculum reinforces the vital nature of acceptance and comradery. The physical venue, one which is still in dire need of upgrades, is prepared to accept the stage presence of veterans who may be wheel chair bound. But the magnitude of the role of improvisation to healing the unseen wounds and scars of combat is a task that will prove to be invaluable.
Our brothers and sisters need the support from community organizations like the Huge Improv Theater to become empowered to overcome many of the symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder. Current levels of symptomatology reflect war traumas which left untreated will have devastating effects personally and communally. Acting through improvisation will help veterans modulate deleterious unrecognized emotions such as major depression and anger. Once reconnected within a community of caring, such as that found within Huge, expression of emotions over time will spark a joyful psychological cohesion again. Interactions with peers and other caring adults will facilitate regaining the self-efficacy needed to take control of life again. I want to thank the leadership at the Huge Improv Theater for extending their caring hands and providing a platform for nurturing my mental health and social competence. I encourage other veterans to reach out to Jill Bernard and her staff for support.