With her mother suffering from depression, mental health issues were a daily part of LaDonna Carpenter’s life growing up.
So when Carpenter heard Dakota Stage Ltd. was going to perform the musical “Next to Normal,” a production about a woman who suffers from bipolar disorder and the effects of that on her family, she knew it was a chance to play a very meaningful role. Carpenter is a Basin Electric Exchange/Sharepoint administrator I.
“The mental health aspect really spoke to me,” Carpenter says. “I had been in the daughter’s position before – I had a good understanding of what she was going through.”
Carpenter, a voice major in college, was chosen for the role of Diana, the woman with bipolar disorder. The role put her in her mother’s shoes.
“It’s been very interesting for me to play from the mother’s side of it,” she says.
After several performances last week, the production wraps up with shows at 7:30 p.m. March 24-26 at Dakota Stage in Bismarck, ND.
Carpenter hopes it spreads a very important message.
“It’s still prevalent in our society that people don’t like to talk about it (mental health issues),” Carpenter says. “Even 20-30 years after some of these diseases and illness were recognized it’s still something that people just aren’t comfortable talking about.”
Hear more about the production and Carpenter’s connection to the show: Basin Electric employee hoping theater production spreads important message