Trailer for "Demons and Angels", a documentary full length feature, made by Karl Bardosh in conjunction with Visions Recovery Inc:
One of the theater world’s most unique plays has come to New York on the big screen. ”Visions” has been performed for 20 years on stage, and in homeless shelters, prisons and other non-traditional venues. Most of the performers in these vignettes that deal with addiction, recovery, homelessness, AIDS and other ills are recovering addicts themselves. This documentary about the play is the brainchild of Karl Bardosh, film industry maverick and professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Karl produced and directed this moving and exciting inside look at recovery's most extraordinary theater company.
The Play On
Addiction and Recovery
"Visions" is a powerful play on drug addiction, alcoholism and recovery. The play depicts bottoms from the use and abuse of substances, the "awakening" or realization of the problem and coming into treatment and Twelve Step programs.
"Visions" has reached more than 30,000 people. The "Visions" troupe performs where few actors would ever dare, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, shelters, youth houses and correction centers. The cast and crew set up amidst the cafeterias, beds and conference rooms of treatment centers using the powerful medium of theater to educate about drug/alcohol addiction and show that recovery is possible. In the wake of the play the cast and crew of "Visions" are witnessing men and women, many who are caught in the wake of addiction, weeping after the performances, for they are given a renewed sense of hope. These special performances are usually "closed" to protect the anonymity of the clients. When the opportunity arises and we are able to acquire a large area with a stage for a performance, the clients are bused in from various rehabilitation centers and shelters and treated to a free night of theater, coffee and cake. It is not unusual to bring in four to five hundred people to witness a "Visions" show. If we can't come to them, we bring them to us.
The play has also been presented to churches, schools and those at risk. It has been shown to educators and open to communities. There is rarely a fee to see the play, except to raise money for charitable organizations, and any donations received are used to bring the play to those who have nothing. To continue our work in the prevention field a not for profit organization was formed in 1993 dedicated to substance abuse prevention and recovery education.
The journey of "Visions" began in 1991 while Bob L. (author, producer/director) used the short breaks on his job in an automotive plant to pen the images in his head. In a relatively short time he was able to complete the brief, but meaningful production which has brought its message of hope to many thousands throughout the tri-state area. (N.J., N.Y. and Penn.)
After bringing the script to several community theaters who turned it away saying, "Not our cup of tea", Bob set out for a cast. Knowing few actors he asked friends and acquaintances for help. Early on, it seemed that the churches were the only doors that would open to allow this group of messengers to rehearse…and so they did.
The show's first performance was in Integrity House at Meadowview Hospital, a treatment facility for alcohol and drug abuse in Secaucus, NJ. The reaction of the audience has been repeated time and time again: weeping, identification with the characters and uplifted spirits. In a short time the, production has grown from a 20- minute one act presentation, to a performance of over an hour. After a repeat performance in February 1992 "The Harbor Treatment Center" in Hoboken, New Jersey sent Bob a letter saying: "The inclusions of new acts to "Visions" has made it even more powerful…we have found it to be a wonderful therapeutic tool for our clients."
Bob and his "missionaries" have continued to move across the area spreading the news that a 12 Step program can restore sanity to those in despair. As their audiences come out of the rehabs and institutions and into the rooms where these programs meet, they seem to share a common thought about the "Visions" they have seen, "It gave us hope".
The "Visions" cast and crew are the recipients of the State of New Jersey Governor's Volunteer Award in the Arts and Humanities, and a Points of Light Award Recipient.