On a recent visit to Willowridge High School, her alma mater, poet-actress-playwright Melanie Wilson was approached by a bold student. "She asked to use my cell phone," Wilson recalls. "I said, 'For what?' and she said, 'I need to find some weed.' " This incident, among others, served as the inspiration for Wilson's new play, Foggy: The Cause and Effect of Drug Use, which runs this weekend at the Silver House Theatre.
"When a person is on drugs, their mind is cloudy; they can't think straight," says Wilson. "That's where the title came from." The play's action centers around Innocent, a young girl who is trying to make it in a cold, cruel world. (Think Alice in Tha Wonderhood.) She gets sidetracked from her true mission in life by the other characters: Heroin, LSD, Cocaine and XTC. Cocaine is a demon who tempts Innocent with crass materialism and leads her into addiction. Innocent also falls prey to a sexy and sensual XTC, who's just too fine to resist. "It's like, here we come, XTC, big and fine, this is what it's like, let me taste this," says Wilson. "I'm showing how the mind can get weak behind being lonely."
Wilson, whose stage name is Page 8577, started out as a poet; her work as an interpreter with Illuminations -- Theatre with the Deaf led her to produce more visual work. Watching family members and former friends struggle through the trials of drug use led Wilson to write Foggy, her third play. "It got started from watching movies about drug addicts and just living on this earth," she says. "You just would never think that people you know would get addicted to drugs."
Wilson wants to take this play into schools to scare people straight, and hopes her message will open parents' eyes. "The child that comes over to your house every day...is getting your child to try drugs," she says. "My main focus is the kids, because they're supposed to be our future."