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Triggered: One-man show reveals reality of abuse

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Triggered: One-man show reveals reality of abuse
Keith Mascoll, here with Yvonne Murphy, is starring in “Triggered,” a one-man show that delves into issues of trauma. (Photo: Courtesy of Keith Mascoll)

On July 20, actor and filmmaker Keith Mascoll will host a live rehearsal of his latest project, “Triggered,” at the Dudley Public Library. The one-man show starring Mascoll and directed by John Oluwole ADEkoje, discusses the experience of black men who have survived abusive relationships. “It’s an issue in the black community that a lot of men and boys are dealing with,” says Mascoll. “It’s time for men to be open, and to heal.”

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Mascoll and ADEkoje have been working on the project with Dr. Martin Pierre, a staff psychologist at Brandeis University Counseling Center. His clinical research focuses on the impact of trauma and race-related stress on people of color. Mascoll received a Boston Foundation L.A.B. grant for the performance. The show is in the development stages and the first open-rehearsal was held at Dudley Library on June 26. “Triggered” centers on a main character named Malik who is struggling with the psychological after-effects of abuse. Since the open-rehearsal, the team has decided that Malik will be having a dialogue with Mascoll as himself. The actor, an abuse survivor, will play both parts.

The open-rehearsal, workshop-style preparation of the piece is an unusual and wonderful innovation in the Boston theater scene. Not only does it allow viewers to witness, and even be involved in, the making of the art, it provides a forum for survivors to connect with others who have experienced trauma. Mascoll says that sexual abuse on men isn’t something that’s discussed in most households. He hopes that viewers will come away from “Triggered” knowing there is support available to them.

Mascoll is a full-time actor and filmmaker. His film “Confused by Love” was shown at both the Las Vegas Film Festival and the Hollywood Film Festival and is now available on Amazon Prime. His films, like his theater work, feature African American talent and delve into the black experience. Mascoll traveled to Cannes, France to debut “Confused” at the Pan African Film Festival last year. He says the experience was eye-opening. The French attitude to art and black art especially was much more celebratory than that of Boston.

A Cambridge native, part of Mascoll’s mission is to bring artists of color into the forefront of the local art scene. He co-founded the Front Porch Arts Collective, a performing arts group that tells stories from the perspective of black and brown artists. “We want to see more stories of color being told. We don’t just want to watch them, we want to tell them ourselves,” says Mascoll.