“BareStage” was first “Bear Stage”
I read with some interest the article in The Daily Californian by Jessica Pena on the the founding of BareStage Productions. I cannot speak to what Ben Rimalower found at Cal in 1994, but I can assure that “Bear Stage” existed as an ASUC-supported musical theater company at Cal as early as 1984.
Class of 1983 alumna Stephanie Stullich, John Tichenor and I founded Bear Stage out of what used to be funded by the Interfraternity Council. Class of 1982 alumnus Austin Tichenor was the original founder of the panhellenic musical theater company, performed by members of the Greek system on campus. Austin directed and starred in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “Lady in the Dark.” After Austin, I was the artistic director for productions of “Oklahoma” and “Guys & Dolls.”
It was after that show that we realized that in order to grow, the company should be open to all students. We first considered calling the company “Bear’s Claw,” because at the time Stanford had Ram’s Head theater. But Stephanie rightly suggested “Bear Stage.” The first official Bear Stage production was “Pirates of Penzance” and was staged at the Zellerbach Playhouse. There were a number of shows performed in the following years.
I had heard that someone made the unfortunate decision to change the name to BareStage, disregarding the play on words of the original company name.
So for the sake of accuracy and posterity, there was indeed a Bear Stage as far back as the early 1980s.
— Mark Hodgson
UC Berkeley Class of 1984
Treatment works, sometimes
There have been several stories in the news lately about people dying from alcohol or drug overdoses, a tragic reminder of how far society has to go to overcome addictions.
Bonita House, Inc. is a 42-year-old, nonprofit, public benefit organization that assists adults who are striving to recover from both psychiatric and substance use disorders.
BHI provides an array of services, including residential treatment, outpatient, medication services, homeless outreach, housing with supportive services and day programming.
Many of the services provided by BHI are made possible by the passage of Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, in 2004. MHSA imposed a 1 percent tax on incomes over $1 million and provides nearly $1 billion annually for public mental health services. A high priority for MHSA funding is to provide services to adults living with a psychiatric disability who are living on the streets and have not received mental health treatment services.
Many people come to us directly from living on the streets, lacking hope or dignity, or from being released from locked facilities. Many do not acknowledge that they have a psychiatric disorder.
When they come into our agency, people who have not lived in an apartment for several years become housed. Once housed, they start to take steps to end years of substance abuse. Some take advantage of opportunities to go back to school or work. The sad reality is that addiction is a monster, and relapses may be part of the path to recovery.
BHI staff are trained in behavioral, health care, evidence-based practices and incorporate these practices in the programs we operate.
We strive to be welcoming and respectful to those who receive services in our programs. For those stripped of hope over years of abuse, we cultivate hope. For those who have lost dignity and have been traumatized, we provide a safe environment to heal.
We have shared the joy of thousands of people who have stabilized and turned their lives around as a result of services received by our agency. With all of the successes people have had, there are also those who are not in a place of readiness to engage in treatment.
BHI utilizes creative and assertive strategies to make our voluntary services as attractive as possible. Staff members try to meet people where they are in their lives by not imposing strict expectations but instead offering supportive suggestions. Even with the best of staff’s intentions, some people resist all offers of help.
These recent deaths remind us once again of the potential devastating outcomes of mental illness and addiction.
In times like this, we at BHI strengthen our commitment to reach out and engage with those that need our helping hand. Because, for many, we know it is not too late for a chance at recovery and a life worth living.
— Rick Crispino
Bonita House, Inc.