"Heaven’s North of Here"
(A play about teenage suicide and drug abuse). A young girl wakes up in her coffin to discover that she is dead. Discovering the impact her death has had on the loved ones in her life, and through interchange with a strange, young man who sits nearby observing it all, she learns that she actually had the power to create her own happiness all along.
I produced a touring production in association with Saddleback College, Los Angeles and Orange County Unified School Districts, Los Angeles Probation Department and other organizations. The play has been produced and performed nationwide over the past twenty-five years. I concluded the play by creating a powerful Q and A, and workshop with the audience and actors with such diverse audiences as the US military, high schools, churches, prisons, colleges. The play itself is very powerful.
However, the years, I was trained by the audiences on how to create a workshop or deliver a Q and A that made a lasting impression:
“…the play is so excellent, it should be shown to as many young people as possible.”
September 6, 1983 Carol Fowler, Saddleback College
“It is a powerful play, so much so that I think it should be made available for presentation by other schools, social workers, counselors, churches…everywhere it might be needed. It is too excellent a play to let it go by the wayside and not be presented again at many, many places. In a classroom, this play videotaped could be a marvelous springboard for discussion in a variety of classes.”
September 9, 1983 Florence Staggs, Saddleback College
“…the play creates an atmosphere of openness and trust for the participants to explore their feelings and knowledge of an emotionally sensitive issue.”
June 18, 1985, Ira G. Mattox, Office of the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, Division of Juvenile Court Schools
“…watching the play not only helped the students, but also the staff in understanding the need that is basic to us all—that is, the need for support and love from others, and that we are responsible for our friends. Your skill as a facilitator was obvious in the students willingness to get up and share in front of their peers. I’m confident that you created an awareness that will generate a caring on each of our parts for those whose lives we touch.”
May 12, 1987, Frank Tortorich, Assistant Superintendent, Amador County Unified School District
“It was a difficult audience. As we attempt to deal with the endemic of suicide among our adolescents, I feel presentations like yours are a positive contribution.”
October 12, 1987 Stephen C. Cook, M.D. York Woods Center Psychiatric Hospital
“The response has been overwhelming from private to colonel. The remarks have been that it was moving, enlightening, and entertaining. Depression and suicide have not only been a problem for teenagers, but also for many of our young Marines and their families. I feel the play made a strong statement to those experiencing these emotional problems, that there are alternatives and others really do care. Over 2,000 Marines are witnesses to that fact, and many more will be affected. Never before have we presented a program that has had such impact. Never have we had a program that has been so greatly accepted. And NEVER have we had a program that we have had our Marines asking for its return. I would highly recommend this program to any service, agency, school or group that wishes to learn more about and be better prepared to handle suicide.”
September, 1986 David Lara-Toney, Family Advocacy Program Coordinator, USMC
“Heaven’s North of Here provides the adolescent audience with food for thought and a safe venue for using what they have witnessed through your production and applying it to real life struggles. We support your continued efforts to enhance your viability by seeking funding and corporate support.”
October 15, 2003, Dave Mitchell, Director, Probation Department, County of Los Angeles, Department of Children and Family Services
“A wonderful play with a powerful message. The response we received from the children was positive and amazing. Staff from mental health remarked that she had never seen the children open up the way they did during the after play discussion. Molly, you did a wonderful thing in writing a play that actually impacts lives and gives a message, rarely will a play or a movie touch lives the way this play did.”
April 18, 2002, Angie Robles, County of Los Angeles Interagency Children’s Services Consortium, Maclaren Children’s Center
“It’s more of an experience than just watching a play.”
September 2003, Theresa Reed, Outreach Advisor, Community College Foundation
In 2005, we held a staged reading at Harvey Milk High School in New York. The audience included gay, transgender and lesbian youth who had experienced bullying in their former high schools, or had been rejected by their families completely. After the play, we held a discussion with the actors and students who were profoundly moved by the play’s message.
“The play made me think about myself, to think I could be someone in life…”
“I thought about committing suicide because I hate myself, seeing this play changed my life…”
“The play reminded me how important my life is, and made me want to tell my parents how important they are to me and I love them…”