Actress Linda Kuriloff Brings Awareness of Mental Health to her Role in "On Strivers Row"
"I want my legacy to be how hard I made you laugh, how deep I made you cry, and how open I left your mind," said Kuriloff.
The role has special importance to Kuriloff, who works at East Village Access, an organization that serves the mental health community. She chose to play Ruby to bring awareness to mental health issues and the far reaching impact they have on family members.
While the play isn't about mental illness, at one point the character of Ruby describes one of the symptoms of her grandfather's mental health episodes. Kuriloff plays the granddaughter of a person with a mental health illness and her performance is especially appropriate as May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Written by Abram Hill and directed by Timothy Johnson, "On Strivers Row" is set in the early 1940s and opens with Oscar and Dolly Van Striven preparing for their daughter's extravagant debutante party in their upscale townhouse. Even as the Van Striven fortunes are failing, they must continue the façade of wealth, power and importance.
Ruby is a presumptuous lottery winner who made her fortune betting on horses. Her goal is to find entry and acceptance in the educated and elite black society of Harlem's richest community nicknamed Strivers Row, beginning with the Van Striven ball.
The play has been described as a satire by some, but the work is much more complex. It addresses stereotypes and classism in the U.S. and within the black community in the 1940s. "On Strivers Row" provides social commentary and a unique look at the chaos that ensues when perceptions and the accepted pecking order is disrupted.
The performance at the Metropolitan Playhouse promises fun, enlightenment, and an historic look at the emerging social and educational changes taking place in the black community of 1940s New York. The character of Ruby Jackson enables Kuriloff to display her considerable acting talent and bring an added awareness of mental health illness, a topic everyone should care about.
About Linda Kuriloff
Linda Kuriloff is an actor, writer, stand-up comic, teacher and career coach who uses her many talents to help others and address issues that can sometimes be uncomfortable to hear but need to be explored. She connects with fans through social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/