InTake, a local play based on the life stories of young Windsor people who have experienced homelessness and mental health issues, opens Thursday night at the Walkerville Theatre in Windsor.
"I tried the pills, I tried the drugs, I tried the alcohol, I tried the razor blades to the skin, I tried all that stuff," said Alyssa Szwed, one of the young actors in the production. "I look back on it now and I regret the scars, but I don't regret having overcome."
Similar to other actors in the play, Alyssa Szwed will not be telling her own story, which is part of the director's design.
"It is quite empowering that way because then they can hear their stories be told by someone else," said Chris Rabideau. "It can be a very scary thing if you allow people to tell their story vulnerable on stage," he said.
Youth in Windsor were invited to share their stories at several workshops several months ago. They were then used to write the script.
The play tells the story of a teenage boy named Jack, who has been in trouble with the law and is sent to live in a group home.
The young actors are as eclectic as their characters, but not all have had a troubled youth or are struggling with mental illness.
"I was very privileged to be able to grow up in a household that was very caring, very loving and always wanted to see me do my best," said Chris Clarke.
Drawing back the curtain on these young lives is like going behind the closed doors of their homes. For Clarke it opened his eyes to the reality of others.
"I knew about things that happened, but I never really put them in to real lifelike situations, and hearing about all the things people were talking about in their own lives about issues regarding drugs, regarding abuse, regarding all these types of things just made me notice how real it really is within the city of Windsor," he said.
The actors want the audience to learn from the stories the real-life stories they see in the play.
"A lot of people are struggling and it's OK to talk about and a lot of people are going through the same things," said 17-year-old Autumn Smith.
Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday.