Sunday, December 3, 2023


By Ruth Ross

Solo plays—with just one actor onstage at all times—are a singular theatrical genre (pardon the pun). Sometimes comedic (Billy Crystal in 700 Sundays), often dramatic (Julie Harris as Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst), successful scripts offer a full-blown dramatic arc, complete with exposition, climax and dénouement.

Trich, the solo show written and performed by Becca Schneider (below, right), now receiving its regional premiere at Luna Stage, tells a tale of a young woman afflicted with a little-known, rarely spoken about obsessive-compulsive behavior disorder called trichotillomania. Over the course of 75 minutes, Schneider takes us on a dramatic journey wherein she lays bare her intimate struggles with an urge to pull hair from her eyelashes, eyebrows and head. Indeed, her retelling was so riveting that the audience often seemed to be holding its collective breath.

Schneider uses slides to educate the audience about Body- focused Repetitive Behavior (BFRB), a compulsive, repetitive behavior directed toward one’s body that ultimately alters one’s appearance. We learn about the urge—an “itch,” she calls it—that drives her to pull hair from her head and its relation to stressful events, hormones active at puberty (she started doing this at age 13 and is now in her 30s) and depression. Using self-deprecating humor, Schneider recounts her myriad attempts to deal with and end this vicious cycle, especially through her involvement in musical theater in high school and college. Indeed, the shame and the lengths to which she goes to hide it collide with her outgoing nature as a teen with many friends and involvement in lots of school activities.

In her quest for recovery, Schneider seeks various medical and psychological treatments before admitting that recovery is neither linear nor ever finished but that she can use techniques to self-soothe in lieu of self-harm. With this brave and hopeful admission, the audience let out a metaphorical sign of relief and enfolded her in a standing ovation of support.

Becca Schneider’s co-creators and directors, Jenn Haltman and Casey Pfeifer, have crafted an “intimate, surprisingly funny story about mental health, isolation, and forging a path toward recovery,” filled with pathos, humor and clear-eyed self-awareness.

Haltman and Pfeifer’s direction never flags as Schneider inexorably tells her tale in a performance full of humanity and vulnerability. The use of several props (a bench, two chairs, a music stand, a stool and a screen behind a curtain) bring to life various stops on her journey. Beautifully lit by Ian Lloyd Sanchez and using PowerPoint presentations by Becca Schneider herself, Trich is a production worthy of works often produced by Luna Stage, a gem of professional theater in the metropolitan suburb of West Orange. Ian MacDonald created the poster for the show.

Trich was the top-selling play at the 2021 United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row in New York City, winning both the Best Actress and Audience Choice Awards.  Unfortunately, you have only one more weekend to catch a performance. The black box theater adjoining the main stage is small, so seating is limited. Call now for tickets! You won’t want to miss this production!

NOTE: Because it contains sensitive material about mental health, addiction, anxiety, depression and BFRBs, Trich is suitable for audiences aged 14 and up.

Trich will be performed at Luna Stage, 555 Valley Road, West Orange, December 8 and 9 at 8 PM and December 9 and 10 at 3 PM. For information and tickets, visit or call the box office at 973.395.5551.