A CAST OF THOUSANDS

WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU CROSS A STAGE MOTHER WITH A GROUP OF SCHIZOPHRENICS? A REALLY, REALLY BIG SHOW.

"I do volleyball, too," he adds, "and I go to Warren Tech for small-engine repair. I guess you could connect it up that there is mental illness here," he adds, reluctantly. "You could put that down, but I don't talk about it."
Diane, Ricky's mother, does. "Why, for two years he didn't know who he was," she recalls. "He spent all his high school years at Fort Logan. I blamed myself for a long time, because I did hair while I was pregnant, and the day I had him I did fifteen heads of hair first. All those chemicals, and he's got a chemical imbalance is what it is."

Diane says Fort Logan doctors told her the best she could do for her son was sign him over to the state. "He won't ever know you, they told me," she recalls. "But I stayed right with him. I said, the Lord didn't give Ricky to y'all to raise, he give him to me."

After nearly twenty medication trials, Ricky ended up on Clozaril, got his own apartment and began therapy at CSP. "It's a miracle drug, but improv is a miracle, too," Diane insists. "It brought out the side of him that was not ill. Julie worked him. She put a really, really good grind on him. I tape every one of the shows on VHS and oh, gosh, yes--I watch them all the time."

Her favorite moments are Ricky as Rod Stewart--she did his hair herself--and "in real tights," doing a dance called The Swan. "What I can't believe," she continues, "is what we can do together now. Me and Ricky and his friend Tom, from the center--we can go out to a club and hear music. We don't drink, of course, but we can go, and they will actually go up to girls and talk to them or dance."

Ricky was the first of the pair to accomplish this feat. He now has a girlfriend, and she plans to attend the show. Tom is coming along a little slower--but then, says Diane, he was once so shy no one believed he would ever appear on a stage.

"But Ricky got him into it," she continues. "He said, Tom, you should go. It will bring out your personality. You have a personality.

"And he did," she says. "He did.

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