Michael M. Milligan’s Mercy Killers, Tackles the Issues of Health Care and Community ~ Doesn’t Miss a Beat

March 1, 2014

by Barbara C. Harrison

IMG_4826Playwright/Actor Michael M. Milligan brought his award winning play Mercy Killers to Ithaca on February 20th and February 21st. The play was well received by the audience both evenings, with a standing ovation for Michael’s impassioned performance of Joe’s story of his encounter with our commercial health system.  Milligan’s character Joe, strips away the frilly, consumer, feel good language of health insurance corporations and exposes the effects our for-profit health system has on destroying people’s lives.

IMG_4770 The opportunity for discussion after the performance, allowed audience members to explore with each other the many issues Michael’s character Joe is forced to face, and how these affected them.  People readily exchanged their thoughts before we convened the panel, which included Milligan, a member of SPNY and on Friday evening a PNHP doctor, Vivian De Lorenzo.  Godfrey Simmons and Sarah Chalmers-Simmons of Civic Ensemble moderated the panels

Michael spoke with students from Ithaca College and Cornell University.  He discussed his work, the writing of the play and how he became involved with the single payer movement.  These conversations moved students to return to see the play.

IMG_4781Finger Lakes for New York Health would like to bring Michael back to do what I call “The Barn Tour”, taking the play on the road to rural communities to begin a conversation about why single payer is beneficial to communities and bring people into the movement.

Mercy Killers touches both the heart and the intellect.  Not only do I highly recommend that you experience Michael Milligan’s stirring performance, but if you are affiliated with a community organization, have them bring the play to your community.  Michael’s tackling of healthcare and community issues doesn’t miss a beat.