Department of Theatre to host a special advocacy and education event about a hidden health issue

The Department of Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts is hosting a special screening of “Unrest,” a Sundance award-winning film by Jennifer Brea, on Monday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Telfair Peet Theatre. This special screening is free and open to all. In addition to the general public, we invite medical professionals and anyone who is interested in learning more about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), often referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. To RSVP, register

The screening will include a panel discussion and a presentation by Dr. Charles W. Lapp, an internationally and nationally recognized ME/CFS advocate, physician and researcher. The founder and former director of the Hunter Hopkins Center, Dr. Lapp has been a board member of the American Association for CFS and the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association, advisor to ProHealth Incorporated, medical advisor to both the CFIDS Association of America and the National Fibromyalgia Association.

“Unrest” portrays twenty-eight year-old Jennifer Brea, PhD student at Harvard. She is months away from marrying the love of her life when she gets a mysterious fever that leaves her bedridden and looking for answers. Disbelieved by doctors yet determined to live, she turns her camera on herself and discovers a hidden world of millions confined to their homes and bedrooms by ME, commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

“When I got sick, I was shocked to encounter this world I had never heard of and knew nothing about. For decades, people living with ME have been missing from their lives. It’s my hope that in telling this story, we will no longer be relegated to the shadows, that our experience will be seen and recognized,” said Brea.

“Unrest” tells the first-person story of Jennifer and her husband, Omar, newlyweds grappling with how to live in the face of a debilitating lifelong illness. But it is also a global story about an international community of patients with a serious, life-altering illness — millions suffering invisibly and left at the margins of medicine and science.

“In keeping with our theatre subscription season’s theme, ’Letting in the Light,’ we are proud to host this award winning documentary film by Jennifer Brea,” said Dr. Chase Bringardner, chair of the Department of Theatre. “Our theme this year emphasizes the 125th Anniversary of Women on Auburn’s campus, and the film ‘UNREST’”, is another extraordinary example of the invaluable contributions made by women to countless endeavors in the arts and beyond. We are equally thrilled to cast more light on an issue that has been long misunderstood and overlooked as we recognize that this illness has affected many on our campus in a deeply personal way.”


Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a systemic neuroimmune condition characterized by post-exertional malaise (a severe worsening of symptoms after even minimal exertion). It causes dysregulation of both the immune system and the nervous system. The effects of ME are devastating enough to leave 25% of patients housebound or bed-bound. In many parts of the world, it is commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). An estimated 15-30 million people around the world are suffering from ME. According to an Institute of Medicine (IOM), report published in 2015 an estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans suffer from ME/CFS; about 90% of them have not been diagnosed. Those numbers extrapolated in reference to the population state of Alabama would be 14,400 to 33,600 people.

The film launched in 2017 with a social impact campaign, Time for Unrest, which aimed to increase the public’s knowledge of this little known disease, mobilize the patient and ally community, encourage empathetic care from medical practitioners, and encourage more research in countries throughout the world.

“Community screenings are a critical part of building the movement to get ME the recognition and resources it so badly needs. It will take local communities discussing this disease to change the stigma, spread the word, and create the impetus for concrete change in our lifetime,” said Laurie Jones, Global Director of Impact for Time for Unrest.

Although this event will not qualify for CE credit for the medical profession at this time, it should be known that online CE is being developed in relationship to the film and its content and will be announced in the near future.

To guarantee your seat, register here:

To learn more about the film watch the trailer

To learn more about the global campaign visit

For more information about the screening, contact Robin Jaffe at


Last Updated: April 06, 2018