Actress Amy Brenneman, who splits her time between Chilmark and California, brought her autobiographical play Overcome to the Cotuit Center for the Arts in Barnstable for a sold-out engagement earlier this month.

“I can’t believe we pulled it off,” Ms. Brenneman told the Gazette by phone this week, citing the complexities of scheduling six actors, two dancers — both with Vineyard connections — and two musicians for three appearances on Cape Cod.

“It really works. I’m very proud,” she said of the play, which Ms. Brenneman and co-writer Sabrina Peck began developing in 2016 at the Yard in Chilmark, where a workshop version played in 2019.

Well known for the compelling characters she portrays on television — detective-turned-assassin Janice Licalsi in NYPD Blue, family court judge Amy Gray in Judging Amy, and psychiatrist Violet Turner in Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice — Ms. Brenneman appears in Overcome as herself: a working mother and wife, raising a child, along with her husband Brad Silberling, with special needs.

“It is a story about mothering my daughter,” she said.

Play began as a work-in-progress at the Yard in Chilmark. — Salty Broad Studios

Now in her early 20s and living independently in Hyannis, Ms. Brenneman’s daughter Charlotte was born with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, a rare chromosomal condition that was only diagnosed when she was 15. Overcome traces her mother’s journey — first through those first 15 years, grappling with a series of special needs that couldn’t be classified, and then from Charlotte’s genetic testing and diagnosis to the present day.

“Up until a very specific moment in the play I am alone, or think I am alone, talking to the audience. Then, it’s like the Wizard of Oz [film], there’s color and things are okay,” Ms. Brenneman said.

“It’s not because we fixed anything. It’s because we have a different point of view,” she said. “We’re not so confused and mad.”

Discovering the cause of their child’s invisible disability was the pivot point that shifted the couple’s thinking.

“She’s one of 2,000 people in the world with this thing,” Ms. Brenneman said. “As my brother beautifully put it, she’s been running a marathon with one leg.”

While other actors — chiefly a Greek chorus of fellow “special needs moms,” all based on Ms. Brenneman’s real-life friends — come and go during the play, the playwright is on stage throughout the hour-long performance, which includes a live soundtrack of flute and cello music.

Inspired by stand-up comedy, which she admires but doesn’t perform herself, Ms. Brenneman often breaks the “fourth wall” to speak directly to her audience. At other points, the narrative becomes more avant-garde.

“It goes very abstract at times,” she said. “It goes where it needs to go.”

Cast included Yard alumni Alison Manning and Jesse Keller Jason. — Joe Navas

Parents of special needs children are likely to recognize at least part of their lives on stage.

“I talk very granularly about [special education] and neuropsych evaluations,” but the play’s themes have resonated with other audience members as well, Ms. Brenneman said.

“A lot of what I wind up talking about, very specifically, is the tyranny of this idea of normal, whether it’s in a classroom or in our heads, scrolling Instagram with this feeling that there’s a normal world and I’m not in it,” Ms. Brenneman said.

She brought the play to Cotuit, she said, because of its proximity to Charlotte’s home in Hyannis and alma mater, the Riverview School in Sandwich, which educates neurodivergent children and young adults and has become a regional resource for their families.

“She met her people. We met our people. It’s a forever thing,” said Ms. Brenneman, who with other Riverview parents has purchased the Hyannis building where Charlotte and her peers live in shared apartments with support as needed from neighboring residents.

Charlotte herself appeared in the play this month, but only at the very end.

“I really never saw her as coming on stage; I’ve always been very clear that this is my story as a parent and an ally,” Ms. Brenneman said.

“Also, I’m her mama. I’ve always been very protective,” she added.

The two Island dancers, Jesse Keller Jason and former Yard director Alison Manning, represent Charlotte’s emotions and energy in the show — all the better, Ms. Brenneman said, because they’ve known her daughter for years.

“She adores them, [and] they were stalwarts. I can really, honestly say I wouldn’t have done it without them,” she said.

“In a very organic way, when [Charlotte appeared] on stage with Jesse and Alison, it turned out to be a really important and breathtaking moment,” Ms. Brenneman said.

While she has no immediate plans for another staging of Overcome, Ms. Brenneman doesn’t rule out its return to the Vineyard in future years. She can’t guarantee that Charlotte will be available, however.

“She’s got a rich and full life,” Ms. Brenneman said.