We're excited to announce the program for our upcoming staged reading at Cleveland State University's Student Center Ballroom during this year’s Cleveland Humanities Festival on Saturday March 17th and Sunday March 18th at 7 pm.
The hour-long performance, titled I Will Sing for You: Writers on Health, features original work by Northeast Ohio writers Nicholas Cohen, Diane Ferri, Aubrey Hirsch, Ray McNiece, Darlene Montonaro, Robin Pease, Mimi Plevin-Foust, Susan Rakow, Jane Richmond, Elaine Schleiffer, Karen Schubert, Jill Sell, Mary Weems, and Joe Kapitan.
Lit Cleveland's call for submissions earlier this year garnered over 180 poems, stories, and plays from writers throughout Northeast Ohio. The moving, often funny works explore issues such as aging, cancer, addiction, mental health, race and poverty, and the inequities in our current health care system.
Diane Ferri's moving essay “I Will Sing for You” recounts her final memories of time spent with her aging mother. Philip Metres reflects on finding peace in the midst of a painful concussion as well as the current presidential administration in his essay “Refuge.” Playwright Mary Weems encounters the tragedy of addiction in her piece "Pill/Box." Ray McNiece playfully taunts death in his poem “The Bone Orchard Conga,” while Joe Kaptian humorously highlights the hypocrisy of health care coverage in his one act play "Minimal Coverage."
“Reading the selected pieces, it’s striking how relevant, and often how American, these stories are,” said Director Dale Heinen, who will work alongside professional actors to adapt these written pieces for the stage. “It’s a fun, intriguing challenge to craft performances from diverse forms of writing like poetry and essay, and I look forward to sharing our discoveries with festival audiences.”
"We're thrilled to have worked out a program for this year's performance, and are truly grateful to have received such outstanding, powerful work from so many people living in this region," added Lee Chilcote, Executive Director of Lit Cleveland. "We'd like to thank everyone who went out on a limb to share their stories with us, and look forward to what we hope will be a powerful and insightful performance."
In contrast to last year's Crossing Borders: Immigrant Narratives performance, which featured a different program each evening, I Will Sing for You will showcase the same work both nights. A reception with the actors and writers will follow each performance. Register in advance for the event.
This program is made possible with the support of the George Gund Foundation, the Baker Nord Center for the Humanities, Cleveland Humanities Festival, Cleveland State University, and Margaret Wong and Associates.
About the Director
Dale Heinen is a director/dramaturge focused on new work. She has worked on new plays in Cleveland, Chicago, London, New York, Dublin, Tokyo and Brazil. Her work has been recognized by the Jeff Awards and by the After Dark Awards (Chicago), and she was the recipient of the Arches Award for Directors (Glasgow). Since returning to her hometown of Cleveland in 2014, she has directed new work at Cleveland Public Theatre, Lake Erie College, Dobama Theatre and Playwrights’ Local, where she is a company member. Dale teaches at John Carroll University and has a BA from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and an MFA in theatre directing from Middlesex University (London). In 2015, Dale co-founded BorderLight: the Festival of International Theatre, Cleveland, which aims to present visionary international theatre and build cross-cultural understanding. BorderLight is expected to launch in late summer 2019 in downtown Cleveland.
by Raquel Wilson, Lit Cleveland Intern
On Thursday 2/22, Literary Cleveland and Story Club Cleveland held their third Writing Out Loud class show at Forest City Brewery. The performance marked the end of a month-long process in which eight class participants studied the art of storytelling and crafted their own stories from scratch. While many of us may be familiar with writing stories in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, or in poetic form, writing a personal story and performing it for an audience is, well, a different story altogether. As a current Lit Cleveland Intern and spoken word poet, I knew that stage presence is necessary, but after participating in this workshop I understand just how crucial it is. And while I've been a storyteller my whole life -- I've always captured the attention of my friends and family with my personal stories -- this class helped me to see storytelling as an art that can be studied and taught and performed for an audience.
Writing Out Loud encouraged us to study the techniques essential to good storytelling, including detail, revision, and performance tips. I'm no stranger to the microphone, but as I listened to the methods of telling a story in another fashion I realized just how valuable Lit Cleveland, Story Club Cleveland, libraries, and independent bookstores are to our community of writers. If it weren't for these organizations, spoken word artists and writers interested in performance wouldn't have nearly as many opportunities to express ourselves.
The experience of hearing these eight individuals tell their personal stories in a room full of strangers for the first time was amazing. The crowd was respectful and pleasant, and each storyteller held the attention of the audience by bravely speaking their truth. I encourage anyone interested in sharing their story to participate in future classes and performances with Lit Cleveland and Story Club.
On Sat. 2/10, Lit Cleveland staff and members gathered at Visible Voice Books in Tremont for Lit Cleveland's Winter Mixer. Over the course of the evening, attendees shopped for books, chatted about recent writing projects, enjoyed two deluxe pizzas courtesy of Crust downstairs, and witnessed phenomenal readings by local writers (and Lit Cleveland members!) Franz Margitza, E.F. Schraeder, and Stacie Williams.
A big thanks to all who braved the frosty weather to make it out! Thanks also to Visible Voice Books for opening your space to us, Crust for delicious food, and our stellar members and readers for a fun and memorable night.
To create a strong community of readers and writers in Cleveland, Ohio through workshops, classes, readings and other events.