Write to Me by Stephanie Roberts
July 22-29, Kansas City Fringe Festival
The Writers Place
KANSAS CITY, MO (June 19, 2017) – From the creator of the Fringe hits: Boom! An International Lost and Found Family Marching Band, and Mask of the Broken Heart, Write to Me is a love letter to letter-writing and a journey through time and place in a landscape of lost and found human connection. Stephanie Roberts, through Slow Burn Productions, has created an interactive theatrical piece with solo cellist and composer, Alex Williams. This performance will premiere at the Kansas City Fringe Festival at The Writer Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, KC, MO on July 22 (8pm) July 24 (6:30pm), July 28 (9:30pm) and July 29 (5:00pm)
Inspired by a box of 200 received letters, Roberts has created an event that embraces physical storytelling as well as musical improvisation and audience participation to reveal and embody ink on a page. “The idea came two years ago when I found these letters that had been written to me over a period of about 15 years. They were before cell phones or email: a chronicle of my younger years, but also a reminder of the slow, mindful communication of letter-writing. It’s a form that foregrounds time; the gift of time that we give others to respond, the time that we carve out of our lives to share with another, and the documentation of time passed.”
While researching her idea, Roberts decided to reignite her old correspondences and began writing to friends and family. “At one point, every morning, I was getting up, making coffee, and then writing a letter. Most people wrote one letter back thanking me, but one friend, Alexia (who wrote 65 of the original letters), began writing frequently and, after 17 years, we’ve started corresponding again.”
“There will be surprises!” says Roberts, “and each show will be a different experience.” She’s asking the audience to bring their own saved letters that may play a part in the event.
Joining Roberts on the stage is cellist and composer Alex Williams, a student at UMKC’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. “It’s been an eye-opening opportunity for me. Interpreting the emotion of a letter on the cello has been a big challenge, but it has allowed me to explore a different, more emotional side of music that I have never experienced before.”
“I’m excited to see how people respond” says Roberts. “When I mention the idea to someone they almost always have a story about their own letters. And then I think about younger generations who grew up in the digital age and most likely don’t have a box like this. I’m hoping to ignite some memories, yes, but also to maybe inspire some to take up pen and paper again. Who knows–maybe it will make a comeback. Like mixed tapes!”
About the artists:
Stephanie Roberts (writer/performer) is Associate Professor of Physical Theatre at UMKC Theatre MFA Program where she teaches Commedia dell’Arte, Clown, Mask, and Epic Storytelling. She has toured nationally and abroad with companies such as Annex, Tears of Joy, Living Voices and Seattle Mime Theatre. She has also taught and directed devised work for the Seattle Repertory Theatre as well as Cornish College of the Arts. Devised works include Slammed! Eat This! and Immeasurable Heaven (UMKC Theatre), Tallahassee (KC Fringe Festival) and Boom! An International Lost and Found Family Marching Band (KC Fringe and national tour). Professor Roberts was the 2010 recipient of the Charlotte Street Foundation Generative Performing Artist Award as well as an Inspiration Award from ArtsKC with which she developed her one-woman play, The Mask of the Broken Heart (Critic’s pick, “Best of the Pitch”) She holds a B.F.A. in Acting from Cornish, and an M.F.A. in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre.
Alex Williams (musician) is an American composer and cellist whose music has been performed throughout the United States. He is originally from Neosho, Missouri, where he first developed his interest in music. He has written several works, including pieces for orchestra, wind ensemble and chamber groups. Alex has received several awards for his compositions, including the 2014 Missouri Composers Orchestra Project, 1st place in the 2017 international Young Composers Competition through Webster University and a commission from the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis. He was also selected as a finalist for the 2016 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award. Alex currently is an undergraduate student and studies composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.
Saturday July 22, 8:00pm
Monday July 24, 6:30pm
Friday July 28, 9:30pm
Saturday July 29 5:00pm
The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO 64111
Tickets may be purchased in advance at kcfringe.org, on the KC Fringe mobile app, at Fringe 411 in Union Station (beginning July 16) or at the performance, pending availability.
- $10 ticket + $5 Fringe button required for entry.
- Your $5 Fringe button supports the KC Fringe.
- Your one time $5 purchase of a Fringe button is required to keep the festival going.
· Buttons can be purchased at any venue just before going in to the performance or at Fringe 411 in Union Station.