At the end of January, AFT will proudly present the first public reading of the beginning portions of STANDING UNDERNEATH NIGHT AND DAY, a new project led by AFT Artistic Associate, Kelli Simpkins. We can’t wait to share this work with you as part of our OUT FRONT 2015 series as well as see how it continues to grow over the next several months. What audience members will see on the 24th and 25th is the result of a very interesting process that began in earnest just about one year ago. Read more below to learn about the impetus for this piece and how it has been created and make sure to reserve your seat to see this first workshop.
The genesis of this project began a few years ago when SK pitched their idea of wanting to create a new work about intergenerational loneliness. At the same time, ground was being broken on the first Midwest LGBTQ-friendly senior residence in Boystown, and the results of an LGBTQ community needs assessment (which hadn’t been done for over a decade!) were released. I became immediately interested in this project, as did a few other About Face Artistic Associates (Ben Sprunger and Patrick Andrews).
In the winter of 2014, we got an NEA grant to begin the work with About Face Theatre. In July 2014, we began collecting interviews with LGBTQIA elders and youth, activists and those in the middle advocating for these two populations. We did interviews through November 2014 and have completed 50 interviews thus far. This summer we began working with Caitlin Kane, Judson Rose, Al Evangelista and Reed Motz, who have transcribed the majority of these interviews and become collaborators in addition to the original group of four. In December I began writing from the raw interviews, while incorporating the theatrical ideas we’ve been exploring as a group.
The presentation you will see on January 24th and 25th at Center on Halsted is a workshop presentation. It will likely be the first 40-50 pages and perhaps a few monologues from interviews that are still being transcribed. This is the first look of moments of a play that will ultimately go through a more comprehensive laboratory and several more developmental workshops to truly begin to see the piece in a fully dimensional way.
“My journey with this process has been all encompassing. It has been incredibly educational, engaging, political and profoundly inspiring.”
The interviewees have moved me beyond words and I have learned more than I thought possible about community (where we’ve been, where we are and what the future holds) and the seniors, youth and those on the periphery of communities. I thank the interviewees for their immense generosity, time and stories and I thank the seven collaborators on this project, who’ve supremely given of their hearts, minds, talents and time. We are excited to share the first look of the beginning process of what I hope will ultimately be a moving, meaningful, powerful intergenerational play that creates dialogue and encourages connections between seniors, youth and those in the middle. Additionally, I hope that this play can provide space for the disparate and invisible aspects of our various community populations to be seen and heard.
Thank you for supporting the first showing of this play.