THE SECRET Comes to Touchstone Theatre
Touchstone Theatre welcomes longtime partner Mock Turtle Marionette Theater back to present their celebrated production The Secret, a mixed-media play about the Bethlehem-born feminist writer and LGBTQ icon Hilda Doolittle. The show enjoyed its world premiere at Touchstone in October as part of Festival UnBound and returns to Touchstone April 2-5 as part of their mainstage season.
Born into the Bethlehem Moravian community, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) was deeply influenced by her childhood throughout her long writing career. Her innovative and experimental poetry and prose established her as a leading Modernist writer in the early 20th century, and she is widely recognized today as a queer, feminist visionary. The performance explores vignettes from her life in narrative, song, puppetry, and poetry, as a look back to the wisdom and struggles of our mothers.
The play, which received recognition as Best Play by the 14th annual ABEs, is conceived by Doug Roysdon, devised by the ensemble cast of actors, puppeteers, and musicians, and directed by former Touchstone Ensemble Member Jennie Gilrain, featuring puppets by frequent Touchstone collaborator Mock Turtle Marionette Theater.
"H.D. 's extraordinary spirit of creativity, mystery, and love has infused the process of devising and rehearsing The Secret, and has driven Finding H.D., the 18-month long community conversation among local actors, scholars, horticulturists, educators, theologians, and physicists," explains Gilrain. "With the addition of our post-show events, The Secret Act 2, we invite our audience, along with a New Group of artists-- poets, painters and musicians-- to 'follow the music' (H.D., The Gift), to become 'voyagers, discoverers of the not-known, the unrecorded' (H.D., Trilogy)."
As part of the performance, The Secret will feature a pre-show discussion with Doug Roysdon entitled "Drawing as a Way of Thinking." There will also be a series of "rotating Act 2" sharings of art and discourse inspired by H.D.:
· Thursday, April 2 - Exploring H.D.: Talk-back with Actors and Scholars
· Friday, April 3 - Love Flows Down: A Young Composer's Response to Hildegard and H.D. with Abriana Ferrari
· Saturday, April 4 - Radical Freedom: Poets on the Life and Work of H.D. with Cleveland Wall
· Sunday, April 5 - Painting H.D.: Slideshow and Discussion with Portrait Artist, Angela Fraleigh
The Secret is part of "Finding H.D.: A Community Exploration of the Life and Work of Hilda Doolittle," a year-long series of events organized by the Lehigh University English Department, Bethlehem Area Public Library, the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, and Mock Turtle Marionette Theater.
"It's an honor to be part of this ongoing H.D. Initiative. The thoroughness and intentionality that's gone into not just this piece but the entire exploration is something we as a community can really be proud of," effuses Touchstone artistic director Jp Jordan.
Touchstone's season is supported locally by season sponsor RCN. WDIY provides media sponsorship, and Working Dog Press provides print sponsorship.
The Secret plays April 2-5, 2020, Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $25 for adults / $15 for students and seniors, with group rates available on request. On Thursdays, Touchstone offers a pay-what-you-will ticket option at the door, as available, allowing walkup patrons to name their own ticket price. Advance tickets may be purchased at 610.867.1689 or online at www.touchstone.org