CALYPSO'S CORNER to Make World Premiere at Open Book Theatre Company

Open Book Theatre Company is excited to present the world premiere of a beautiful new play by Emily Rosenbaum.

The central action of CALYPSO'S CORNER takes place in a small, independent bookstore, a perfect setting for a play about the importance of storytelling. We learn and grow from the truths found in the stories all around us, both fictional and personal.

When Wendy goes in search of her estranged family to learn more about her history, she finds herself in her late aunt's bookstore. Surrounded by literature she learns the stories of her own family that had been hidden from her - a history that includes the holocaust, child abuse, and hereditary cancer. The play unfolds in both forward and backward motion as we learn more about Wendy's family. Serious issues are given sensitive treatment alongside witty dialogue, interesting dramatic structure, and compelling characters. Actor Dave Davies commented "It's a cleverly written story - well mapped out. Through a series of nonlinear scenes, we get to see the main family at their best and their worst."

Presenting a world premiere is an exciting venture for any company. Actor Stebert Davenport described the joy in "putting something together for the very first time: being the first group of people allowed to bring something to life on stage. The audience has never seen it before, or a different version or take on it. They'll walk in, with no expectations. Hopefully it's memorable. Also, getting to have the playwright be with us now and then. Getting to meet her, understand her, understand her backstory, why she wrote this play, what it means to her, why it's important."

Open Book will offer several pre-show discussions, where audience has the option to come early (7:30pm) and engage with some of the issues in the play. On Saturday May 7th Tamra Marinello, a Peer Support Group Leader with FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered -facingourrisk.org) will share facts and stories about people with the BRCA gene mutation and share resources for fighting hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. On Saturday, May 14 Heather Durling, founder of the Phoenix Gathering ("The place to Empower, Inspire & Strengthen Adult Survivors of Child Abuse" thephoenixgathering.com) will talk about her own experience and how survivors can get support and "Be who you were MEANT to be, and not who you were told to be!" Durling's talk is recommended for mature audiences only.

Rosenbaum explains that CALYPSO'S CORNER is "about some subjects that are incredibly important to me, and I want the play to spark discussion and conversation. People don't talk about child abuse. It's as taboo as cancer once was. Many adult survivors are locked up, and the wonderful thing about art is that it helps people think about the difficult subjects. I love that Open Book is having speakers before some performances, because that's part of the dialogue."

To expand the dialogue each performance will be followed by a discussion with the playwright and artists. Audience members are invited to stay and ask questions about the play, process, and subject, as well as give feedback to the playwright, who is looking forward to seeing her play come to life in front of an audience. "I can't help myself; I'm going to be at all the performances. I want to hear people's reactions and understand how the play has touched them. I want to know if they can relate as parents, as sons and daughters. I've been developing the script for so long, and I'm anticipating that moment when the characters come to life on the stage. That's why theater is beautiful. Everything's all right there, and we can't ignore feelings or topics or relationships," Rosenbaum said.

The play is directed by Angie Kane Ferrante. This is Kane Ferrante's first time directing for Open Book, although she has directed for many area theatres including The Purple Rose and AKT Theatre Project. The cast includes Stebert Davenport, Dave Davies, Jenna Hinton, Krista Schafer Ewbank and Diana Turner. Danielle Gilbert is the stage manager, Harley Miah is designing lights, and Kane Ferrante is designing the set and sound.

"I hope audiences take away how important family is in this world. How getting to know them, or who they were once, is vital to understanding who they are now," added stage manager Gilbert.

Performances:
Friday, May 6 at 8pm
Saturday, May 7 at 8pm (7:30pm preshow talk with Tamra Marinello on hereditary cancer)
Friday, May 13 at 8pm
Saturday, May 14 at 8pm (7:30pm preshow talk with Heather Durling about being an adult survivor of child abuse)
Sunday, May 15 at 2pm
Thursday, May 19 at 8pm
Friday, May 20 at 8pm
Saturday, May 21 at 8pm

Tickets are $20, $15 for students and seniors. Groups of 10 or more receive a $3 discount off all tickets. For tickets and more information visit www.openbooktc.com or call 734 288-7753. Performances will be held at Penelope's Venue, 12219 Dix Toledo Road, Southgate, MI 48195.

Pictured: Stebert Davenport and Jenna Hinton as adult cousins who find a deeper connection through books and personal stories. Photo by Angie Kane Ferrante.




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