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SILENT JOY Makes Premiere At Hollywood Fringe!

SILENT JOY Makes Premiere At Hollywood Fringe!

In making her Hollywood Fringe debut, director, playwright and Orange County native Melissa Ordaz was looking for a piece to present that was timely, poignant and special to truly make an impact on this festival of her peers. It turns out, she needed only to look at her brother Zach Beckert and his graphic novel that not only highlights a different perspective on mental illness and suicide, but does so through two incredibly intriguing and unique characters.

As such, Silent Joy will make its world premiere at studio/stage this June as part of Hollywood Fringe.

Silent Joy tells the story of a girl trapped by her own demons who decides to help a kind, mute boy named Joy whose mouth is sewn shut. Together they set out on an epic journey, facing otherworldly perils, to seek revenge on the person that inflicted this abuse on Joy. In the end, the heroine must face her darkest memories to find redemption for her friend and discover the truth about herself. A modern narrative from an upcoming graphic novel that was inspired by the classic quest story, Dante's "Inferno", Silent Joy is an enthralling tale of friendship and forgiveness that at once deals with the messiness of humanity and contemplates the reasons for existence.

"I was drawn to this story because of the way that it examines the psyche of the protagonist from the inside out," Ordaz said. "Instead of seeing a girl contemplating suicide in the real world and guessing that there is a lot under the surface, this play is told from the vantage point of 'under the surface' with only moments of seeing how that bubbles up and affects the real world. I think that brings a whole new understanding and appreciation for the epic battles that a lot of people fight internally on a daily basis. And ultimately, this is a show of hope and not succumbing to those internal battles."

Ordaz is directing the show, which had staged readings in both Orange County and L.A. late last year, before making its official debut at Fringe. The show is not only unique in its origin, coming from a graphic novel, it was also completely developed through the devising process, working with an ensemble. Plus, the production will feature an original score with two live musicians, composed by Ordaz' husband, acclaimed performer Matt Ordaz.

Melissa Ordaz is thrilled to take part in this year's Fringe, especially with a story that carries so powerful a message. In dealing with such a delicate topic, Ordaz has partnered up with some suicide prevention organizations.

"We hope to inspire and encourage those that are fighting," she said. "And hopefully build empathy and increase awareness/understanding in those who do not struggle in this way."

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