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IMAGINING RACHEL Solo Show Runs at Unmuted Participants Online Festival

The one woman production is written and performed by Elise Robertson.

IMAGINING RACHEL Solo Show Runs at Unmuted Participants Online Festival

Writer/actor/director Elise Robertson unravels her own coming-of-age in an attempt to get to the truth about environmental icon and fellow Pittsburgher Rachel Carson's nature in her digital solo show Imagining Rachel.

Rachel Carson is known for exposing the damage that pesticides were doing to man and nature both, but fiercely guarded her own privacy. She hid her battle with breast cancer even as her book Silent Spring called out DDT as a carcinogen, fearing she would be labeled hysterical (she was anyway). She also hid the truth about her niece's out-of-wedlock child (whom she later adopted), and her relationship with Maine neighbor Dorothy Freeman.

Growing up less than 12 miles from Rachel, 40 years later, Elise interweaves her own life experience to provide counterpoint, context, and comic relief. In this two-hour show, she plays both women as they bend time to connect at different ages and share their experiences as women, environmentalists, artists, and mothers. Is art selfish? What is a heroic act? Where does nature end and humanity begin?

Developed during the pandemic, Imagining Rachel was conceived and staged by Robertson in her tiny backyard studio using an eclectic mix of found props, greenscreen backgrounds, stop motion animation, multiple zoom screens, and more. The result is a groundbreaking digital storytelling experience-a whimsical, immersive journey that feels both sweeping and intimate, in which Robertson plays multiple characters over the course of a century, all without leaving her office chair.

As a filmmaker, Elise Robertson is known for her dramatic adaptations of literary works for PBS, directing dark feature-length period thriller Donner Pass, and her feminist reimagining of the Peter Pan story, Darling, Darling, Wendy. Many audiences will recognize Robertson from her acting work, including the Academy Award-nominated film American Sniper, as well as hit television series' NCIS, Masters of Sex, This is Us, and many more. She recurs in the upcoming Amazon Studios series The Power. A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native, Robertson graduated from Northwestern University's Theatre department with a minor in fine art.

Imagining Rachel is Elise's first solo show. It was developed in the Los Angeles-based online solo collective Unmuted Participants, where Robertson is a founding member. In 2021 the piece toured digitally to the Edinburgh Fringe and 2022 sees it visit the New Zealand and Brighton Fringes digitally, in addition to its current festival.

Showing as part of Unmuted Participants First Annual Online Solo Flight: a collection of Solo Performances, it will be available online, on-demand beginning April 10 and will have an interactive Premiere Showing with talkback via Zoom on April 20 at 7 PM PST in honor of Earth Day.

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