Joan Kohn and Amanda Powell | pic by Anthony Aicardi

Joan Kohn and Amanda Powell | pic by Anthony Aicardi

The Chicago Tribune reviews the world premiere of THE ART OF DISAPPEARING and gives it 3 Stars in a review by Kerry Reid:

 

“Stephanie Alison Walker’s “The Art of Disappearing,” now in a sharp and often emotionally vital world premiere at 16th Street Theater, tackles the subject of dementia, the topic of many films and plays in recent years, from “Still Alice” to Bruce Graham’s “The Outgoing Tide” at Northlight Theatre a few years ago. As in Graham’s play, the central figures in Walker’s piece are a married couple and their grown child who has a conflicted relationship with the ailing parent. But both Walker’s play and director Ann Filmer’s staging take a fresh and mostly unsentimental approach to the question of how much forgetting and forgiving we need to do in times of crisis.


Read the entire Chicago Tribune review here.


Buy tickets here.

 
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Joan Kohn as Charolotte and Tom McElroy as Henry in the world premiere of The Art of Disappearing - picture by Anthony Aicardi

Joan Kohn as Charolotte and Tom McElroy as Henry in the world premiere of The Art of Disappearing – picture by Anthony Aicardi

 

THE ART OF DISAPPEARING

opened on Thursday night with the press premiere and I want everyone in the entire world to come see it. I’m so proud of this production. Our team is amazing and I can’t say enough wonderful things about everyone involved.

 

I had the incredible privilege to talk to the audience each night after the performances while I was in Chicago. This play is reaching people on a level that I had hoped. It’s not an easy one, but Chicago audiences are taking it in and allowing it to jostle and move them. They came out and filled the house on Saturday for both performances during a snowstorm which turned into a blizzard. Chicago doesn’t scare easily.

 

Thank you, Chicago, for being so sublimely real. Thank you for being drawn to this work. Thank you for taking a chance on a new playwright and a new play.

 

It’s playing at 16th Street Theater in Berwyn. If you don’t know this theater, you should. You can get to know it from afar by reading this piece from AMERICAN THEATRE MAGAZINE, or you can get to know it in person by coming to see my play.


If I may, I recommend a pre-show dinner at Capri or Autre Monde. Both on Roosevelt. Lovely food and atmosphere.

 

And if you are the type to read reviews before a show, here is one from Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times:

 

“The Art of Disappearing” Captured In Painfully Honest Drama – Chicago Sun-Times

 

The theater is an intimate 49 seats, so get your tickets before they are gone. HERE.

 
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I am currently running my first crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo to raise funds for the World Premiere of my play THE ART OF DISAPPEARING at 16th Street Theatre!
 

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It happens.

A playwright falls in love with her cast in an early reading and simply can’t imagine the play without them. It happened to me three years ago in a basement rehearsal room under fluorescent lights at Chicago Dramatists. Ann Filmer was directing the Saturday Series reading of my play, The Art of Disappearing. In a classic Filmer stroke of brilliance, she cast Tom McElroy and Joan Kohn to play the mother and father. I fell for both of them. Hard.
 

Here we are three years later preparing to launch the world premiere of my play and I admit it. I can’t let either of them go. They have been with me now for three years and the world premiere would not be the same without them both. Together. The chemistry they create together on stage in this play is magical. It’s everything I envision. And I want you to see it.
 

So what’s the problem?

 

Well, they’re both Equity actors and we are only budgeted for one Equity contract. We can’t afford two. That means we have a gap to fill to be able to make this particular brew of stage magic.
We’re committed to premiering this play with both of them. And we need your help to make it happen.

 

Will you help fulfill this playwright’s dream?

 

For a video, more information and to donate to our campaign, visit the campaign on Indiegogo.

 
Thank you for considering lending your support to our campaign.

If you can’t donate, would you be willing to share to help spread the word far and wide?

Thank you!

-Steph

 
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Over ten years ago I began writing a full-length play called
THE ART OF DISAPPEARING.

I wrote a fast draft in a graduate class taught by David Scott Milton.

I painstakingly revised it in a Saturday workshop led by Lee Wochner and filled with wonderfully smart playwrights including EM Lewis, Terence Anthony, Ross Tedford Kendall and Michael David (among others.)

I had readings at Moving Arts, The Black Box Theatre (with ALAP,) The Blank Theatre and Chicago Dramatists.

I sent it out to countless theaters and received countless rejections.

It was a finalist for the Princess Grace Award and a semi-finalist for the O’Neill.

It’s been rewritten and reworked and finally after all of this, it found a champion.

That champion is Ann Filmer who directed the Chicago Dramatists’ reading.

She saw something in my work and committed to giving it a world premiere at her 16th Street Theater in Berwyn, IL.

And it’s finally happening.

We have a production team.

We have a cast.

We have an opening date– January 29, 2015.

It’s starting to feel real.

My life looks unbelievably different than when I wrote the first draft of this play. I’m a mom to two young boys now. I write in the brief moments when both boys are asleep and I’m awake. Sometimes I write standing up in the kitchen in between cooking breakfast and packing lunch.

 

Mostly, I write in my head in those quiet moments when I’m nursing my ten-month-old. Or when I’m driving home from school pick-up and my four-year-old is too tired to ask me the million questions he has about why we’re in a drought or why that person on the billboard has no teeth. Or whether or not I can smell his fart.

I never expected it to take this long to give a full life to my play.
They say it takes a long time. If ever.
And I am just so grateful that it’s really happening.
I’m grateful for every step along the way.
I’m grateful to all the people involved in the development of this play and mostly my husband for believing in me. Bob, you never once said it wouldn’t happen. Thank you.

Now it’s about the work. And the collaboration. I love my collaborators and am so excited to be working on the actual production. Rehearsals begin in December. I get to start my new year in a rehearsal room in Berwyn, IL with some of the most talented artists I’ve ever known.

I’ll be posting more details here as we get closer to the production.

If you’re in Chicago, I hope you’ll come see my play.

 
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“Fierce and troubling… Walker’s play is full of surprises. And it is rooted in the kind of harrowing truths few people want to confront.” – Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

“Strong… Disturbing… very human.” – Mark Eleveld, New City

Tom McElroy as Henry, Amanda Powell as Melissa and Joan Kohn as Charolotte | Photo by Anthony Aicardi

Tom McElroy as Henry, Amanda Powell as Melissa and Joan Kohn as Charolotte | Photo by Anthony Aicardi


Synopsis

When Melissa receives a mysterious invitation to brunch from her mother after a two-year estrangement, she returns to a home where nothing is as it seems. Fathers lie, friends leave and she herself is failing in the artist’s world she covets- as her mother practices the art of disappearing before her very eyes. The devastating truth she discovers in her parents’ house threatens to tear all of them apart for good. Will Melissa stay and fight for her family? Or will she disappear too?

 

A full-length drama in two acts

2 W/ 2 M

 

Awards

Semi-finalist for the 2013 O’Neill Playwrights Conference

-Finalist for the 2008 Princess Grace Award

 

Production history

World Premiere | 16th Street Theater | Directed by Ann Filmer | January 22 through February 28, 2015 | TICKETS ON SALE NOW
This production is JEFF RECOMMENDED.
About 16th Street Theater 


Past staged readings include:

 

March 24, 2012Chicago Dramatists – Saturday Series – Chicago

March 2009 – The Blank Theatre – Living Room Series – Los Angeles

 

For more information about The Art of Disappearing or to read the play, please contact me at stephawalker at gmail dot com


Or download the script through the New Play Exchange here.

 
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I’m one happy playwright. Tomorrow is the Chicago Dramatists reading of my full-length play, THE ART OF DISAPPEARING.

I began writing this play just over 9 years ago. 9 years! And tomorrow it is getting a wonderful reading by an extraordinary cast of actors at the place where I took my first playwriting class taught by Lisa Dillman.

This play has had readings and was a finalist for the 2008 Princess Grace Award for Playwriting. But I have never felt as confident about it as I do today. I’ve put so much into it and had so many supportive voices along the way.

From my playwriting class with David Scott Milton in grad school at USC (where I began writing it) to Lee Wochner’s Workshop in Silver Lake where I began to rewrite it, and the wonderful organizations (Moving Arts, The Blank, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights) actors and directors who have given their time to it along the way.

Tomorrow’s reading is being directed by Ann Filmer. I’m loving working with her on the play. We are having such fun… which is saying something considering the heavy subject matter.

This cast is so good that in rehearsal the other night, one of the actors exclaimed, “When do we mount this?!”

I responded, “That’s what I want to know.”

I truly believe that this play is ready for a production. And I’d be one happy and lucky playwright if it were with this director and this cast.

I’m so grateful to Chicago Dramatists – specifically David Barr and Russ Tutterow – for inviting me into this process. It’s restored my faith in this work. And I needed that. Because let’s face it, after nine years of writing and rewriting and sending it out and getting rejected… well, that faith can be shaken.

But today, I’m 100% behind this play. For better or worse. And I’m visualizing its opening night. Hopefully here in Chicago. Because this is where the play is set.

Tomorrow is the reading. Where I get to hear what works, what doesn’t, where it drags, where it soars, where it confuses, where it intrigues, where it alienates and where it lands.

It’s always a nerve wrecking experience. But this time I have NINE years of work behind me. I’m ready. And I’m supported by a brilliant director and cast.

Me = Happy playwright

If you’re interested in attending the reading… here is the info:

“The Art of Disappearing”

by Stephanie Alison Walker

directed by Ann Filmer.

Cast includes:
Joan Kohn
Meghan Reardon
Thomas Edson McElroy
Zach Kenney
Weston Blakesley

synopsis:

When Melissa receives a mysterious invitation to brunch from her mother after a two-year estrangement, she returns to a home where nothing is as it seems. The devastating truth she discovers in her parents’ house threatens to tear all of them apart for good.

Come on out, have a listen, stay for the talk back and talk back.

$5 donation.

Saturday, March 24

2PM

Chicago Dramatists (at Chicago and Ogden)

 
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