Ronald Feichtmeir reads “Shrine of Sain Sakhianwala” by Anniqua Rana

Ronald Feichtmeir has an undeniable stage presence, one that he communicates in a careful, hushed voice, and elevates with unique characters and gestures. We knew while reading Anniqua Rana’s “Shrine of Sain Sakhianwala” that he was the right man for the part. And he didn’t disappoint–check out his wonderful performance from our February 24 New Terrains show at the San Jose Museum of Art:

This piece is an excerpt of Rana’s forthcoming novel, Wild Boar in the Cane Field. She will be reading from it on May 19 at the Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino.

Thanks to Ryan Alpers for filming this and to Branden Frederick for taking photos.

“Pedacitos” and “Hija de Tejas” by Anjela Villarreal Ratliff

How can you find pieces of yourself? We were moved by #powsj actor Ivette Deltoro’s performance of “Pedacitos” by San Jose State graduate and Texas poet Anjela Villarreal Ratliff. Check out her reading from our February 24 at the San Jose Museum of Art:

Following our intermission, #powsj casting director and actor Melinda Marks performed “Hija de Tejas,” another beautiful poem by Anjela:

Big thanks to Ryan Alpers for filming this and Branden Frederick for taking photos.

Want more #powsj magic? So do we! Contact us if you’d like to be a partner for our next show,

 

 

Christina Shon reads “Bright Hope”

At Play On Words, part of our calling card is finding the right actor to perform someone else’s work. This allows the writer to hear an interpretation of his or her work and gain insight into how the audience reacts. With Christina Shon’s beautiful and personal essay, “Bright Hope,” however, we knew there was only one person to do the piece justice: herself.

Not only did she slay the performance, she arrived in a gorgeous Korean dress called a hanbok, adding depth and meaning to every word. Thanks to Ryan Alpers for capturing this on film and to Branden Frederick for taking photos.

Thank you, Christina, for this heartfelt and moving performance. We’ve enjoyed working with you over the years (we first read her story “Closure” in 2015–and you can watch Laurel Brittan’s performance of her 2018 piece, “Bleeding Heart”), and are sorry to see you move to Colorado! We hope to follow along in your literary career as you continue sharing stories with the world.

P.S. We are currently seeking a venue for our next show. If you’re interested in partnering with us, please contact us to learn more!

Melinda Marks reads “Chimes” by Keenan Flagg

Last month we were thrilled to fill San Jose Museum of Art’s Wendel Gallery with stories, friends, and conversation. Many thanks to all of the writers, performers, artists and volunteers who made this show possible. We are excited to share footage from each of the pieces performed, starting with Keenan Flagg’s poem “Chimes,” performed by POW casting director and co-founder Melinda Marks:

Want more Keenan in your life? Check out City Lights Theatre’s production of “Eurydice,” adapted by Sarah Ruhl and interpreted in American Sign Language. The show runs through April 14.

Big thanks to Ryan Alpers for capturing our show on film.

 

Watch #NewTerrains with Witty Bantr

Well, we did it, friends: We filled the San Jose Museum of Art’s Wendel Gallery with beautiful stories, wonderful performances and even better people. Thank you to all the artists, writers, performers, friends, family and community members who joined us Sunday for an amazing show.

Over the next few weeks and months we’ll be rolling out photos and videos of each individual performance, but until then, #powsj contributor Anniqua Rana of the Witty Bantr podcast has graciously shared her recording of the entire show, which opens with Ronald Feichtmeir’s reading of her piece, “The Shrine of Sain Makhianwala.” In case you missed it, watch the whole show here:

Many thanks to Anniqua and her team for sharing this, and stay tuned for more show recaps in the coming months. Thank you all for exploring new terrains with us.

New Terrains Show is Sold Out

Talk about new terrains, friends: We have just received word that our New Terrains show at the San Jose Museum of Art this Sunday, February 24 is sold out! What does this mean for you?

  • If you already reserved a ticket online, congrats! We’ll see you there.
  • If you haven’t yet, you are still welcome to come to the museum both to visit the exhibits and to see if you can take the place of any potential no-shows. Either way, you should be prepared to pay museum admission (adults: $10, seniors: $8, college students with ID: $6, youth 7-17: $5).
  • If you can’t join us, please check back on our website over the next weeks and months to see footage and photographs from our event. Please also be sure to check out the San Jose Museum of Art when you have time, because not only are they a fantastic partner for us, they offer lots of amazing and diverse programming all year long.
  • If you are an actor or writer participating in the show, please check your email for instructions on how to obtain a POWSJ ticket.

We’re thrilled beyond measure to see our audience growing and look forward to an exciting event on Sunday. Thanks to everyone who made this event happen–most notably Robin Treen of the San Jose Museum of Art, who has been a tireless and resourceful advocate every step of the way.

 

Michelle Myers’ “Norma”

Could death be a new terrain? In “Norma,” Michelle Suzann Myers explores the journey one woman makes to create a new life for her family while mourning the loss of her own mother. We were compelled by Michelle’s moving piece and look forward to performing it this Sunday, February 24, at the San Jose Museum of Art.

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Michelle Suzann Myers

Born and raised in San Jose, California, whilst it was still the Valley of the Heart’s Delight, and once more a proud resident, Michelle Suzann Myers supports her meandering writing journey as a bilingual psychotherapist in private practice.  Myers holds degrees from the University of San Francisco and Santa Clara University.  After graduating with sociology and English writing degrees from USF, Myers headed to Dallas, Texas as a legal aide for refugees with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She then escaped to Sao Paulo, Brazil for four years, volunteering in support of women and girls. Myers was fortunate enough to learn of social justice, human rights, and mysticism in her early spiritual formation, and still has hope for the loving transformation of this world.

Her story  “Communion on the Road” was published in the anthology, Sanctuary (DarkHouse Books, 2018). She agreed to answer a few questions for us in advance of the show.
What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?
My writing teacher, Lita Kurth, and the wild, witchy, wise women of my Friday morning writing group inspired me to submit my work to Play on Words. Participating in the last performance at Cafe Stritch gave me a new lease on life–just thrilling!
Which writers have inspired you?
Laura Nichols, Ph.D., Kristin Heyer, Ph.D., Mary Oliver, Anne Lamott, Rumi, Hafiz, Barbara Kingsolver, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Join us at 2 pm February 24 to see Michelle’s work performed live! Reserve your ticket now to gain free admission to the San Jose Museum of Art and RSVP on Facebook to let us know you’re coming.

Anjela Villarreal Ratliff’s Pedacitos de Tejas

In her poem “Hija de Tejas,” Anjela Villarreal Ratliff writes that “the body seeks its way back home.” Sometimes we encounter new terrains inside our body, in the air we breathe, in the cultures we inhabit. We were impressed by Ratliff’s voice and spirit, and are excited to perform two poems–“Hija de Tejas” and “Pedacitos”–this Sunday at the San Jose Museum of Art.

Anjela Villarreal Ratliff headshot 2019
Anjela Villarreal Ratliff

Anjela is a graduate of San Jose State University. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including Chachalaca Review, Boundless, San Pedro River Review, Insterstice, Pilgrimage Magazine, riverSedge: A Journal of Art and Literature; Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poem; and30Poems for the Tricentennial—A Poetic Legacy. A native Tejana, Anjela lives in Austin, Texas.

Anjela has published several poetry chapbooks, including Jardín de Poesía, and Entre Piedra y Sol. Some of her chapbooks have been archived in the Benson Latin American Collection, at the University of Texas in Austin; and at Michigan State University Libraries’ Special Collections. Her poem, “Merged Mundos,” was a winner of the San Antonio Tricentennial Poetry Contest, and interpreted by a graphics artist for the “30 Poems for the Tricentennial” exhibit. Anjela’s poem, “I Exist,” was animated by Francesca Talenti. Her short story, “In My Classroom,” was published in Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul.Several of her poems were winners of the “Poetry With Wheels” contest for Austin Capital Metro. Anjela’s photographic images have appeared in Pilgrimage, San Pedro River Review, riverSedge, About Place Journal, and Interstice. She was the editor of Austin Poetry Society’s MuseLetter. She is also a creative writing workshop presenter.

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

My poem “Dear español” was performed in 2018 by Play on Words. I was thrilled by Ivette Deltoro’s excellent job of interpreting it. I decided to submit work for the 2019 POW Terrain theme, and was pleased to have them accept two of my previously published poems for their upcoming live performance.

Which writers or performers inspire you?

I have been inspired by numerous poets, including Carmen Tafolla, Naomi Shihab Nye, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Julia Alvarez, Billy Collins, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and Octavio Paz, to name a few. Other poets on the contemporary scene whose works I admire include Natasha Trethewey, Tracy K. Smith, Carmen Giménez Smith, and Ada Limón.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

I enjoy the works of the world-renowned poet/writer/performer, Dr. Carmen Tafolla (2012-2014 San Antonio Poet Laureate, and 2015-2016 Texas Poet Laureate). Her collection of poetry and prose, Sonnets to Human Beings and Other Selected Works,is one of my favorites. Her poem “Marked” was of great importance to me in my early years as a poet. Tafolla also performs a one-woman show with an array of great characters, including “Tia Maria.” I have had the pleasure of seeing Tafolla perform several times over the years, and have always come away deeply moved.

Join us at 2 pm February 24 to see Anjela’s work performed live! Reserve your ticket now to gain free admission to the San Jose Museum of Art and RSVP on Facebook to let us know you’re coming.