Ronald Feichtmeir reads Michelle Qiao’s “The City Across the River”

On February 24, we were thrilled to perform work by Play On Words’ youngest contributor, eighth grader Michelle Qiao. The multitalented Ronald Feichtmeir closed out our New Terrains show at the San Jose Museum of Art with his performance of “The City Across the River”:

Thanks to Ryan Alpers for filming and Branden Frederick for taking photos, as well as all of the amazing writers, performers, artists and friends who helped make this show happen. We hope to host more POW shows in the months to come, so stay tuned to learn how you can participate!

Tonya Duncan reads “Dead at the Palm Court Hotel” by Arcadia Conrad

Have you ever had dinner with your late grandparent? How about a drink with your long-dead grandmother? We were taken by Arcadia Conrad’s “Dead at the Palm Court Hotel,” which actor Tonya Duncan knocked out of the park at our Feb. 24 show at the San Jose Museum of Art:

Big thanks to Ryan Alpers for filming and Branden Frederick for being our trusty photographer. We hope to have another show this summer or fall–contact us if you’re interested in participating!

Nita Lambert reads “Norma” by Michelle Suzann Myers

Sometimes the sacrifices of seeking a better life feel like a catch-22. Just ask “Norma,” the protagonist of Michelle Suzann Myers’ piece, who gives up everything for a better life in California. We were treated to a special performance by Nita Duarte Lambert on February 24 at the San Jose Museum of Art:

Muchísimas gracias to the lovely Nita for this moving reading, to Michelle for sharing her work for us, to Ryan Alpers for filming and to Branden Frederick for taking photos.

Keenan Flagg reads Tony Press’ “Postcards from the Underground”

How many parents must learn to read between the lines–or gauge the distance between postcards? Last February our pal Keenan Flagg performed Tony Press’ wonderful “Postcards from the Underground” at the San Jose Museum of Art. Thanks to Ryan Alpers for capturing this on film:

Thanks, as always, to our writers for loaning us their words, and to our actors for making their stories come to life. Photography by Branden Frederick.

Nita Lambert reads “When the Bearded Lady Found Love” by Allison Landa

What does love look like, act like, feel like? Sometimes it is possible to be overtaken by a feeling, a person, a moment in time. We were so moved by Nita Duarte Lambert’s poignant performance of “When the Bearded Lady Found Love” by Allison Landa. Watch her February 24 reading at our New Terrains show at the San Jose Museum of Art:

Big thanks, of course, to Allison and Nita, and to Ryan Alpers for filming and Branden Frederick for taking photos of this wonderful afternoon.

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.

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.

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.