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:
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,
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!
Ever wonder what it was like to be a Serbian middle schooler in the 1980s? On February 24, the wonderful Arcadia Conrad performed “The New Disease” by Ksenia Lakovic. Big thanks to Ryan Alpers to capturing this on film.
It is our hope to produce another show in the next few months. We are currently seeking venue space. Feel free to email us if you have ideas–or better yet, space to offer!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
One of the best parts of curating Play On Words shows is cultivating relationships with artists whose stories we learn over time. Such is the case with Bay Area writer Allison Landa, whose book Bearded Lady shares a first-person account of living with an adrenal condition that causes excess hair growth as well as obesity, infertility, and male-pattern balding in female sufferers. Over the years we’ve gotten to see this story blossom and gained insight into the main character, whose perspective of the world is shaped in part by her physiological experience. When it comes to new terrains, however, this character is caught off guard by one thing: love. We’re delighted to perform “When the Bearded Lady Found Love” this Sunday, February 24, at the San Jose Museum of Art.
Allison is a Berkeley, CA-based writer of fiction and memoir whose work has been featured in The Guardian US, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and The Mighty, among other venues. Landa earned an MFA in creative writing from St. Mary’s College of California and is represented by Miriam Altshuler of DeFiore & Co. She is a city of Berkeley Civic Arts Grant awardee, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and recipient of the Ginny Rorby YA Scholarship Recipient at the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference and the Lee Standiford Memorial Scholarship Recipient at Writers in Paradise. Her residencies include Playa Summer Lake, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and The Julia and David White Artists’ Colony.
Her work has been featured, not only here at POW, but also at Flash Fiction Forum, Why There Are Words, Lip Service West, Quiet Lightning, Porchlight SF, Fireside Storytelling, About Last Night Storytelling, Get Lit, Anne and Mark’s Art Party.
Allison will be teaching a class called “Writing From the Edge” at the Book Passage in Corte Madera on March 30 from 10 am to 4 pm.
What inspired you to participate in Play On Words? I love this series! I’m so honored to see my work go live in the hands of a talented actor!
Which writers or performers inspire you? Stephen King and Jackie Collins. Seriously. Spalding Gray. Dave Eggers. Charles Blow. Tommy Tomlinson. Joyce Maynard. You, probably.
Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you. Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman. She has no qualms about being seen as a difficult-to-like narrator in the name of candor. I also loved seeing Robin Williams live at Bimbo’s years ago. RIP, man.