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Life stories

Rosendale Theatre stages Too Much Information (TMI) memoir project this Saturday

by Ann Hutton
June 02, 2011 11:38 AM | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
How much information do we really need about another person’s life experience? When is one’s knowledge of what it means to be human ever enough? We crave each other’s stories like chocolate and water, acknowledgment and love. And it does body and soul good to tell our own.

Too Much Information (TMI), a project of Starling Productions, is a platform for being heard powerfully. Twelve women take the stage to speak with authenticity and truth, telling things about themselves that define them for better or worse. With poignant, funny, raw monologues, they reach into the lives of audience members to strike chords of compassion and empathy. It’s a dramatic undertaking that evolved out of the Women’s Experimental Theater Group.

“I’ve been doing self-created theater since the early 1990s,” says Eva Tenuto, founder of the Women’s Experimental Theater Group. She raised over $20,000 for HOPE’s Fund, directing the Vagina Monologues starring Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winner Melissa Leo. TMI is the result of her collaboration with Sari Botton (freelance journalist, essayist, New York Times best-selling ghostwriter and adjunct professor at SUNY-Albany) and other women who wanted to bring the fundraising project to a more personal level by writing monologues of their own. “Everybody has good stories to tell, and using real people – citizen actors who have never performed before – brings something else to the production,” she says.

The current cast includes Tenuto, Botton, Julie Novak, Patty Curry, Fatima Deen, Jess Barry, Marta Waterman, Stephanie Ellis, Valerie Eagle, Brenda Eagle Davis, Nancy Plumer and Pam Vincenza, presenting all-new work that was developed in a ten-week memoir-writing workshop co-led by Tenuto and Botton. “The process is threefold: We find the story that is most important for the teller to tell. Editing one-on-one, we sculpt the story, cutting away the extra and finding the essential. Then we bring the story to life and rehearse the finalized piece for performance.”

The recent show at Shadowland in Ellenville brought audience members out of their seats with heartfelt applause. Too Much Information will be performed again at the Rosendale Theatre on Saturday, June 4 at 8 p.m. And beginning in July, Starling Productions will hold TMI Story Slams that will be open to the public. A topic will be announced, and people can bring a five-minute-long written piece to perform. “All our experience so far is on women’s stories. But men are hugely unexpressed in our society, and I don’t want to exclude them. We are looking to take this process into communities that will benefit from telling their stories, their truths and their experiences. Everyone wants to be heard.”

Tickets to Too Much Information are $15 and can be purchased in advance at the Rosendale Theatre box office or online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/176415. Watch for information on the TMI Story Slam to be held at Market Market in Rosendale on July 14 at 8 p.m. Starling Productions’ mission is to enrich and transform individuals and communities through creative and personal development, educational workshops and the power of performance. For more information about HOPE’s Fund, see http://hopesfund.org/about-us/what-we-do.

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