Under the thirty foot wings of Jeffrey Schrier’s installation Unfinished Flight, Vicki Addesso, Susan Hodara, Joan Potter, and Lori Toppel will present Still Here, a performance piece adapted from their collaborative memoir, “Still Here Thinking of You: A Second Chance With Our Mothers” (Big Table Publishing, 2013). Still Here will be one of two plays taking place on Saturday, March 29th and Sunday, March 30th, the first weekend of the Acting Out: Words that Connect series.
What inspired the original writing group that eventually led to your collaborative memoir, and source for your upcoming performance, “Still Here Thinking of You: A Second Chance With Our Mothers”?
We first met in a memoir writing workshop that Joan taught at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center, and the four of us eventually became friends. In 2006 we decided to form our own writers' group, which has been meeting weekly since then in Susan's dining room. Initially we were writing our own stories, but before long we found ourselves unexpectedly writing about our mothers, and decided to put our short memoirs together into a book.
What prompted you to take your collective memoir and realize it in a new form: performance? We have always been inspired to explore telling our stories in different formats, and we liked taking on the challenge of transforming it into a performance.
What has been your experience taking your stories from traditional readings to this upcoming theater piece? How has thinking about your book as a theatrical performance shifted the way in which you will present your stories? We looked for dramatic excerpts from our longer pieces and then wove them together, and the way they connected so effortlessly reminded us of the universality of our relationships with our mothers.
How does envisioning your performance in front of Jeffery Schrier’s installation, “Unfinished Flight”, change your approach to your stories? The wingspan of Schrier's installation made us think of the embracing aspects of motherhood, both negative and positive. Also, we liked the correspondence between the individual tabs on the sculpture and the accumulation of our small passages.
What were your most treasured discoveries/experiences in writing this collective memoir? The relationships that developed among the four of us, and the way we helped one another to strengthen our writing, and to see new things about our own mothers.
Visit www.hvcca.org for more information on the Acting Out: Words that Connect Series. Tickets are available on the website or call 914.788.0100