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2013 International Voices Project: Tell the story. Change the world.

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NASA image: http://www.earthfed.webs.com

I’m delighted that my play ‘The Almond and the Seahorse’ has been chosen to be presented as part of the International Voices Project in Chicago, later this spring.

The International Voices Project champions the work of global playwrights by creating opportunities to experience new and contemporary international plays in urban settings and on stages throughout Chicago. The initiative fosters new translations, supports the work of translators, and creates ongoing relationships with playwrights from five continents.

‘The Almond and the Seahorse’ was first produced in 2008, the launch production for Sherman Cymru theatre, in Cardiff, Wales. Critically acclaimed, with a 5 star review from the Guardian, (all reviews can be found at http://www.kaiteoreilly.com/plays/almond/index.htm ), the play was also a finalist of the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, which enabled me to have dinner with ‘Ripley’ aka judge Sigourney Weaver in a gentleman’s club in Mayfair – but that, as they say, is a different story.

‘Almond’ is about survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and takes its name from the folk terms for the amygdala and the hippocampus – the almond and the seahorse – components of the brain’s memory circuitry, necessary for the laying down of new traces, ie, the making of new memories. Whist researching the play I became intensely interested in neuropsychology, and trying to understand how our brains work. It’s a fascination which has continued to this day.

TBI has a presence in the majority of peoples’ lives. Over the past three decades the amount of people surviving severe head injury has increased so dramatically, charities in the UK and and US call it ‘the silent epidemic’. With head injury from road accidents, war, assault, and medical conditions such as strokes, there are over 2 million new cases a year in the US alone, and the medical system is not equipped to deal with these figures, so the majority are cared for at home.

But that doesn’t make it all doom and gloom. True to my roots in disability culture, the play rejects notions of victimhood so often associated with major changes in life, and celebrates survivors and the ingenuity and capacity for humans to prevail and thrive.

The Almond and the Seahorse script by Kaite O'Reilly

The play joins an international collection of work from Egypt, Austria, Brazil, Switzerland, Italy, US, and France, with me representing Wales.

The festival begins on March 7th 2013, with ‘Almond’ being presented at Victory Gardens on March 17th, St Patrick’s Day, appropriate for this Irish playwright.

Patrizia Acerra, the executive director of IVP believes this international gathering is important, enabling ‘opportunities for conversation and connection among diverse urban voices. Where might this symphony of voices lead? What opportunities for playwrights and producers might we create? That conversation might be the most exciting of all.’

I’m honoured to be part of the dialogue.

Further information on the International Voices Project can be found at: http://www.ivpchicago.org/

Copies of the playtext is available through GWales.com or Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Almond-Seahorse-Kaite-OReilly/dp/095514664X

6 responses to “2013 International Voices Project: Tell the story. Change the world.

  1. Many congratulations – so good you are there to represent not only this countries culture but also creating a disability dialogue – so privileged and proud to know you

    • You are such a champion not just of my work, but of so many other disabled and Deaf artists. Under your guidance and directorship, DaDa has fostered, nurtured, and showcased much of the talent in the UK and beyond – which is partly why your comment means so much to me. Thank you for your support and all you do.

  2. Congrats, Ms. O’Reilly . . . Reading a bit about The Almond and the Seahorse, and other of your works, reminded me of a wonderful essay I just read titled My Father/My Husband, by David J. Lawless. It’s published in the Best American Essays for 2012. It’s about the bitter-sweet end of a long marriage, beautifully told, mostly in dialogue, and I kept thinking it would make a wonderful short play. And because of the subject matter, Alzheimer’s and dementia, I thought of your award-winning work.

  3. Cogratulatons Kaite!!! What wonderful news!!! You deserve this so much… And how wonderful and so promising that this particular play has been chosen for The International Voices Project… I send you all my love! yiannis

  4. Pingback: AWARDS WATCH: And the 2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for best play by a woman goes to…. | in the theater of One World

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