It’s an inevitable interview question, “What drew you to theatre?” It might not be those exact words but my response is always the same: storytelling. Stories are important to me and integral to all of our lives. ITW’s next project will be exploring storytelling in the community of Shelter Island. Shelter Island is small island tucked between the two forks of the East End of Long Island covered in winding roads from which you can see colorful old Victorian homes, sailboats skimming the water in the distance and sweet shops. When I was growing up it was a special treat to visit Shelter Island. We would take the seven-minute ferry ride and spend hours running around on the beach collecting tiny orange shells or biking around those winding roads. It is an island with a long history (first settled in 1652) and a truly fascinating community.
This project was originally developed as Across the Bridge at Boston University School of Theatre in partnership with the Kilchand Honors College. The goal of the project was to connect students across different disciplines through storytelling. The process began with a storytelling workshop with both Kilchand Honors College students and Theatre Arts students. The students answered the questions in the workshop with beautiful, awkward and funny stories. After the workshop, the interviews were transcribed and edited into monologues and scenes. The pieces were then rehearsed and finally the show was performed for the storytellers and their peers. The personal quality of the stories and the fact that the original storytellers were a part of the audience made the experience powerful and unique. The storytellers expressed an appreciation to the ensemble and some even discovered something new about their stories after seeing them dramatized.
This spring we will be traveling to Shelter Island and following a similar path in presenting Replay. Made possible by our hosts, the Shelter Island Public Library and the Shelter Island Historical Society, we will interview residents who have volunteered for the project, create dramatic pieces and rehearse on the Island. At the end of the week we will be performing the stories in the gorgeous Havens Barn at the Shelter Island Historical Society. We are grateful to our participants for sharing their stories and look forward to meeting them!
Rachel C. Lucas