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Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 2011 Play of the Month: THANK EMILY by Richard Manley

Part 2 is available on the Play of the Month page

Here is the recording of the May 2011 (part 1 of 2) Play of the Month: THANK EMILY by Richard Manley. Performed by Alice Anne English, Claire Warden and Bruce Barton does stage directions. Thanks to everybody for your great work and sharing your talent.

We asked Richard what inspired the play:
I completed Thank Emily just a few days before I sent it to you. It was inspired by two overlapping events. The first was the reading in a literary magazine of an article about the ongoing battle between the academic poets and the natural poets. The work of the academics is often complex in form and dense with literary/historical allusion – and as such, inaccessible to most readers. It tends to be a circle of readership – academic poets read and critique other academic poets. Not always, but often. The natural poets, however, while more popular to the general public, are often dismissed by academia as undisciplined and amateurish. Although there are some wonderful academic poets (e.g., T.S. Eliot), and I have no problem with precision of form and rich language, I tend to side with the latter group. The first poets were shepherds. This unique use of language came from the heart, and was meant to capture life’s passions. Whitman is a prime example.

The second event was a lengthy letter from one of my dearest friends, a woman who came to her love of books relatively late in life. Consequently, she is all curiosity and wonder. There are no assumptions; there is no pretense. She’s just hungry for lovely sentences. The letter’s timing was coincident with reading the article. In the course of describing her experience with a particular book, it was clear she had the work of a shepherd in her hands, and was wringing from it all the emotional satisfaction she could manage and it could provide.

The two women on the train were meant to capture the dichotomy explained in the first paragraph. As an added tweak, Emily Dickinson would probably side with me.

more about Richard and the cast here...
The submissions for the June Play of the Month are currently being accepted (until June 5) and we will announce the winner shortly after that date.

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