Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) presents the world premiere of A THOUSAND WORDS by Wisconsin-based playwright Gwendolyn Rice, February 16 - March 11, 2012 in collaboration with Forward Theater Company of Madison. A THOUSAND WORDS performs in the Broadway Theatre Center's Studio Theatre in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward.
In A THOUSAND WORDS, Sally Quinn, a quick-witted curator from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, travels to the Midwest in search of antique quilts for a new exhibit. But she stumbles upon something altogether more intriguing: a young woman who might provide a special connection to some rare photographs, and the renowned photographer Walker Evans. Jumping back and forth from the present to the 1930s, Rice explores the complexities of the art world, personal relationships and, above all, the stories we hold dear.
In 2008 A THOUSAND WORDS was chosen as a Wisconsin Wrights New Play Project award recipient which led to a staged reading as part of MCT's 2008-2009 Montgomery Davis Play Development Series.
Playwright Gwendolyn Rice originally conceived A THOUSAND WORDS after reading a small article in the newspaper about the discovery of a cache of Evans's photos in a Key West, Florida, bar. "This story fascinated me. Unfamiliar with the photographer Walker Evans, or his work, I started researching him and studying his remarkably evocative pictures. He eventually became a main character in the play."
Rice describes the play as, "focusing on many types of art – from the stunning black and white pictures commissioned by The Farm Security Administration, to crude patchwork quilts from Kansas. It also explores the relationship between art and commerce, and the search for authenticity on both personal and artistic levels."
Based in Madison, playwright Gwendolyn Rice has won awards for short fiction as well as playwriting, and has had plays produced in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. She is also the author of the book The Coronado Theatre: Rockford's Crown Jewel. When not writing, she works in marketing and fundraising for non-profit arts organizations and she currently serves as the communications director at Forward Theater Company. She a holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and a master's degree from UW-Madison.
This unique collaboration between Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and Forward Theater Company begins with a three-week run of A THOUSAND WORDS at the Overture Center in Madison, January 19 – February 5, 2012. Then the entire production (cast, set, costumes, etc.) moves to Milwaukee for a run at the Broadway Theatre Center's Studio Theatre, February 16 - March 11, 2012.
Forward Theater Artistic Director Jennifer Uphoff Gray directs a cast of six, featuring American Players Theatre company member Sarah Day (THE DESERT QUEEN, MADAME DE SADE), Josh Aaron McCabe (THE MOONLIGHT ROOM, MISALLIANCE), Milwaukee favorites Georgina McKee (CRIMES OF THE HEART) and Molly Rhode (TRYING). Libby Amato and T. Stacy Hicks make their MCT mainstage debuts in A THOUSAND WORDS.