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Death Valley: A Love Story

A still-evolving stage play inspired by the journals, collages, and photographs
of Carol Emerson, LCSW and David Nutter, M.D.
Used by permission.

I am delighted to announce that I have been invited to develop “Death Valley: A Love Story” at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre in Frederick, MD, during a two-week residency in July.  There will be public rehearsed readings at the mid-way point and at the end of the residency.  Details to follow.

“Death Valley: A Love Story” was recently released by Samaritan Counseling Center in a revised version as a DVD with guidebook for therapeutic uses in grief counseling.  More info at http://scclanc.org/counseling-services/death-valley-a-love-story-dvd-therapeutic-guide/.

Here’s a link to the trailer:  https://vimeo.com/173086708.  To view, copy and paste the link into your browser.

First public screening Sunday, May 15, 2016, 2 and 4 pm. at Tellus360, Lancaster, PA.

Film by Andrea Campbell, http://naturallightfilms.com

Additional theatrical direction by Laura Korach Howell, http://peoplesshakespeareproject.org

Featuring Mary-Sarah Agliotta as Carol, http://mary-sarah.com.

Available with “The Landscape of Grief: a Guidebook” from Samaritan Counseling Center, http://scclanc.org.  See under “Resources.”

DVD only:  http://naturalfilms.com

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Theatrical director Laura Korach Howell, film director Andrea Campbell and lead actor Mary Sarah Agliotta confer on set.

DEATH VALLEY POSTCARDThe beautiful postcard designed by Carol Emerson for the first public rehearsed reading of the stage version at Tellus360 in Lancaster, PA, on August 22 and 25, 2013, directed by Laura Korach Howell and featuring Lisa Budwig, Anne Meeder, and Carol Woodman.

First full, workshop production:  The Open Eye Theater, Margaretville, NY

September 4 – 7 and September 11 – 14, 2014

Directed by Amie Brockway Henson (http://www.theopeneyetheater.org)

Another rehearsed reading, arranged by Fractal Productions, will be held on Saturday, November 12, 2016, 3:30 p.m., at the Shelter Studios, 244 W. 54th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue) in New York City.  A 30-minute talkback will follow.

CHARACTERS (stage version only; the filmed version features one on-screen actor plus voice-overs)

Three actors play all play CAROL, who is an artist, a therapist, and a journalist, plus all of the other people in her story.  Carol is about 50 years old, attractive, sensitive, emotional, playful, energetic, intelligent, and loving.  Informally dressed, with a touch of Southwestern color and flair.  While the actors need not resemble one another physically, they should be costumed in a way that unifies them.

CAROL ONE — Also plays other people in Carol’s memory:

DAVID

RECEPTIONIST

FIRST TECHNICIAN

PRE-REGISTRATION CLERK

ADMISSIONS CLERK

SECOND TECHNICIAN

SECOND NURSE

CAROL TWO – the same person as ONE.  Also plays other people in Carol’s memory:

DAVID

FIRST NURSE

ONCOLOGIST

U of PA DOCTOR

CAROL THREE – the same person as ONE and TWO.  Also plays other people in Carol’s memory:

DAVID

FIRST DOCTOR

PARTNER

EXECUTOR OF WILL

TIME:  Winter of 2003 through early summer of 2005.

PLAYING TIME:  about 90 minutes, with opening and closing slide shows of David’s photographs and Carol’s collages (available from playwright).

SETTING:  Minimal.  Area staging, at various levels if possible.  While the action moves through many settings – Carol’s house, cars, planes, hospitals — transitions should be fluid and achieved through lighting, music, and easily moved set pieces.

SYNOPSIS: In the winter of 2003, during their first glorious year of being in love, Carol and David, both therapists and artists, spend a vacation week in Death Valley, where David begins experiencing symptoms that are diagnosed on their return home as Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  Months of chemotherapy follow, culminating in a bone marrow transplant that goes awry, ending David’s life.  Throughout their ordeal, in an attempt to understand and heal her shattered self, Carol keeps a journal, chronicling her passage through love, loss, grief, and recovery.  This play grew out of the real journals, photographs, and collages that make this universal story poignantly specific.

For information about this play or a copy of the script, please email me at sandyasher@gmail.com.

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