Tomorrow, September 8th, was proclaimed International Literacy Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on November 17, 1965. Since its inception in 1946 UNESCO has fought to keep literacy high on national, regional and international agendas with the overarching goal of highlighting the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies. International Literacy Day is an attempt to remind the international community of the problem of illiteracy worldwide; that currently one in six adults worldwide do not know how to read or write and 67.4 million children are out of school. Unfortunately, despite UNESCO’s valiant efforts, illiteracy is still an international problem with clear connections to severe poverty and prejudice against women (two thirds of illiterate adults worldwide are women).
This year’s focus is on the link between literacy and peace and will be celebrated by a ceremony in New Delhi, India where UNESCO will award the international Confucius and King Sejong literacy awards to projects in Burundi, Mexico, the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the U.S.
How does literacy affect world peace, you ask? The written word give us the opportunity to unite with those that share our experiences and to learn from those who experience the world differently than we do. If everyone could read, then the world would begin to seem much smaller, people and cultures would more easily be able to see the common experiences and emotions that they share, and poverty could potentially become something that individuals could overcome, or at least hope to overcome while working for something better.
International Literacy Day is also an opportunity to raise public awareness about the importance of the written word and Brown Paper Tickets is proud to ticket many events that do just that. There are some great literary events going on around the country this weekend and International Literacy Day can be your opportunity to support those in your local communities that have been celebrating the written word year round. It’s a great excuse to remind yourself of the power behind Shakespeare’s plays or Lewis Carroll’s surreal adventures with Alice, or to discover incredible one act plays written by lesser-known women playwrights. We got all that and more for you this weekend.
The written word shows us what’s possible for our lives so get out there and remind yourself how powerful it can be. Also, head on over to UNESCO’s website and learn more about their efforts to bring education to all.
Thursday, September 8
Mysterious Skin – Portland, Oregon Based on the 1996 novel by Scott Helm, “Mysterious Skin” tells the story of two boys, Brian and Neil, who experience the same trauma, but are each affected in very different ways. Brian suffers amnesia and develops an obsession with UFOs, believing that he perhaps was once abducted by aliens. Neil, on the other hand, embraces his premature sexual awakening and becomes a teenage hustler. In the course of the play, Brian’s search for the truth leads him to Neil and to answers that are shocking and life-changing.
Bindlestiff Studio presents STORIES HIGH XII – San Francisco, California Bloodthirsty Spaniards and fearless revolutionaries! Angry young men and passionate women! The powerful forces of love, freedom, and loss… “STORIES HIGH XII,” the twelfth installment of Bindlestiff Studio’s annual freshmen playwrights showcase throws the doors of Bindlestiff Studio’s new home at Sixth and Howard wide open with adaptations of short fiction by Pilipino and Filipino American writers. You can also catch this show on Saturday, September 10, Thursday, September 15, Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17.
Mysterium’s Into The Woods – Santa Ana, California “Into the Woods” combines the well-known fairy tales of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Little Red Ridinghood with the story of the Baker and his Wife who desperately want a child. Unfortunately, the Baker and his Wife have been cursed with childlessness by a witch and must perform various missions involving the characters in the other fairy tales to break the spell. Jack sells his best friend, a cow, to get beans that grown a beanstalk to a giant castle in the sky. Cinderella gets her wish of meeting the prince at the ball. And Little Red escapes from the Big Bad Wolf. But what happens when happily ever after isn’t ever after-all. “Into the Woods” runs every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through September 24th.
Romeo & Juliet – Fresno, California Directed by Daniel Moore, Shakespeare’s tragedy of star-crossed lovers comes to life onstage. Showing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this and the following weekend.
Friday, September 9
LiTFUSE 2011 – Tieton, Washington LiTFUSE is an annual weekend-long poets’ workshop sponsored by Tieton Arts & Humanities, that is open to poets of all ages and styles. LiTFUSE combines writing, exploration, improvisation, meditation, camaraderie, natural beauty and readings to ignite your muse.
Alice’s Adventures Under Ground – Chicago, Illinois Based on the writings of Lewis Carroll and employing Carroll as a character in the play, Hampton’s play uses episodes from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There” as well as material from Carroll’s personal correspondence to explore the relationship between the Oxford mathematics tutor and the little girl who inspired his literary legacy. This show runs until Sunday, October 9.
A One Hundred Year Portrait of Tennessee Williams – Milwaukee, Wisconsin “A One Hundred Year Portrait of Tennessee Williams” is a series of one-acts written by Tennessee Williams and presented by Fresh Page Productions, to commemorate and celebrate what would have been Tennessee Williams’ 100th birthday. This show is also running on Saturday, September 10 and Sunday, September 11.
Is He Dead? – New Orleans, Louisiana This “new” comedy is by America’s greatest satirist, Mark Twain. Twain wrote the play in 1898 and unfortunately never saw it performed in his lifetime. In fact, the script would spend the next century lost in a drawer. The play was discovered among other writings of Twain in 2002 and has been adapted by playwright David Ives. The plot, characters, and dialogue contain all of Twain’s trademark wit, slapstick humor, and keen ear for language. This is showing until Sunday, September 18.
Madman William – Hollywood, California Have you ever thought about what the characters in Shakespeare’s plays such as Macbeth, Hamlet and King Lear would think about their writer? “Madman William” calls into question whether Shakespeare’s dreams inspired his work, or whether his work inspired his dreams. It is a hilarious insight into what the characters might think about their maker. It takes place in a modern London pub where Hamlet, Macbeth and Lear are trying to escape their never-ending timelessness by running away. But can they leave their plays? They find it hard enough to leave the pub! And when Shakespeare himself arrives… Where might the dream end, and the play begin? This show will run for Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this and the following weekend.
She Writes – One Act Plays by Women Playwrights – North Hollywood, California The Secret Rose Theatre announces its presentation of “She Writes One-Acts by Women Playwrights.” This production includes six one-act plays by six women writers: “Thread Count” by Deanna Alisa Ableser, “Journalist of the Year” by Kitty Felde, “Blind Date” by Tanis Galik, “Scuffy the Cat” by Kres Mersky, “S.O.U.Ls, Inc.” by Jan O’Connor and “The Reason Why I Lie” by Chelsea Sutton. “She Writes – One Acts by Women Playwrights” runs for two weeks only opening on September 9 and running through September 18, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.
Tennessee Williams – Prelude to a Play – Scottsdale, Arizona This program explores earlier works that contain the seeds of plots and characters that would form the basis of greater works to come. “The Dog Enchanted by the Divine View” (from which “The Rose Tattoo” was derived) explores the possibility of reawakening the spirit of a widow through the arrival of a bravado travelling truck driver, and a conflict between a dreamy, delusional woman (a la Blanche DuBois) and the brusque, practical landlady who wants to kick her out plays out in “The Lady of Larkspur Lotion.” Also included is some poetry by Tennessee Williams and stories about him. This show runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sunday, September 25.
Saturday, September 10
Desert Rose Theatre presents The Short Shakespeare Project: Romeo & Juliet – Scottsdale, Arizona Desert Rose Theatre will be touring this 30 minute abridged version of Shakespeare’s classic story to local high schools throughout the school year. These performances will give a chance for educators to preview the show and schedule a tour to their school. There is a 4:00 PM show and a 7:00 PM show this weekend and next.
Mysterium’s Merry Wive’s of Windsor – Santa Ana, California Bring a picnic and the family to enjoy Shakespeare’s rollicking comedy in Mysterium’s shady outdoor courtyard. “The Merry Wives of Windsor” is the story of lusty Sir John Falstaff, who arrives in town short on funds and attempts to seduce two local desperate housewives in order to set himself up comfortably. But these “merry wives” see right through his plan and lead him on a prank-filled chase. This show runs on Saturdays and Sundays, this weekend and the next.
Sunday, September 11
CAMP HERO a staged reading, written by Charles F. Carlino – Lake Worth, Florida Written by Charles T. Carlino, “Camp Hero” is not a story of war, nor a story about the horrors of the terror act of 9/11; It is a story about the pain and devastation to the hearts and souls of those who lived through these atrocities. “Camp Hero” brings us closer than we dare to the reality and suffering of a past horror. One might call this pain a disease, with its symptoms the recollection of an enemy, that once attacked and damaged their souls, till their victims become walking zombies of the human race. Look around, they are th