The Birth of Paper

by RealTime Interventions with Milia Ayache 

Beirut partner: Rusted Radishes Beirut Literary & Art Journal

Pittsburgh partners: Handmade Arcade, City of Asylum and Scribe Fine Papers


“the smell of pine trees. a tiny light. a living letter in a bottle seeks you in a sea of chaos.”

About the Project

Begun as an adaptation of a “distance play” Molly wrote in 2003, The Birth of Paper became a transcontinental “engine of connection” involving over 60 pen pals, makers, artists, and volunteers in Beirut and Pittsburgh.

The project began with a transcontinental letter exchange between strangers; continued with the creation, packing and mailing of “gift packages” made by Pittsburgh artisans for the people of Beirut (packed by Pittsburgh volunteers); and ended with a series of live shows centering on this mutual transmission of goods and goodwill among potential friends.

In the shows, Beirutis living the fallout of the August 2020 Port of Beirut explosion and the ongoing political and economic freefall opened their gift packages in real time, while actor/musician Milia Ayache performed the role of the “paper” upon which Molly wrote her love letter to Beirut.

The show was joyous, heartbreaking, intensely intimate, full of love– and a celebration of paper, ink, and the postal service as an ancient, global technology of connection.

RealTime Interventions’ “The Birth of Paper” Now Open – Entertainment Central

The Birth of Paper: Interview with Playwright Molly Rice – HVY Journalists

Science or Magic?”: A Review of The Birth of Paper – Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal


More information: Post Theatrical – The Birth of Paper