A letter about a play about letters – The Birth of Paper

By June 1, 2021Uncategorized

Hello beautiful RealTime community.

Tickets are now on sale for our next hyperlocal-meets-universal show, The Birth of Paper.This show is a true labor of love, connection and discovery, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Speaking of love and connection, we are blessed to be working with Milia Ayache again (below, speaking about the importance of art in crisis). You may remember her as the luminous musician/singer from our 2017 true crime concert musical ANGELMAKERS.

Milia has been a good friend since we met her while working on the musical FUTURITY in 2012, which Molly co-wrote, Rusty co-produced, and Milia performed in. The show was produced at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, where Milia was earning her MFA in acting at Harvard; she’s since moved back to her native city of Beirut, Lebanon.

I don’t know how much you know about the conditions in Lebanon; here is an article that speaks to them. We only became well-versed in the desperate situation from our friendship with Milia. As we learned more from her about what it’s like to live in the economic free-fall and political crumbling that was triggered by the massive explosion in Beirut’s port last August, and as we embraced making art from a distance as the coordinators of an international postal plays festival, we knew there was a new collaboration in the cards.

We began this process simply, thinking we’d adapt a play I wrote in 2003 that involved mail, and that Milia would perform in it. But it has grown into a transcontinental, multi-phase theatrical engine for connection between our hometowns of Pittsburgh and Beirut. It now includes nearly 30 people writing letters to each other in both cities; 4 Pittsburgh makers/ entrepreneurs who have made or donated items to Berutis to be opened during the show; 10 volunteers from across the city who have packed these “care packages” for transport; and our small team of RealTimers working hard to bring this unique piece to you.

The Birth of Paper is, like many of our projects, hard to describe. It is, at root, a conversation– between longstanding friends Milia and Molly; between the pen pals who started as strangers but are becoming friends; between the landmarks and landscapes that define these two seemingly unconnected places we call home.

Can’t wait for you to see it. Tickets and more info available here.

And as always, THANK YOU for being a supporter. It’s you all who move our aspirational ideas from impossible to possible.

-Molly Rice