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    Posted September 21, 2011

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Kansas City area actors kicked off Labor Day weekend as a part of First Fridays in the crossroads district w/ a staged reading of selections from Studs Terkel's WORKING, held at the headquarters for the Mid-America Arts Alliance. This event was the brainchild of Christine Dotterweich-Bial, who is an AEA staged manager, secretary of our liaison committee, and the curator of performing arts for the Mid-America Arts Alliance. The staged reading was directed by Doug Weaver, who has directed other projects for our EarTH staged reading series, and was staged managed by Rae Portwine, an EMC candidate. All of the participants in the reading were members of one of the performing arts unions…AEA, SAG, and AFTRA.

Actors participating and their union affiliations included:

Gary Neal Johnson (AEA, AFTRA, SAG) Kip Niven (AEA, AFTRA, SAG) Christine Colby-Jaques (AEA, AFTRA, SAG) Larry Greer (AEA, AFTRA, SAG) William Grey Warren (AEA, AFTRA, SAG,NEA) Nedra Dixon (AEA) Brad Shaw (AEA) Licia Watson (AEA)

The project was a reminder of how powerful giving a physical voice to a writer's words can be. During the Friday night reading, participants were seated out in the audience, listening to fellow workers during their pieces, and the flashes of illumination that occurred during that process were quite inspiring.

At the invitation of Vicky Tarpley of the AFL-CIO, local AEA members participated in the parade and picnic with Kansas City's labor unions. An encore performance of Friday's staged reading was present that afternoon in the theatre at the Liberty Memorial across from Union Station. Participation in the parade and picnic was small but mighty, and much was learned about how this event is organized. Plans are already being made to increase visibility in next year's event.

Submitted by:
Licia Watson
Kansas City Area Liaison Chair

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