The project began as a friendship between Julia Faulkner (a professional opera singer and voice professor in the UW-Madison School of Music) and Robert Schleifer (a Deaf professional actor) that began a series of dialogs on the nature of Music, Art and their respective modes of artistic expression. Out of these dialogs, came the seed of this project: how can these two seemingly mutually inaccessible worlds interact with each other artistically? What can we all learn by exploring this notion theatrically? What can we teach others about what we have learned? Beginning with this idea, the pair approached composer Dr. Scott Gendel in the Fall of 2006 about writing a piece of music for them to perform on this theme. Stage Director Dr. Kelly Bremner was brought into the project in January of 2007. During the summers of 2007 and 2008 the project was more fully conceived in workshops. Playwright Nick Lantz was brought into rehearsals to help craft a script in the second summer of work (2008) and by the Fall of that same year ACROSS A DISTANCE was a complete script. During the summer of 2009 the play text itself was carefully workshopped by the company and dramaturg/designer Dr. Kristin Hunt. Fragments of the play were performed as part of the New Play Development Workshop by the Chicago based Infusion Theatre Company in September of 2009.
Image: Scene designer Kristin Hunt's rendering of the trees that live on Woman's island.