Prologue After serving as conductor for a public performance, an audience member, whom I’ll call Sarah, comes up to me as soon as the show ends. “I need to talk with you.” Her eyes are brimming with tears. Earlier that evening, during a teller’s story about a difficult encounter on the subway, I casually labelled […]
About Anne Ellinger
Welcome to this blog, friends and strangers! I’m excited for this chance to reflect on my many experiences with Playback Theatre, and to invite other Playback practitioners and fans to share their reflections, too. In case we haven’t met yet, I'll say a bit about my life (written in 2014) so you’ll know at least a few basic facts about your conductor for this journey.
I’m a 58-year old white US woman, raised upper-middle-class in New Jersey and Honolulu. I’ve lived in a suburb of Boston for nearly 30 years now, and in 2001 helped to start True Story Theatre. Since then have acted in about 300 shows and served as conductor for about two dozen (as I’m newly stepping into that role).
I’m at a miraculous and blessed time of my life: deeply satisfied in my 34 year-old marriage with Christopher (True Story’s director), relieved that our 23 year old son seems in a good stage of life, and delighted with the near-daily companionship of my 93 year old mother who recently moved close by. I’m relishing the astonishing freedom of “retirement” when I'm relatively young and healthy -- which is why I have the slack to not only to perform Playback often and help manage our troupe of 20 players, but also to reflect in writing about the many gifts Playback brings.
And you? I imagine you are someone who also cares about Playback Theatre: a Friend of True Story, a Playback student, a practitioner in another company, or simply an enthralled audience member who wants to understand more. Welcome, all. I hope to get to know you.
I’m excited and scared about taking on this blog! Storyteller Jennifer Justice used to tell her students, “Fear is simply excitement without breath.” So I’m breathing deeply. Are you?
Entries by Anne Ellinger
Which would you prefer: to listen to a panel of experts with Power Point slides? Or to see theater? Recently, True Story was the “opening act” at an educational event, “Preventing Senior Abuse” attended by 150 seniors and professional advocates Arlington Town Hall. We had just 30 minutes, but in that time enacted three powerful, […]
True Story Theater is often invited to perform or teach with the aim of building bridges between participants across differences such as age, race, class, organizational position, or sexual orientation. These have been some of our most satisfying experiences. We are always hungry to hear whether and how our work makes a difference. Recently, we […]
It’s ridiculously difficult in the great outdoors to create the focus and intimacy people need to share important and often vulnerable stories from their lives. Yet in warmer weather, so many great performance opportunities are outdoors! We recently practiced three ways to bring Playback into the wide open spaces: Be inventive: At the Figment Festival […]
One of the most beautiful parts of being in a Playback company is how deeply we get to know and trust each other. Yet one of the saddest parts of being in a Playback company is saying goodbye to beloved members as they move on to other pursuits. Because True Story is such a large […]
WINTER CLASSES Advanced class: conducting skills & scene work Wed. Jan. 8- Feb. 19 6 classes + free extra class
I entered my relationship with Playback in just the same way I entered the now-32-year relationship with my spouse: blithely. “This is fun!” I thought. “I’ll give it a try.” My philosophy in both love and art was to just let things unfold day by day, and the future would take care of itself. Eleven years into doing […]
This is one of the first — and best — things I ever wrote about Playback. I think I had been performing only a year or two at that point. I’m glad I put my passion into words while it was still fresh. — Anne ___ Why do I love Playback Theatre so much? I’ll try […]