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Leaves of Hope: a play for Joplin

April 10, 2012

This is a play that I’ve been working on since last May when a tornado hit my hometown of Joplin, Missouri.  At first when I visited home I was hesitant to even take pictures.  I was focused on helping my sister and my aunt recover whatever they could from the rubble that was left of their homes.

As the months went by and I visited again in August, again in October, I began to feel a deep drive to respond to this event with my art; through a play.  I also knew that as someone not living in Joplin, there’s no way that I could begin to encapsulate what it is to live in the midst of such destruction and absence.  In January I began working with a team of Joplin High School students to investigate the tornado and post-tornado Joplin.

During the past several months the students and I interviewed 22 different people from around Joplin, transcribing and compiling these interviews into an resource from which we would begin to construct a play.  I returned to Joplin in March to wrap up the interviews and begin the process of assemblage.

This work will be presented in Joplin on May 17th.  Beyond that point, the piece will be available on this website free for download, and all proceeds raised with performances of this play will benefit Joplin High School drama and tornado recovery.

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