I strut to teach ye I be me.
Pearl Curran was a housewife in early twentieth century St Louis. She was also the operator of a Ouija board through which Patience Worth, a long-dead early British colonist and thwarted authoress, spoke. Over the course of two decades, a remarkably prolific Patience dictated (and, with the help of Pearl’s husband John, published) millions of words in books, poems, and plays through Pearl’s Ouija board and ultimately through Pearl’s own voice.
Over Pearl’s long career as a medium and lecturer, Patience regaled throngs of curious visitors, believers and nonbelievers alike, with cryptic, extemporaneous bon mots. Patience carried on a love affair with a local newspaper editor; Pearl demurred that she was merely the transporting vessel. Patience adopted a child; childless Pearl was delighted.
Plumbing the rich archival holdings of the Missouri History Museum Archives, Patience Worth explores fragmented identity, sublimated love affairs, a nagging desire for fame, and the limits of credulity.
In keeping with the for/word company’s creative technique, Patience Worth is built out of material written by and about its central characters, including Pearl Curran’s “Rosa Alvaro,” Irene Hickman’s I Knew Patience Worth, Emily Grant Hutchings’s Where Do We Go From Here?, Irving Litvag’s Singer in the Shadows, Walter Prince’s The Case of Patience Worth, William Marion Reedy’s “My Flirtation With Patience Worth,” Daniel B. Shea’s Patience of Pearl, Casper Yost’s Patience Worth: A Psychic Mystery, and the extensive Pearl Curran/Patience Worth collection at the Missouri History Museum Archives.
For more information on Pearl Curran, read Gioia Diliberto’s Smithsonian Magazine article.
|Craft: Exploring Creativity|
|Patience Worth Patience Worth premiered March 9-11, 2017, at the Kranzberg Arts Center in St. Louis. This limited engagement run coincided with the national conference for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology where we presented a workshop on the projection environment for the piece.|
|Patience Worth was workshopped in a series of residencies between 2015 and 2017 at the Motion Lab at the Advanced Computing Center for Arts and Design. Its text was developed in staged reading at Available Light Theatre (Columbus, OH) in January 2014 and at Tristan Bates Theatre (London, UK) in August 2013.|
|Patience Worth is supported by a grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council.|
|For more information about presenting a production by the for/word company,
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