past times
One-Person Shows

Queen Elizabeth I -- In Her Own Words
First Flights
The Poetry of Rudyard Kipling
Impatient Wings
Virtues in Verse
Vox Americana

QE I

Queen Elizabeth I -- In Her Own Words

This fully-costumed one-woman presentation alternates narrative with dramatic reading of her actual letters and speeches, to tell the fascinating true life story of England's most famous queen, Elizabeth Tudor (1533-1603).

Called "The Virgin Queen," "Gloriana," and "Good Queen Bess," her extraordinary character and tumultuous personal life were often the stuff of high drama: Her father, Henry VIII, split the Church of England away from Rome to marry her mother, Anne Bolyn...whom he then beheaded when Elizabeth was not yet 3. Alternately declared illegitimate and legitimate throughout her childhood, and buffeted about by the changing political winds of fortune, it was against all odds that Elizabeth even survived the reigns of her young half-brother Edward VI, and elder half-sister "Bloody" Mary, to grow to adulthood. But survive these she did indeed -- as well as assorted scandals and suitors -- and came at last to inherit the throne of England at age 25. In a time when female sovereigns were not well-favored, she ruled alone for 45 years, and gave her name to an age. The Elizabethan Era brought England to world prominence, and fostered great explorations and an explosive flowering of the arts.

Elizabeth's survival and success were due in great part to her exceptional intellect, state craft, and personal charisma, as well as the love and loyalty of her people. ["I thank God I am endued with such qualities that if I were turned out of the realm in my petticoat I were able to live in any place in Christendom."] She was in many ways, a woman ahead of her time.

QUEEN ELIZABETH I -- IN HER OWN WORDS is built around the authentic documents: letters, poetry and speeches, written and spoken by this larger-than-life character. We see her evolution from precocious but vulnerable youth, to majestic womanhood, to an imperious and temperamental old age. Each reading has been carefully researched. This authentic material is woven together with background stories and narrative, creating a most engaging portrait of this remarkable queen who comes to life before your eyes.


21st Century Linda Abrams

First Flights

Celebrating the Wright Brothers First Flight Centennial (1903-2003)

"First Flights"
from Icarus to Apollo 11
A New Dramatic Reading by
Linda Tania Abrams

The inspiring, dramatic (and sometimes comical) saga of our conquest of the air, told through the eyewitness accounts of the brilliant engineers, bold adventurers, and eccentric visionaries who led the way up.

Hear the Wright Brothers story from their own letters and diaries, plus first-person accounts of historic flights: Lindberg's first solo across the Atlantic, Yeager breaking the sound barrier, and more

The uniqueness of this presentation is that it is dramatized by being told in the authentic words of those who made the flights &/or those who witnessed them. In addition to telling the stories of First Flights from Icarus, through balloon flight, the Wrights, Lindberg, Earhart, first choppers, first supersonic flight, first moon shot, etc., in first-person accounts, the presentation incorporates transparencies projected onto a screen to add the visual element. There are also songs played as people are entering and leaving.

"First Flights" runs approx. 90 minutes long, straight through. Alternatively, it can also be divided into two halves by an intermission, with each half being 45-60 minutes.

Facilities required for indoor performance: overhead projector, lectern, and cordless microphone (depending upon size of room). Optional, but nice: the ability to pipe music from a cassette into the sound system.


The Poetry of Rudyard Kipling

"The Poetry of Rudyard Kipling Character, Contrasts & Craftsmanship"

This dramatic performance of some of Kipling's best verse illustrates the many reasons for his extraordinary and enduring appeal.

Kipling was hugely prolific; his subject range was as wide as his own wide travels, his poetic craftsmanship masterful, and his delight in the language palpable. Yet his own image presented many apparent contrasts. A Nobel Laureate and outspoken, often acerbic, social critic, he nevertheless turned down a knighthood to preserve his independence and privacy. Although an old-school English "gentleman," his verse was widely popular with common folk.

Was Kipling a British patriot or an Imperial war-monger? Idealist or cynic? Lover of mankind or racist? In "Appeal," he begged that when he was dead, his public "...seek not to question other than the books I left behind." In keeping with that wish, this presentation will be more performance than lecture. But enough of Kipling's life and times (1865-1936) will be included to provide context to these beloved poems, selected to emphasize aspects of human character or English history.

Audience comments on the performance of Kipling verse at TOC's Summer Seminar '02:

"Awesome!!"

"Always a treat!"

"Outstanding"

"Engaging, dramatic, and inspiring"

"...both emotionally moving and intellectually stimulating"

"...a welcome and uplifting aesthetic experience."


A New Dramatic Reading by
Linda Tania Abrams
"Impatient Wings"

Lyrics Celebrating the Men and Achievements of the Space Age

Heroic visions of mankind's Quest for the Stars in the words of more than a dozen contemporary writers

"What we had seen, in naked essentials -- but in reality, not in a work of art -- was the concretized abstraction of man's greatness."
            --Ayn Rand, "Apollo 11" (The Objectivist, 1989)

            "What manner of men are these? I need to know!
            They fill my dreams with wondrous things.
            They give my soul impatient wings.
            They show me where their freedom springs,
            And I am called to go!"
                        -- from "Thoughts on Strange Visitors"
                        © Leslie Fish, Random Factors

Virtues in Verse

The Best of Berton Braley

If you think poetry is stuffy or obscure, you're in for a surprise! In the first part of the 20th C., Berton Braley was America's most popular poet; he published over 10,000 verses, mostly in newspapers & magazines. This "Machine Age poet" and "Bard of Business" wrote in the plain, clear language of ordinary folks. His feeling for the lyric possibilities in men, machines and industry has endeared him to audiences around the U.S. and abroad.


Vox Americana

The Best of Berton Braley Part II

A whole new collection of lively verse by the early 20th C. "Machine Age poet," with a jazzy, Main Street USA feel.


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