On Thursday, May 31 at 7pm, the Southbury Public Library is hosting the one man play Unlaunch’d Voices: An Evening with Walt Whitman in the Kingsley Room of the Southbury Public Library. This program is also the kickoff to the Southbury Public Library’s Adult Summer Series “Revisiting Our History at the Southbury Public Library.”
During the months June and July, the Southbury Public Library will offer its 11th annual Adult Summer Series. Revisiting Our History at the Southbury Public Library is the theme of the 2018 Adult Summer Series. Anyone is welcome to join us for this free series of programs; registration is required for most programs by calling 203-262-0626 ext. 130. All tied to American history, these programs will include history lectures, film screenings, plays, and more. This series of programs is generously sponsored by the Charles H. and Ella Emery Rutledge Fund.
On the 199th anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth (May 31, 1819), Stephen Collins brings Walt Whitman to life with Unlaunch’d Voices: An Evening with Walt Whitman. This striking one man play opens with the elderly Whitman on the evening of his seventieth birthday. The audience is a visitor in his room as he prepares for his birthday celebration. Whitman begins to reminisce and to question his success as a man and a poet. He tells us his work has proved to be "less than a failure...." He remembers a mystical experience he had in his thirty-seventh year that inspired him to write poetry.
During the telling, Whitman transforms into his young vibrant self and we begin to trace back along with him the experiences that led to the creation of Leaves Of Grass, his lifetime work. The first part of the performance explores Whitman's preoccupation with the self and his resolve to write with "free and brave thought..." We revel with him as he celebrates his body and himself and are confidants as he shares his struggle with his sexual self. In the second part of the performance, Whitman's life is changed forever by the occurrence of the Civil War. It is here that he finds "... the most important work of my life..." nursing the wounded soldiers in the hospitals. Through poetry and readings of actual letters, we experience Whitman's movement from selfishness to selflessness and his growth into a mature artist who is at peace about "himself, God and death."
Unlaunch'd Voices is based as much as possible on Whitman’s actual poetry, words, and dialogue. This play was conceived and is performed by Stephen Collins and written and directed by Michael Keamy. Stephen Collins grew up in Cambridge, and received a BA in Literature from UMass Boston. After twenty plus years in a sales career, he is back doing what he truly loves - performing and teaching. Recently he has been teaching seminars on Whitman, Hardy, Shakespeare, Frost, and Contemporary Poetry at various locations throughout the country.
Like all Southbury Public Library programs, this presentation is free to attend and open to anyone regardless of town of residency. Space is limited and registration is required. Please call 203-262-0626 ext. 130 to register. This program is sponsored by the Charles H. and Ella Emery Rutledge Fund and the Friends of the Southbury Public Library.