Upper Jay writer's group to host free dramatic performance

UPPER JAY In the beginning, there was the blank page-and then came the words to fill it. The work of several writers in the region will come to life next Saturday in Upper Jay. On Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., the yearlong Wells Memorial Library Writers Collective culminates in an evening of original songs, poetry, narrative pieces, and scenes from plays, presented by the writers themselves and other artists. The performance will take place at The Recovery Lounge, located at the Upper Jay Upholstery shop at the corner of Route 9N and Springfield Road in Upper Jay. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served. The performance features pieces originally written for and developed in one of the workshops. Since January 2007, the Collective has met at Wells Memorial Library on a monthly basis, in open workshops devoted to one aspect of writing-including poetry, plays, short stories, creative nonfiction, how to read aloud, and songs. Session leaders included Fred Balzac, Lorraine Duvall, Chris Kowanko, Nadine McLaughlin, Roger Mitchell, Scott Renderer, Bob Segall, and Martha Spear, who organized and oversaw the entire program. Martha Spear coordinated the program, partly to help celebrate the Wells Memorial Librarys centennial. She said she was proud of how successful the forums were, with about 40 people attending throughout the year. We got a grant to do a monthly writer's collaborative meeting. Each month, the meeting was led by a different person in the community and it was about their area of creative writing interesting, said Spear. Spear, who led a session on poetry and fiction, plans on reading some of her own work at the performance. She explained part of the programs success was due to the collection of individuals who loved writing had been brought together. It felt so joyful connecting with all these different kinds of people about writing, said Spear. It's hard to meet people who share something so private as the creative process. Bob Segall, a potter and sculptor who lives in Upper Jay, has been involved in the programs, and said he was looking for the reading. Segall explained he worked on turning a narrative hed written years ago into a play his first attempt at the genre. He said the collective series had opens up new worlds for his writing. He was looking forward to Terrence Young, Barbara Smith, Maggie Bartley and Fred Balzac reading from the first scene of his play to help him judge how it is. It's exciting, especially when Terry Young reads the central character, said Segall. You write, and you don't hear how it sounds. He, like Spear, said the series had helped him meet other people who enjoyed writing. It's offered a social life in a sense... It's offered an opportunity to meet people, to know people, and a chance to express myself, said Segall. Spear said the program was designed in two acts, with a family-friendly pieces being presented earlier in the evening. After an intermission, pieces addressing mature themes will be read. It's all works in program by local artists in Upper Jay, produced within this year, and some of the artists are child, some are seniors citizens. Its definitely art, in that it's not polished, and it's local, said Spear. Writers whose work is scheduled to be read or performed include Margaret Bartley, Chris Kowanko, Penelope Mace, Kathleen Recchia, Scott Renderer, Julie Robinson, Robert Segall, Cassandra Smith, and Martha Spear. Scheduled readers, performers, and directors include Fred Balzac, Sam Balzac, Amy Ignatuk, Rosamund Lincoln, David Mace, Angel Marvin, John Mullane, Colleen Mulvey, Tara Mulvey, Barbara Smith, and Terrance Young. I think theres tremendous talent in Upper Jay and Jay - its just amazing to me. The more I participate, the more it comes out of the woodwork, said Segall. The program has been underwritten by a Developing Community Arts grant with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, administered by the Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks. For more information, call the library at 946-2644.

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