MSK’s Visible Ink Writing Program Presents Two Nights of Virtual Performances

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Visible Ink

Visible Ink Performance in April 2016

On Monday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m. ET, with an encore performance at 9:00 p.m., Visible Ink will present Act One of its works written by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) patients. Act Two will premiere the following Monday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. ET, with an encore at 9:00 p.m. The show, usually performed live on stage, has been adapted for virtual performances and will be streaming at visibleink.vimeo.mskcc.org. The virtual event, performed by actors, singers, dancers, and musicians from film, TV, and Broadway, was directed by Visible Ink’s Artistic Director Greg Kachejian, Music Director Andrew David Sotomayor and Choreography by Matthew Steffens.

About Visible Ink

Under the leadership of Executive Director and Founder Judith Kelman, Visible Ink offers patients at MSK the opportunity to express themselves in writing with the individual support of an experienced writing mentor – empowering people with cancer to give voice to their stories.

Established in 2008, Visible Ink offers patients at MSK the opportunity to write on any topic in any form with the individual support of an experienced mentor. The largest writing program of its kind, Visible Ink welcomes patients of all ages and writing interests throughout the MSK community.  Research has shown that expressive writing can reduce stress and enhance wellbeing.

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Acts One and Two

The pieces range from poignant to humorous. While some reflect on the cancer experience, others focus on current issues including female empowerment and racism. In 1968, performed in Act One, the author recounts the D.C. race riots sparked by the assassination of MLK, Jr. The story is narrated by Susan Spain (Shadows of the ‘60s) and features Julius Thomas III (Hamilton), Soara-Joye Ross (Carmen Jones), Marva Hicks (Motown: The Musical) and J.D. Webster (Porgy & Bess). Javier Ignacio (Company) stars in a piece titled, I’ll Stick to Tea, about a man who has never smoked marijuana, but in solidarity with a dying friend, tries it with hilarious results.  Moon River, a gorgeous short film, depicts a woman’s favorite childhood memory: her parents dancing Saturday nights away in the kitchen of their railroad apartment. Music and dance are incorporated into many of the works.

Act Two opens with a young woman (played by film actress India Jarvis) sharing her story of being diagnosed with cancer at age 15, falling for her first boyfriend, and experiencing her first kiss, all in a matter of a few, disjointed days. Grace DeAmicis and Jack Prather (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) play the younger versions of the main character and her young love. In Warrior, Devin Ilaw (Miss Saigon) plays a man diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, humorously describing friends who sometimes flub their efforts to be supportive, and his determination to live his life as a warrior, not a patient. In I’ll Take you to Your Seat, Then Leave, Zoe Anastassiou (Virtue) plays an actress whose day job, ushering at Radio City Music Hall, offers hilarious recollections of celebrity guests and annoying customers.

Also featured in this performance are three short pieces written by the Reality Poets of OPEN DOORS, a network of Black and Brown artists, activists and advocates motivated by community building, gun violence prevention and disability rights. In 2018, through a partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals and The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Visible Ink expanded into select city hospitals, including the Coler Long-Term Care Facility on Roosevelt Island, where they formed an alliance with OPEN DOORS.  

Visible Ink Act One will stream at 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, March 22, with an encore performance at 9:00 p.m. and Act Two will premiere the following Monday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. ET, with an encore at 9:00 p.m. Both performances can be viewed at visibleink.vimeo.mskcc.org. Visible Ink is supported by grants and donations. Click givevi.org/live for more information and to donate to help sustain this program’s vital work.

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