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"The Goodbye Letter" To Be Presented by the Talking It Out Virtual Arts Festival This Summer
Monique Hebert's full-length drama will round out the 2021-2022 festival season on July 16th at 7pm EST
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On July 16th at 7pm EST, the Talking It Out Virtual Arts Festival will conclude its 2021-2022 season of programming with a special presentation of The Goodbye Letter, a full-length drama by Monique Hebert. Free RSVPs and donations are accepted via Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.com/e/133631201521.
The production will also stream live and be available for OnDemand viewing until August 1st on the Talking It Out YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/channel/UCa2ng_uvTRJ_jQsjQREEWpg. For this special performance, 50% of any donations received will go to the participating artists, while the remaining 50% will be donated by Piccione Arts to the Trevor Project (www.trevorproject.org) to help provide mental health support to LGBTQ+ youth in the United States.
The Goodbye Letter tells the story of a suicidal teenager named Jared who is struggling with depression in his seemingly perfect life in suburban America. Over the course of the play, the audience is witness to therapy sessions between Jared's friends and family with Jared’s therapist, as they try to understand his struggles…while also dealing with their own.
Ms. Hebert - whose short play Mean Girl and Best Friend was presented as part of the first Talking It Out short play performance on Zoom in November 2020 - has previously published a book about living with an anxiety disorder in 2018 called Anxiety, Anxiety Why Do You Have a Hold On Me. She has written for The Mighty, Living Lutheran, Broadway World, and Introvert Dear. In addition to Talking It Out, her plays have been featured in the Aphra Behn Play Festival, the Rogue Theater Festival, and the Lift Every Voice and Sing Play Festival. Her children’s book series Mom and the Mythical Creatures was released in 2021. She is passionate about writing about marginalized groups and bringing awareness to mental health through her work.
Directed by Producing Artistic Director Anthony J. Piccione, the production stars Hansel Villar as Jared, Angel Fabian Rivera as Paul, Analyse Gutierrez as Linda, Zavier Andrew as Gary, Toby Rose as Kyle, Michael Laabs as Luke, Catherine Verblud as Hailey, and Rachel Stokes as Gwen.
Founded in 2020 by Mr. Piccione in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first Talking It Out performance was presented live at the Dramatists Guild Foundation's Music Hall on March 10th, 2019. At the time of the initial readings, Michael D'Antoni wrote a rave review of the event for Five-Star Arts Journals, describing it as having “nothing less than pure, unadulterated, genuine, unpretentious focus on the agonies and anguish of mental illness, while also celebrating the triumphs and accomplishments over those living with, or those living with someone who suffers from mental health issues.“
Originally intended to be a one-time event of minimalistic staged reading of short plays, the event has since been revived as an ongoing festival of plays - as well as an expanding line-up of additional arts programming - presented online via Zoom. Upon the first live screening of Talking It Out in November 2020, playwright & critic Jan Ewing praised the festival in a review for Hi! Drama for having “drawn from a wide range of ages and genders” and for “detailing the pain and distress encountered not only by those suffering from the various disorders but also those who support them.” Each of the plays is presented by an ensemble of actors from different corners of the world, highlighting various issues of mental illness - ranging from anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, and more.
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