October is breast cancer awareness month, and hospitals and health organizations aren't the only ones gearing up to bring awareness and empathy. The University of South Alabama will present a one-woman play, starring Katie Anderson, on Oct. 10 to …
October is breast cancer awareness month, and hospitals and health organizations aren't the only ones gearing up to bring awareness and empathy. The University of South Alabama will present a one-woman play, starring Katie Anderson, on Oct. 10 to bring life experience to the stage and to raise funds for the Joy To Life Foundation.
Anderson said that preparing for the play has been an experience like no other.
“The play, written by Sue Walker, is about a woman in her mid-30s who is diagnosed with breast cancer,” she explained. “She is the divorced mother of a preteen and the play shows her coping with her diagnosis and treatment and how she and the people around her are affected. Having the only role is such a different experience than I'm used to. I really enjoy the give and take that goes on when you are acting with others. I realized, though, that in this play, my character is in fact reacting, only she is reacting to characters off stage. She's also reacting to the situation she has suddenly been thrust into. The things she is working through are things that call for solitude and for reflection. So, in that way, it feels very natural.”
She said that she's been able to capture the essence of the disease through those working behind the scenes to create the play.
“Sue is a breast cancer survivor and has given me such wonderfully honest material; Ivan, my director, is also a cancer survivor,” she began. “They have both been so generous and I really try to take their experiences and opinions as guidance. Also, as women find out what I'm doing, they are sharing their survival stories with me, which offers great insight. I don't know how it feels to have cancer, but I know how it feels to worry, to be afraid, to be in love ... Allison's story is about having cancer but its also about falling in love, raising a daughter, and sharing a friendship with her sister.”
Anderson shared her feelings as the date of the play approaches.
“I'm nervous,” she said with a laugh. “I'm excited, too. It's such a great opportunity to give back and I feel honored to be a part of this.”
Anderson said she hopes audience members learn from her performance, but that they enjoy themselves, too.
“The most important thing I want to convey is the importance of mammograms by presenting a convincing portrait of a woman who has been through breast cancer,” she revealed. “Beyond that, I hope the audience is entertained. There are some funny moments, as well as sweet and poignant moments in this play — things that the audience will recognize and appreciate.”
“When Life Doesn’t Turn Out The Way You Expect” a one-woman play
7 p.m., Oct. 10
Laidlaw Theatre, University of South Alabama Mobile campus
A one-woman show starring Katie Anderson in a story about a woman diagnosed with breast cancer. Oncology experts panel available for questions after the play. Reception to follow. Proceeds to benefit “The Joy to Life Foundation”