Memoirs have become one of the most popular genres of nonfiction writing. Cave paintings from the Stone Age suggest that, as a species, we like to tell our life stories. However, social media, such as Facebook, has replaced the cave wall as the communication medium to share our lives. Not only do memoirs such as Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes demonstrate that we like to read about others’ lives, but with the development of digital publishing, the range of memoirs available to read has been exponentially expanded through self-publishing.
The Rosendale Theatre Collective is launching a new bi-monthly literary event series, “Prosendale” with Memoir Readings by Local Authors to celebrate Women’s History Month. Five female authors from the Hudson Valley will each read an excerpt from one of their published memoirs. Then a panel discussion with the authors will be facilitated by Martha Frankel, Executive Director of Woodstock Bookfest, and followed by an audience Q&A. There will be an opportunity to interact with the authors at separate stations in the theatre, where copies of their books can also be purchased and signed by the author.
The participating authors include Mary Lois Timbes, Laura Shaine Cunningham, Denny Dillon, Mourka, and Nicole Quinn.
Laura Shaine Cunningham has published nine books: her memoirs, Sleeping Arrangements and A Place in the Country were excerpted in The New Yorker and The New York Times. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and many literary journals. She is also the author of Russian historical novels under the pen name Laura Rose. Her plays have been produced at Steppenwolf and regional theatres and published in many anthologies. Her many prizes include two NEA awards, two NYFA awards, both in Literature and Theatre, and a Yaddo Fellowship. She is also the President of Actors and Writers. Her new memoir, Forbidden Russia, an American Playwright in Moscow, Ukraine, Belarus, and Beyond, will be published next year.
Denny Dillon is an actress, comedian, and writer. She has recently appeared in Apple+TV’s Servant, Netflix’s Uncoupled, and HBO’s The Outsider. Denny is a former cast member of Saturday Night Live, and she gave a memorable cameo in the iconic Saturday Night Fever opposite John Travolta. Denny made her Broadway debut in Gypsy with Angela Lansbury and received a Tony nomination for My One & Only. In addition, she won a CableACE Award for “Best Actress in a Comedy Series” for her role on HBO’s Dream On. In 2002 Denny moved to the Hudson Valley and is busy completing her book of memoirs, Two Tickets to Calamity.
Margarita Meyendorff (Mourka) is an award-winning author of two published books: her memoir, DP: Displaced Person, and an anthology of 30 short stories, Flipping the Bird. The daughter of a Russian Baron, she was born displaced in a refugee camp in Germany, far from the opulence of Imperial Russia that was her birthright. A series of wars destroyed this privileged existence, and Margarita’s life became a series of extraordinary moves. She has performed as an actress, dancer, musician, and storyteller at venues throughout the United States and Europe.
Nicole Quinn is a WGA (Writers Guild of America) writer. She has written screenplays for HBO, Showtime, network television, Jodie Foster’s Egg Pictures, John Singleton’s New Deal Productions, and Vassar College. She wrote and directed Racing Daylight starring Melissa Leo and David Strathairn. She has produced/narrated audiobooks for Audible, her short plays are published by Playscripts, and she has authored a trilogy of feminist-dystopian fantasy novels (The Gold Stone Girl).
Mary Lois Timbes (Adshead) is an author, theatre director, producer, actress, and raconteur. She has produced several shows at the Rosendale Theatre and directed three comedy sketches for Frank Marquette’s Theater on the Road at the Chocolate Factory in Red Hook. She was the founding producer of an Equity theatre in Fairhope, Alabama, from 1988-1996, and has written a memoir of the town, The Fair Hope of Heaven, the novel That Was Tomorrow, and a collection of short stories, Travelin’ Light.
This program is generously sponsored by Woodstock Bookfest and Rough Draft.