SUNY Sullivan Theater Program Thank You/I’m Sorry, a New Theatrical Production for the 2021-22 Season

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The SUNY Sullivan Theater Arts Program is proud to present Thank You / I’m Sorry or The Story of a Spontaneous Mutant and her Supermom, by Sullivan County residents Brianna Worden and Janna Walter. The play is a world premiere of a docudrama about neurofibromatosis and the journey of a daughter and mother through diagnosis, treatment(s), pain, love, and changes.

Performances of Thank You / I’m Sorry take place May 13–15, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm, and will be performed in SUNY Sullivan’s Seelig Theater. The play will also be streamed live on YouTube. Masks are required for all campus visitors. Tickets are a suggested donation of $10 to the Children’s Tumor Foundation at the door or by clicking here. For further information, contact Jessica López-Barkl at jbarkl@sunysullivan.edu. For advance tickets, click here.

Thank You / I’m Sorry Synopsis:

Directed by Jessica López-Barkl, Associate Professor of Theater and Speech/Theater Program Director at SUNY Sullivan, Thank You / I’m Sorry focuses on the unimaginable story of a mother and daughter as they navigate an incurable disorder. The undeniable bond of a mother and daughter and their connection as they love one another and cope with survival is a story that anyone fears the loss of their loved ones.

The SUNY Sullivan 2021-2022 Disability/Disorder Theater Season

The Disability Community is a historically marginalized community, and SUNY Sullivan is located in a county whose largest employer is the healthcare industry that serves people with disabilities. We wanted to bring a heightened awareness of who’s absent from the room or whose story is not being told. We will focus on one classical play from the Spanish Golden Age, a new work that is a powerful vehicle for voices from underrepresented communities, and a musical that highlights the possibilities of performance. The SUNY Sullivan Theater Program will be sensitive to the fact that it is not enough to have representation on stage if the stories of marginalized people are not also represented in the work in a thoughtful and authentic manner. We hope to partner with regional organizations to provide an array of educational opportunities to demonstrate that the art artists with disabilities make and are represented in is enriched and enhanced by the extraordinary circumstances of their lives.

About the Artists:

Janna Walter – playwright/performer biography

Janna Walter hails from Grahamsville, NY. She has been performing around Sullivan County and the New York area for over the 20 years, many of which were under the study and direction of Paul Austin of the Liberty Free Theatre. This is Janna’s playwrighting debut and fourth performance with the SUNY Sullivan Performing Arts Program. Past performances include: Gidion’s Knot, Working, Marshall County Line, Rosemary with Ginger, Why We Have a Body, Death of Bessie Smith, and Delores. Janna is a Maternal-Child Registered Nurse who cares for women and children of Sullivan County.  Janna has been advocating for her daughter, Brianna and all neurofibromatosis heroes for 23 years. She has dedicated a lifetime to raising NF awareness and funds in the hope of finding a treatment and cure for this disorder that affects over 2.5 million people world-wide. Janna is the mother of four amazing children, including Brianna, Brandon, Robert, and Jayce. She would like to thank her husband, Daniel, for his support, patience and most of all love.

Brianna Worden – playwright/performer biography

Brianna Worden – Former Miss Teen New York International, is a 23-year-old who graduated top 10 percent of her class from Boston University. She is the 2020 Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) National Ambassador. As the Ambassador and a Patient Advocate, she is using her voice and her story to help find a cure for neurofibromatosis. She has addressed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) twice. She is a graduate from Tri-Valley High School. In high school, Brianna took part in All County, NYSSMA and was a member of The Women’s Choir. She has also performed in many productions at SUNY Sullivan, such as, Ragtime, Marshall County Line, Polaroid Stories, The Dutchman, and Assassins, in which she played the role of Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. Brianna has competed twice in the Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival also known as KCACTF for acting and singing. She is very excited to be performing this production. Brianna is honored and excited to have written this show with her mother, Janna Walter. Her mother is her hero. She hopes that you gain something positive from this production.

For more information, contact Jessica López-Barkl at jbarkl@sunysullivan.edu.

About SUNY Sullivan

SUNY Sullivan is the leader of innovative higher education and a catalyst for workforce development throughout the Sullivan Catskills and beyond. Our diverse community cultivates personal growth and professional advancement, preparing students for success in a sustainable and interconnected world. A forward-looking, top-tier community college in New York, SUNY Sullivan offers over 40 degree programs, certificates, and micro-credentials for learners at all levels of their educational goals. We value critical inquiry and creativity while supporting our students in a culture of inclusion and respect.

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May 3, 2022.