Electronic Press Kit
Written & Performed by Alice Manning
Directed By Jim Petosa
YOUR STORY ON FILM LLC
After giving birth to her twin boys, Alice Manning finally has everything she wants. But a twist of fate and a hospital error leave her newborn son, Aidan, fighting for his life. Through anger, humor, and tears, Alice fights to keep her family afloat in the midst of unspeakable trauma and fear. On this personal rollercoaster ride, she discovers the power of laughter and how to choose love during even the darkest times.
Witnessing the true story of Alice’s family struggles with ongoing medical trauma and special needs, Carl Reiner describes it as one of only a handful of shows that he couldn’t stop talking about.
“Talent develops in quiet places, character in the full current of human life.” (Goethe)
I remember when I was a student in the first year of the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard. We were interviewed for posterity by our fellow student, Neil Bradly. His final question to me was, “What is something you don’t like about being an actor?” I rubbed my aching, shoeless feet, and said, “I don’t want to be rehearsing made-up plays in a basement, and wake up one day to find that I have missed experiencing real life outside.”
Be careful what you ask for! As it turns out, I didn’t have to worry about that. My life thus far has been full of tragedy, joy, and every emotion in between. In fact, my focus became primarily about having a life-long partner and a family. I wanted to live life, to experience it, to feel.
“Experience is only half of experience.” (Goethe)
After my infant son, Aidan, contracted bacteria in the hospital, I remember being exhausted, afraid, and depressed while pushing a huge breast pump in a stroller through the hallway of the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit. I remember thinking to myself (and probably muttering to myself), “This is going to be really funny in my show.” As an artist, I seemed to be incapable of letting the experience just pass by without any sort of examination or retelling. I knew I would tell my story. No matter how long it took, because that's how I heal.
I would tell my story.
My intention in performing “Stronger Than the Wind” is to allow myself - and the audience - to have a cathartic experience. I believe that the deeper and more personal my story is portrayed, the more universal it becomes. All of us have experienced some kind of trauma in our lives. Many women have juggled an abundance of tasks in the midst of trauma. I did not experience this trauma as just “a Mom,” but as a full woman. I traversed a mine field while experiencing anger, laughter, strained relationships, sexual desire, shame, spiritual awakening - all aspects of life.
My desire is to be relentlessly truthful in my examination of what it means to be a woman in this world - not who a woman is supposed to be, feeling just the emotions we’re "supposed to feel", but all that is there, traditional or not. In so doing, my story becomes a celebration of life.
To me, the real beauty in art is seeing all the layers, all the textures - not just the light, but the darkness as well. In coming to grips with my own darkness and traveling through it, I discovered gratitude and acceptance - gratitude for the gifts in life’s “curve-balls”, and acceptance of the parts of me (and my family) that are less than what we had hoped we would be. And in that acceptance comes a kind of perfection. There are still times when we are less than what we aspire to be. We fall. We get up and do it again. But through it all, we choose to Love.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is the power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” (Victor Frankel)
By Maria Shine Stewart
Original Post Date: October 16, 2015
Excerpt from: Cleveland.com
SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio – Poet-author-playwright Oscar Wilde penned the saying "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life." In my opinion, the intertwining of art and life in any proportion is a profound creative experience. With well-chosen words, we have powerful tools to convey hopes, dreams, frustrations, heartaches and resilience.
The highlight of my past week was seeing the one-woman show called "Stronger than the Wind" presented at Regina Hall of Notre Dame College. Alice Manning offered a fabulous performance, both funny and heart-rending, about her son Aidan's fight to survive - and her whole family's struggles to thrive. She digs deeply into her own spiritual journey, too, a topic rarely explored on stage.
Read the full article here.
Stronger than the wind sweeps through Boston with rave reviews
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, April 2, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT - Chris Benninger | 330-441-2040 | firstname.lastname@example.org
In like a lion and... well... out like a lion. Alice Mannings's Stronger Than the Wind message echoed as a resounding roar to an enthusiastic Boston audience. Nothing subtle about it. Late March / early April performances of her one-woman, autobiographical show told the raw, vulnerable story of a woman who, through love and laughter, persisted through the darkest challenges.
And the reviews are in:
"[Alice] weaves the strong and weak points of family and faith, and a traumatic past experience, into a seamless roller-coaster ride through medical crisis hell — and comes out the other side intact, even grateful."
Read the full article here.
"... a mix of light and dark, humor and pathos, but always compelling as Manning relates the most intimate details of her family's struggle to deal with the medical challenges of one of her twin sons shortly after his birth."
"That she is able to tell the story in such raw detail with earnest openness is difficult to fathom, but Manning has a mission. She shares her discovery of the power of laughter and love to get through the darkest times, and finds a surprising number of occasions to incorporate humor in the show."
"Although it is her deeply personal story, it contains universal relatable elements. Without being pedantic, she lets us know that within every challenge or trauma there is opportunity for choice. Her choice was to soldier on, to move toward the light, and to always choose love."
Read the full review here.
By Alexander Stevens/Daily News Correspondent
"Listen to Manning tell her story over the phone and you feel yourself quickly slip into empathetic grief for the family. But listen to her tell her story on stage, and you’ll hear that it’s punctuated with something surprising, and probably vital: laughter."
Read the full review here.
"There’s something special about Alice Manning. In fact there’s a lot that’s special about this versatile, talented, intelligent lady. She’s an actress, playwright, and mother with a compelling, special story..."
"Manning’s tale of her family’s struggle with her young son Aidan’s medical problems starting at birth and his subsequent special needs is touching, especially in the intimate Black Box Theater."
Read the full review here.
"This is an evening well-spent at the theater! This playwright/actress gives a brilliantly engaging performance filled with heartache and amazing humor as she takes on all the pivotal characters in her personal journey of fight, survival and triumph."
"... an honest account of what is so familiar to special needs families as well as those who’ve suffered chronic illness."
Read the full review here.
Alice Manning's "Stronger than the Wind" Booked in Greater Boston Area
January 31, 2014
Alice Manning's critically acclaimed "Stronger than the Wind" is one of a handful of performances chosen to commemorate New Rep Theatre's 30th Anniversary Season.
Recently, New Rep Theatre announced their 2014-2015 lineup here. Manning's "Stronger than the Wind" will be showing March 22nd through April 5th, 2015.
Excerpt from New Rep's Website:
"For our 30th Anniversary Season," shares artistic director Jim Petosa, "we believe both in the quality of the plays themselves as well as in what they reflect at this particular time. We purposefully chose plays that speak to our closest collaborators, utilizing the talents of theatre artists who consider New Rep their artistic home."
"The theme of PARADOX," he continues, "explores tales of moral ambiguity and issues of character. Our new season’s plays feature paradoxical characters who are both heroic and antiheroic. They possess certain virtues as well as vices. Our perception of them changes as they live through the stories they play out, in comedy, drama, and musical form."
Manning's "Stronger than the Wind" is sure to make a splash. Her autobiographical journey is vulnerable and, in turn, powerful. Stay tuned for more updates regarding this upcoming performance.
Alice Manning's Story Kicks Off Huff Post Video Series
Original Post Date: August 25, 2011
Excerpt From: The Huffington Post
"When we introduced Breakover earlier this month -- The Huffington Post video series documenting female readers' extraordinary life transformations -- we knew we'd get some great stories. But we were completely unprepared for the phenomenal response. Hundreds of women wrote about reinvention after heartbreak, job loss, bankruptcy, and other life-changing seismic shifts. Thanks to this tremendous outpouring, we're thrilled to present our first installment of the Breakover series here.
'Breakover: Alice Manning,' traces the remarkable journey of a Santa Monica, California-based actress and mother of four who faced the unthinkable and changed course in the darkest period of her life. We're hoping it will move you as much as it moved us, and perhaps inspire you to begin a breakover of your own."
Manning's Family Story - Inspiration for "Stronger than the Wind" - Featured in L.A. Times
Excerpt From: Los Angeles Times
"When friends find out that Alice Manning and her children don't have health insurance, they are surprised.
After all, she is an actress who has entertained troops in Germany with the USO, toured the country in one-woman shows, and appeared in television commercials..."
Read full article here: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/24/business/la-fi-uninsured24-2009dec24
About Alice Manning - Writer, Actor
Alice starred in the National Tour of the one-person show, "Family Secrets", the longest running solo show in Off Broadway History. She taught acting at Harvard for five years and has toured Europe, The United States, and Canada with The USO, The American Repertory Theatre, and the National Players Shakespeare Company. Film and TV include “Lip Service” (directed by William H. Macy), “Wild Bill”, “Cull”, “Picket Fences”, “Inside Stuff”, “Mars-Venus”, “The Guiding Light”, “Real and Uncut”, and "Catholic Curves” (Funny or Die).
Alice has performed in many original cabaret shows at The Gardenia in Hollywood, and has been seen in a variety of TV commercials.
Her most recent solo show, “Stronger Than the Wind”, is making its way across the country beginning in Los Angeles, then Vail, CO, Boston, MA, and NYC.
About Jim Petosa - Director
An award-winning theater artist, educator, and leader, Jim has been Director of the School of Theatre, College of Fine Arts, at Boston University since 2002, as well as Artistic Director of Maryland’s Olney Theatre Center for the Arts and its National Players educational touring company since 1994. He also serves as one of three Artistic Directors for the Potomac Theatre Project in Manhattan (originally in Washington, D.C.), dedicated to producing political works.
For New Repertory Theatre, he directed Three Viewings (2011), The Last Five Years (2011), and Opus (2010). In Boston, his work was nominated for two Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) awards for A Question of Mercy at Boston Center for American Performance (2010). In Maryland, his work earned over 25 Helen Hayes Award nominations, as well as the award for outstanding direction of a musical for Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well…; his production of Look! We Have Come Through! was nominated for the Charles MacArthur Award for outstanding new play. He earned the Montgomery County Executive’s Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Award for Outstanding Artist/Scholar (in Maryland) as well as Maryland Theatre Association’s Award for Theatre Education.
What People Are Saying
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Interested in booking "Stronger than the Wind" at a theater or venue near you? Contact Chris Benninger, YOUR STORY ON FILM LLC, at 330-441-2040 or email@example.com.