Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

A Thousand Words

by Gwendolyn Rice Running Time: 2 hours

February 16, 2012 to
March 11, 2012

Studio Theatre
Directed by Jennifer Uphoff Gray


Featuring Libby Amato, Sarah Day, T. Stacy Hicks, Josh Aaron McCabe, Georgina McKee & Molly Rhode

Sally Quinn, a quick-witted curator from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, travels to the Midwest in search of antique quilts for a new exhibit.  But she stumbles upon something altogether more intriguing: a young woman who might provide a special connection to some rare photographs, and the renowned photographer Walker Evans.

Jumping back and forth from the present to the 1930s, Rice explores the complexities of the art world, personal relationships and, above all, the stories we hold dear.

Originally presented as part of our 2008-2009 Montgomery Davis Play Development Series.

A collaboration with Forward Theater Company of Madison

Sheldon & Marianne Lubar Charitable Fund
Michael & Shirley Mosesson
The Dental Offices of Dr. David Paris
John & Carolyn Peterson Charitable Foundation Inc.

Gwendolyn Rice
Jessica/Abbie Libby Amato
Sally Quinn Sarah Day
Roy/Brian/John T. Stacy Hicks
Walker Evans Josh Aaron McCabe
Andrea Munroe Georgina McKee
Shirley Hughes Molly Rhode


Production Staff
Director Jennifer Uphoff Gray
Scenic Designer Nate Stuber
Costume Designer Hyewon Park
Lighting Designer Jason Fassl
Properties Master Jen Trieloff
Sound Designer Paul Hurley
Stage Manager Judy Martel

T=Talkback: post-show Q&A with actors and director
*=Talk Theatre: pre-show interactive discussion beginning at noon
V=ViewPoints: pre-show presentation beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Talk Theatre

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 12:00 PM

An opportunity to participate in informal pre-show discussions with MCT's Producing Artistic Director and other show-specific theatre artists.

more info


Wednesday, February 22, 2012 6:30 PM

Experience in-depth, pre-show presentations led by engaging guest experts who offer insights into show-related issues and field questions from knowledge-hungry patrons.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012 7:30 PM

Thursday, March 1, 2012 7:30 PM

Thursday, March 8, 2012 7:30 PM

After select Thursday evening performances, you can meet the artists involved in a production, ask questions about the creative process and discuss your theatergoing experience.

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Study Guide


Media Coverage

Chamber Theatre offers an entertaining world premiere production

Thursday, February 23, 2012

by Damien Jaques,; "A Thousand Words" is a smart and entertaining drama that deserves to receive more productions across the country. Even off-Broadway should not be beyond its grasp.

full review

Milwaukee Chamber's Witty 'Thousand Words'

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

by Anne Siegel, Shepherd Express; Thankfully, it doesn't take “a thousand words” to describe the world premiere that opened at the Broadway Theatre Center's intimate Studio Theatre on Friday. In fact, only a few will do: “brilliant,” “witty,” “well crafted” and “entertaining.” There's also the word “go,” as in, “go see this show.”

full review

Weekend Update: "A Thousand Words"

Monday, February 20, 2012

by Paul Kosidowski, Inside; ...It’s just one of the many cannily rendered scenes in Gwendolyn Rice’s new play, which is receiving its world premiere in a joint production by MCT and Madison’s Forward Theatre...

full review

'A Thousand Words' review: On perception, before and after the shutter clicks

Sunday, January 22, 2012

by Lindsay Christians, 77 Square; How an artist changes the people around him, whether it's with a photograph, a compliment or a famous legacy, is at the core of Gwendolyn Rice's insightful play "A Thousand Words,"

full review

Forward Theater Company premieres thought-provoking A Thousand Words

Saturday, January 21, 2012

by Jennifer A. Smith, Isthmus; ...the production (which moves to Milwaukee Chamber Theatre after its Overture run) is entertaining, thought-provoking and a very welcome chance to see new work.

full review


Radio Milwaukee/Make Milwaukee A THOUSAND WORDS

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What makes Milwaukee? Theater. Words. Photography. In fact, Milwaukee Chamber Theater's production of A Thousand Words, written by Gwendolyn Rice, is what is making Milwaukee right now.

full article

'A Thousand Words' speaks volumes about art, realism

Sunday, February 19, 2012

by Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but can it ever do justice to the ghosts caught in the frame? Should we even care, as long as the resulting images entertain - and sell?

full article

Journey to 'A Thousand Words' starts with homegrown steps

Friday, February 17, 2012

by Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; "A Thousand Words," Gwendolyn Rice's new play inspired by the great photographer Walker Evans, takes place in Kansas and New York, and involves Cuba. But the Madison playwright's Wisconsin work experiences raised crucial questions she pursues in the play.

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Lake Effect interview with playwright Gwendolyn Rice

Thursday, February 16, 2012

WUWM's Bonnie North interviews A THOUSAND WORDS playwright Gwendolyn Rice!

full article

Footlights minute A THOUSAND WORDS

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Watch John McGivern's "Footlights Minute" interview with actress Molly Rhode!

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(A Picture is Worth) A Thousand Words

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

by Jenna Kashou, Inside; Just as life can be unexpected, inspiration can also happen at serendipitous or seemingly irrelevant moments. Like reading a newspaper, for example. An article about a set of old photographs by a Depression-era photographer, propelled Madison-based playwright Gwen Rice into a research frenzy back in 2004.

full article

Realities Behind the Fiction

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

“There is no single work of art or literature that summarizes the deep concern with poverty in the 1930s. The work of documentary photographers like Walker Evans may come the closest, in part because the unvarnished humanity of their subjects seemed to transcend its historical moment.” ~Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression, by Morris Dickstein

full article

From First Inspiration to a Life on the Stage: A Timeline

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2004: Playwright Gwendolyn Rice stumbles upon “a newspaper account of when the photos were found amongst (Ernest) Hemingway’s possessions. I had never heard of Walker Evans, but the story really intrigued me.”

full article

‘A Thousand Words’ considers the power of pictures

Thursday, January 26, 2012

by Lindsay Christians, 77 Square; For Madison writer Gwendolyn Rice, there’s always one character in each of her plays with whom she’s a little infatuated. In “A Thousand Words,” that character is Walker Evans.

full article

Forward Theater’s A Thousand Words blends fact and fiction

Thursday, January 19, 2012

by Andrew Winistorfer, A.V. Club; In A Thousand Words, photographer Walker Evans accepts a government job documenting the lives of dustbowl farmers in 1930s Kansas. At the same time, he also accepts a partner: a reluctant writer named Shirley Hughes who will supply the narrative to accompany his images. Eighty years later, some of Evans's photos are discovered in the personal effects of another writer: Ernest Hemingway.

full article

Picturing the Past

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

by Kate Vaughn, Madison Magazine; Juxtaposing the present day with the 1930s, stories unfold to pose the question: How much is a photograph truly worth?

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Gwendolyn Rice's 'A Thousand Words' exposes work of photographer who met Hemingway

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wisconsin State Journal; How "A Thousand Words" came about: The play was conceived after I read a small newspaper article about the owner of a bar in Key West, Fla. He stumbled upon a treasure trove of books, fishing gear, and personal effects from one of the bar's most famous patrons — Ernest Hemingway. Among these items were a collection of black and white photos taken by Walker Evans.

full article

MCT's Commitment to New Works

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An interview with C. Michael Wright & Jacque Troy; Michael & Jacque were recently interviewed about MCT's involvement in the development of A THOUSAND WORDS and our mission to support emerging playwrights.

full article