Returning author, playwright, choreographer, and lyricist Alison Neuman has some news for us in our continuing 2017 Where Are They Now? series. Last year, she mentioned that two producers were interested in working together to reproduce her musical and play for Fringe Festival stages in 2017. The play, The Sunset Syndrome, debuted at the Walterdale Theatre in May 2016 (see bio below) and will also be performed at the 2017 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival this August (more details below under Upcoming events).
Interview with Alison Neuman
Alison Neuman grew up with a rare autoimmune disease called dermatomyositis. Arthritis followed, which is why she uses a wheelchair for navigation. She loves writing and has explored many avenues of the art, including writing plays and musicals.
Alison’s musical, Searching for Normal, debuted in the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival in 2013, and her play, The Sunset Syndrome, debuted at the Walterdale Theatre in From Cradle to Stage, New Works Festival in May 2016.
Alison is also a lyricist with three tracks appearing on the CD Outside The Window and songs in the musical Searching for Normal.
She is an author of these books
- Ice Rose–A Young Adult Spy Novel (mystery novel aimed at age 12+)
- Searching for Normal: A Memoir (my autobiography aimed at adults)
- Don’t Eat Family/On Ne Manage Pas La Famille (children’s picture books in English or French aimed at kids of all ages)
- Help From Friends (a sequel to the previous children’s book)
Full bio and book trailers at Interview with Alison Neuman, Author (October 2016)
Speaking with Alison Neuman
What were your most significant accomplishments over the past year?
In 2016, The Sunset Syndrome, as part of the Walterdale Theatre From Cradle to Stage New Play Festival, gave me an opportunity to work on my play with a dramaturg and witness the play growing from the page to the process for the director, actors, and production of a theatre production.
Additionally, my dance piece, Fix You, which I choreographed with a group of talented local dancers, was in the CRIPSiE (Collaborative Radically Integrated Performers Society in Edmonton) November 2016 show, Careful.
What was your greatest obstacle?
My greatest obstacle with this play has been the writing process. The content is so personal because I have been a caregiver* for family members with dementia. I wanted this play to be a voice for persons with dementia because often in the progression of the dementia, when the person becomes confused or is unable to verbally communicate or move around independently, the person inside that still remains becomes lost in the process. The content needed to be realistic, while at the same time, having engaging characters the actors could create and the audience could connect with.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of giving the audience insight to the thoughts and process of a person with dementia. Also, I am so proud to have the amazing group of people–Catherine, Rebecca, Kevin, Peg, Andy, Grace, Shelby, Kohl, and Rosie–who take the words from the page and magically transform them into a living, breathing story.
What are your goals or upcoming projects for 2017?
Another theatre director, Dylan Thomas, is working with me on ensuring my musical Searching for Normal is refreshed and solid. The musical was originally in the 2013 Fringe. After some tweaking, a new song, and a new direction, the plan will be released as a new production in May 2018.
What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?
I love to cook!
Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival (August 17-27, 2017)
- The Sunset Syndrome, written by Alison Neuman (times, dates, venues)
Words in the Park (September 30, 2017)
- details on my Events page