The Unique Art Form of the Traveling Playwright

"Pippa’s performance of Women Who Changed the World was absolutely charming. Our employee resource group, Women in Leadership (WIL) had the great privilege of hosting Pippa as part of our celebration for Women’s History month. Our audience was awestruck with her unique story telling skills and her ability to engage you in a moment of history thru the characters she brings to life on the stage. Captivating, Entertaining, Enlightening, Educational, left you wanting more…..these are just a few of the comments made by those who attended Pippa's production. It was a pleasure and an honor to host such a gifted performer. "
– Brooke Riera,
Mutual of Omaha

“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way.” -Flannery O’Connor, American author 

Storytelling is a multimedia art form. We can immerse ourselves in the world created by the words in a book, or enjoy the visual display of a movie. But nothing tells a story quite like the experience offered by the traveling playwright. 

While other present-day media presents a story that is frozen in time-you can pause a movie or put down a book-the traveling playwright’s currencies are immediacy and poignancy. The Pippa White’s One’s Company presents stories of the past before the audiences’ eyes. To see a live storyteller is to see stories in the flesh. To see Pippa White perform is to witness the fleeting nature of history, and of life itself. 

While the art of story can truly be appreciated in its many forms, there is something special in witnessing a live performance. It is a form older than most. In times past, a storyteller was anyone with a tale to share around a fire, a meal, or on a journey. Troubadours and bards travelled and sang their songs, spreading ideas and stories through music and lyrics. Pippa White keeps an old tradition alive in an age when stories are more often consumed in isolation than shared as communal experiences. In our digital age when everything from ideas to news to stories travels around the world in the blink of an eye, her performances remind us that the human touch is just as important, just as immediate, as it always has been. 

If, according to Flannery O’Connor, a story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, then the traveling playwright tells the story in a way no other medium can. Pippa White One’s Company is pleased to share that tradition with you.

The story—from Rumplestilskin to War and Peace—is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind for the purpose of understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories. — Ursula K. LeGuin, author 

When we think of story, often books come to mind. Books that shaped us as a child or entertained us as adults. But books are only one of many forms the story can take. We all have stories in our minds about that failed event years ago, the person who dumped us, or how we beat cancer. There are the group narratives we participate in through our organizations, from country clubs to churches to countries. And, as Ursula K. LeGuin says, we tell stories to understand. 

What are we trying to understand? Even our personal stories are part of a bigger picture. Our group narratives help us understand our identity and place within our families and cultures. The stories told by society filter their way into our psyche and manifest in our personal stories, creating inroads that loop from the group to the individual and back again. 

We need to be aware of these stories to understand them. To do that, as Pippa White knows, we must give them voice and share them with others. We must practice listening. Hearing the stories of different people and places is vital. To experience a Pippa White One’s Company performance is to do just that, as Pippa White herself transports listeners across time through powerful stagecraft. 

Whether used to make meaning out of individual life events or to share in another’s experience, stories can bind a community together. Pippa White One’s Company strives to participate in this mutual understanding, and to invite others along in the narrative of what it means to be human.

“It has been said that next to hunger and thirst, our most basic human need is for storytelling.” —- Khalil Gibran, author, poet 

Humans have always been storytellers. From the first paintings on cave walls, we have sought to communicate what we hope and fear, what we long for and search for. From oral to visual to written forms, storytelling is many things. It can be a form of self-expression or identification. We tell friends about things we’ve done or seen. Even reading or watching movies is an interpretive experience, when characters reflect some hidden corner of ourselves or remind us of a friend. 

But storytelling has always been a communal experience. Stories link us to the past and give us visions of the future. They remind us of our origins, of how much has changed, and how much has remained the same. Most importantly, they remind us of the human story: we may come from different corners of the globe, but we are more alike than we are different. We are connected to one another. 

Pippa White One Company honors the need for storytelling that brings us together and keeps the past alive. Pippa White breathes to life the voices of strong women, orphan children, and brave reformers who faced challenges that shaped them and their world. She invites us to step outside of ourselves and to engage in the past. 

Stories string us to the past in living, pulsing threads. To see Pippa White perform is to see her weave these threads into an unforgettable experience that remains with viewers long after the lights have dimmed. Step into the past with Pippa White One Company and experience entertainment that fosters contemplation. Rediscover the joys and sorrows of sitting with the stories of people you have never met, but whose footsteps ring clearly for those with a listening ear.

LESLIE DILEO REVIEWS VOICES FROM THE RESISTANCE
UNITED SOLO THEATRE FESTIVAL
Created and Performed by Pippa White

The subject matter in this show is so profound and well-presented, it makes you forget about your spat with Time Warner Cable and the Starbuck’s lady who got your order wrong. And it makes you feel like a real slacker for all the hours you waste on the couch watching re-runs of Criminal Minds. Voices from the Resistance reminds us that for all the American lives lost to war, we are very lucky not to have faced an invading army in our country.

Pippa White’s portrayal of five real women who resisted the Nazis in France, Germany, Norway and Hungary is riveting, heartbreaking and suspenseful. Literally wearing different hats to change characters, Ms. White tells five stories in a nicely balanced rotation which adds tension to these already emotionally charged tales.
She sets the mood perfectly with French music of the 1940s and Powerpoint photos of Nazi soldiers and citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish as the conflicts escalate. She also has pictures of the resistance fighters which reflect the intimacy and commitment that made them as family to each other.

Early in the show, the power failed on the Powerpoint, and Ms. White (in character as the energetic and capable Marianne) attempted to fix it. Though the pictures (provided courtesy of a variety of sources including the actual women and their families and the U.S. Holocaust Museum) would have been wonderful to see, Ms. White had so thoroughly entranced us bringing the characters to life with her voice, body language, and facial expressions that we didn’t miss them at all.

Resistance fighters performed all kinds of missions: from concealing secret documents in umbrellas to parachuting into Nazi-occupied territory. They used acting skills, nerves of steel, gunfire and (sometimes) feminine wiles to defend their countries and help the victims of the brutal regime. It’s likely that 500,000 people were involved in the Resistance during World War II, but no records were kept. It’s hard to imagine the bravery and sacrifice of these people; fortunately, we have talented performers like Pippa White and beautiful shows like Voices from the Resistance to do these heroes justice.
HAPPY FACE

United Solo Festival
Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
212-239-6200