Poems at the Playhouse: Poetry from Verse Wisconsin
and Forward Theater Company

To read the Poems at the Playhouse, click on the Next button, or poets' names in the sidebar on the right.

Forward Theater Company and Verse Wisconsin are excited to be collaborating on a project that encourages audiences to experience how different types of artists interact with a shared subject matter. Forward opens the 2013-14 season with the Wisconsin premiere of award-winning Sons of the Prophet by acclaimed playwright Stephen Karam. To complement the production, Madison-area writers were invited to submit poems to Verse Wisconsin in response to one of the play’s sources of inspiration, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

All selected poems incorporate at least one line or phrase from The Prophet and respond more generally to the themes of The Prophet and Sons of the Prophet. In addition to having the selected poems published in the October issue of Verse Wisconsin, and on display in the lobby of the Overture Center during the run of Sons of the Prophet in November, they will also be heard thanks to two more exciting partnerships.

The Wisconsin Book Festival and the Wisconsin Historical Society are presenting events that juxtapose the winning poets reading their pieces with actors reading scenes from Sons of the Prophet. It is a wonderful and rare opportunity to see two different artists—actors and poets—share the stage.

These events also allow audiences to experience these works in slightly different ways than they traditionally might. Hearing a poem read—particularly by the poet— provides a new way of interacting with the piece than reading the poem on paper. Additionally, to see actors without a finished production around them perform scenes from a play often allows the words the playwright wrote to stand out quite differently when there aren’t costumes, lights, and sets to fill the picture.

If the arts provide a place to share and discuss ideas, emotions, and events, than collaborations like this one, that invite so many different artists and audiences together, are particularly thrilling in the inclusive spirit that discussion takes.

Play Synopsis: If to live is to suffer, then Joseph and Charles Douaihy are more alive than most. Their father has died in a tragic accident and their ailing uncle is losing it— putting the brothers’ once unbreakable sense of humor to the test. Amidst all this, Joseph’s eccentric boss is pressuring him to write a memoir about his family’s distant connection to Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet. With unexplained chronic pain and the fate of his reeling family on his shoulders, Joseph’s health, sanity, and insurance coverage are on the line. 

To read the Poems at the Playhouse, click on the Next button below, or poets' names in the sidebar on the right.