You’ve never seen anything like it.
Poetry and theater fans alike will find something totally unique in "Missing You, Metropolis". Comic book fans will be over the moon and anyone with a connection to Topeka will relate to characters through the connection of place
The adaptation for the stage of poems by Washburn University graduate Gary Jackson was a collaboration spearheaded by Penny Weiner, director of "Missing You, Metropolis" and associate professor of theatre.
In spite of more than nine inches of snow that closed the Washburn campus for two days, the show will go on as scheduled Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the University Theatre. Anyone with a Washburn ID will be admitted free. General admission tickets are $8. Jackson, who got to Kansas City prior to the storm, is expected to attend the performances Friday and Saturday and be available to sign copies of his book.
Weiner first worked with the poetry of "Missing You, Metropolis" in fall 2011, while she taught a class on theatre form. She spoke to Jackson, who took a playwriting class from her as a Washburn student, and he eagerly gave his blessing to adapt.
“He said ‘Go ahead, I’ll be there!” Weiner recalled.
Later, she brought in Israel Wasserstein, lecturer, English; Tom Averill, professor, English and Eric McHenry, assistant professor, English.
Weiner said the entire production of "Missing You, Metropolis" was a labor of love for her, from seeking out African American male actors for the two lead roles to recruiting artists to create the powerful images projected during the play.
“People seem really excited about it,” Weiner said of audience reaction. “It’s a story about this place. They’re touched by Gary’s story.”
Jackson’s poems reflect his life and his passion. Growing up in Topeka, the challenges of adolescence and loss, a love of comic books and a unique look inside the minds of the comic book characters he loved are all woven together in the play to create a compelling production.
“I love the play,” Weiner said. “I think it is beautiful work.”
Among the actors, 10 of 16 are current Washburn students and only one person in the play did not have a Washburn connection prior to rehearsals.
After Saturday’s performance, Jackson will lead a discussion about the work.