ANN ARBOR—Two years after graduating from the University of Michigan, an event that was immediately preceded by a terrifying diagnosis of cancer that threatened to end his career, actor and playwright Alex Kip has penned a play inspired by his experience.
"My Other Voice," directed by Ari Laura Kreith, will premiere in Ann Arbor at the Arthur Miller Theatre on the U-M campus Thursdays through Sundays from Aug. 15 to Sept 1.
Kip, 25, a native of Columbus, Ohio, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre from U-M and is also a graduate of the London Dramatic Academy. He was given a 15 to 30 percent chance of survival after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma as a senior at U-M.
During subsequent treatment at the U-M Medical Center, Kip lost his voice. "No longer able to speak or sing," he said, "I found new strength in helping others."
Now in complete remission, Kip wrote "My Other Voice" with the goal of providing inspiration and hope to other cancer patients. With the play's cinematic use of projections by designer Justin Lang, Kip hopes the play will be more accessible to audiences of young adults who may not know that the survival rate for their peers with cancer has not improved at the same rate as other age groups. Cancer incidence among young adults has increased more than any other age group, becoming the number one disease killer in that population.
Rehearsals began in July with new elements being added each day. A variety of local talent is featured including Scott Crownover and Jim Cavalcoli, an assistant professor of computational medicine and bioinformatics, from Ann Arbor, and Anne Miranda from Lansing. Also current U-M students, graduates and professionals from New York are at work molding the play into a unique theatrical experience.
"My Other Voice" has received several readings with industry professionals in New York and had a staged reading in Columbus, Ohio. The production is offering a free yoga class prior to selected performances as well as post-show talkbacks featuring doctors in training, patients and physicians.