By Breeda Miller
The idea of writing, producing, and performing a one-person show is pretty crazy. The fact that I have been able to work with a brilliant director and so many absolutely perfect resources and opportunities have magically appeared tells me that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.
How did this happen?
From a ten-minute story about my family’s journey to America to a full-length play with compelling photos shown on a massive screen, fully developed characters, props, lighting, music, and a script that I love more each time I read it, it’s happening.
Mrs. Kelly’s Journey Home will premiere at the Arthur Miller Theatre in Ann Arbor on October 22, 2021. The show is presented by Pencilpoint Theatre and there will be three performances that weekend. Directed by Brian Cox, it’s the story of a woman’s journey from Ireland to America and her struggle with dementia in her later years. And so much more. This show brings to the stage the experiences that are often unspoken of so many generations of immigrants and adults caring for their aged parents.
A few words from our director
“Ever since I saw Spaulding Gray in “Swimming to Cambodia” and Hal Holbrook perform Mark Twain, I have been fascinated by the simplicity and complexity of a one-person show. It has been on my bucket list to direct an original one for many years, and I have kept my eye out for the right person and the right story. Well, I found the right person in Breeda Kelly Miller and the right story in her mother Mary Kelly’s journey from Ireland to America as a young woman and then in her later years her struggle with dementia. I’ve worked with the indefatigable Breeda for several months as she wrote the script and developed the characters, and now I am ecstatic to announce that “Mrs. Kelly’s Journey Home” will be performed Oct. 22-24 at Arthur Miller Theatre in Ann Arbor. I’d love for you all to come see it. Breeda is terrific and you’ll fall in love with her mom.”
How’s it going? It’s going!! I’m wearing many hats these days. Writer, actor, marketer, and all-around juggler of details. The script is finally complete – after 9 revisions. We held a table reading to get a sense of the flow and get feedback from a small audience. Their insight and comments were wonderful and we were able to have a laser focus on what we needed to tweak and adjust to make it better. An informal performance happened at a very special venue, the Celtic Room at Conor O’Neil’s Irish Pub in Ann Arbor. The nearly finished play was performed and well received by another small audience. We were well on our way.
Where to perform?
When it came to finding the perfect venue for the world premiere we couldn’t have created a more perfect theater than the Arthur Miller Theatre on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It’s spacious and has a thrust stage – which means that the stage comes out into the audience and people are seated on three sides of the stage. There are no bad seats. It’s an intimate setting without being small. The lighting and sound system is extraordinary and we couldn’t be more pleased.
Tickets are being handled by the University of Michigan Union Box Office, and the link is live now. It’s not a huge theater and we are really hoping for sold-out performances. The tickets are all general admission and there are no bad seats. Masks are required in all UM buildings. If you’re interested in attending, here is the link: https://mutotix.umich.edu/overview/3002
What’s the plan?
We’re already getting calls and emails from theaters interested in presenting the show, which is very exciting. My big vision is to travel across the country presenting Mrs. Kelly’s Journey Home as a fundraiser for non-profits who are looking for a creative event to engage donors and support their good work. My mother would be delighted. I’m looking to fill up my 2022 calendar so send me a note if you’d like to discuss bringing Mrs. Kelly’s Journey Home to your town. On my website, there is a page dedicated to the show and you will find a link to send an inquiry about future performances and to sign up for a special Mrs. Kelly’s Journey Home Insiders group. I will post future dates and news there first. Here is the link:.Breeda Miller | Mrs. Kelly’s Journey Home
It’s a lot of work but it is a labor of love. Not unlike the labor of love Mary Kelly spent her whole life giving to so many. Thanks again for all the love and support.