The Downwinders of Utah

The online launch of this interactive geospatial timeline coincides with the staged reading of Mary Dickson’s EXPOSED this Sunday Beginning in 1951, the era of nuclear weapons testing was a time of tremendous change at both national and local levels. In the name of national security, a variety of thermonuclear weapons were tested in a remote area of the Nevada desert known as the Nevada Test Site. Fallout and radiation from these tests have affected communities across the nation, in many cases resulting in the loss of property, health and life. The Downwinders of Utah project presents an in-depth study of the nuclear detonations, radioactive fallout and events, which resulted in devastating effects for Utah’s Downwinder population. Through the creation of an interactive timeline, detailed information on nuclear detonations from the Nevada Test Site and fallout statistics for all Utah counties are presented through cartographic maps, animated reconstruction models, interactive motion charts and a variety of graphics related to testing methods, cloud heights and dispersal patterns. In addition to these components, this project includes historic photographs of nuclear detonations, archived newspaper articles depicting impacts and government deception imparted to residents as well as anecdotal oral histories of the era from a few of Utah’s surviving Downwinder. Click here to view the project online. For additional information regarding this project, please email Justin Sorensen, GIS Specialist, J. Willard Marriott Library or Caitlyn Tubbs, Data Visualization Specialist, J.Willard Marriott Library. Additional materials and interactive components will be added to this project as they become available. Click here and scroll down to reserve your free tickets to the Script-In-Hand Series staged reading of Mary Dickson’s EXPOSED this Sunday, August...

Post #416 is a re-post of the first-ever Plan-B Blog entry: Playwright Mary Dickson on writing EXPOSED

As we look ahead to the free Script-In-Hand Series reading of Mary Dickson’s EXPOSED (Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 6pm – click here for free tickets), we thought we’d digitally dial back 415 posts to the very first on the Plan-B Blog, which happens  to be by Mary, written as EXPOSED was about to receive its world premiere in 2007 (this post was also published in the October issue of Catalyst Magazine). I didn’t intend to write a play. I was writing a book about the human consequences of nuclear testing that blended my personal story as a downwinder with powerful documentation. In the summer of 2005, I was invited to spend a month as a writer-in-residence at the Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes, California to work on the manuscript. One day my book would be included on the bookshelf alongside those of previous residents – Terry Tempest Williams, Gray Brechin, Peter Barnes and so many other environmental writers I admired. I returned home that summer with a 275-page manuscript. Then, I met L.A. actress/activist Mimi Kennedy, who was in Salt Lake to speak at a political fundraiser. I told her about my thyroid cancer and my work on behalf of downwinders. It turned out she had family members in New Jersey with thyroid problems. That’s when I showed her part of my manuscript that documented how widespread fallout from nuclear testing was. I showed her how areas in New Jersey and across the country were hot spots, how thyroid problems including cancer like mine were common among people who had been exposed to fallout as children. Later that...

What We’re Doing This Summer (aka Three Press Releases, One Blog Post)

Jenifer Nii’s RUFF! receives its world premiere with six free public performances as part of the inaugural Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival August 6-8, 2015 Noon and 1:30pm (no performances August 9) Running time: 35 minutes Admission: Free tickets available at the door beginning at 11am on performance days Location: Sprague Branch, City Library, 2131 S. Highland Drive (downstairs) RUFF!, created specifically for grades K-3 (but accessible to children of all ages!), is a metaphorical “tail” of two shelter dogs. Axel (a shelter regular played by Tyson Baker) and Buddy (a shelter novice played by Latoya Rhodes). Together they discover what’s possible when dogs and their people learn to see past stereotypes and summon the courage to be the best they can be. Directed by Jerry Rapier. Intermountain Therapy Animals will have therapy dogs present at each performance. The use of therapy dogs, trained to interact with all humans calmly and equally, is to ensure that each human-canine interaction is a positive one. Read more from playwright Jenifer Nii in the July issue of Catalyst Magazine. RUFF! will then tour as Plan-B’s Free Elementary School Tour to more than 10,000 elementary students from Weber to Juab County, funded in part by Community Foundation of Utah, Salt Lake City Arts Council and an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Mary Dickson’s EXPOSED receives a Script-In-Hand Series reading in partnership with Utah Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (UCAN) Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 6pm Running time: 90 minutes Admission: Free, click here for tickets Location: Jeanne Wagner Theatre at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W 300 S EXPOSED places a...

Teresa Sanderson's Most Memorable Plan-B Role

Teresa Sanderson has appeared in Plan-B’s Script-In-Hand Series, a slew of SLAMs, all but one RADIO HOUR, STAGE DIRECTIONS, ANIMAL FARM, TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY, THE ALIENATION EFFEKT, EXPOSED, DI ESPERIENZA and MESA VERDE. Pick my most memorable Plan-B role? I’m not sure how to do that. Each one has been a rich and rewarding experience. It is sort of like picking a favorite child. My history with Plan-B is long. I have made life long friends, and feel lucky to be part of the Plan-B family. There’s ANIMAL FARM (my kids’ favorite) and TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY (my husband’s favorite). I guess if I have to pick, I am going to have to say Mary Dickson’s EXPOSED, about the impact of nuclear testing on our state and our nation. To be part of telling Mary’s personal story, thousands of people’s story, as it turns out, was a great honor. It is a huge responsibility to play real people on stage. In EXPOSED I was excited and intimidated all at the same time. I knew that all of the characters that I played were going to see the show at one point or another. Now I can really relate to the fact the we were an easy target. Patriotic people who are used to following what our leaders said. I am a very patriotic person, brought up to respect authority. Both of my parents were public servants. My father an authority figure. I did what he said and never ask why. Our government told us we would be safe, and we believed them. I can imagine myself on test days sitting...

PREPARING FOR THE UTAH TOUR OF EXPOSED

KIRT BATEMAN, ACTOR I’m honored to be part of EXPOSED. But it means more to me now that it did last year. I am – as this tour commences -losing my mother-in-law to cancer caused by exposure from our government’s mighty show of nuclear strength. Another light going out…this one too close to home. As one government official put it so many years ago when justifying the tests: “[these people] are a low-use segment of the population.” Well, that’s my partner’s mother, my friend’s father, our playwright’s sister, and YOU he’s referring to. JOYCE COHEN, ACTOR I am so pleased to have an opportunity to present this play again. It’s my fervent wish that it will continue to be seen and heard and, schedule permitting, that I may continue to be a part of it. It is so important that the power of this play be experienced. TERI COWAN, ACTOR My delusional self was thinking that picking up EXPOSED was kind of going to be a breeze. However, now that I’ve spent some time back in the script, I’m remembering all the non-verbals, the action worked around a prop and the body language that spoke volumes. Wondering how we’ll re-create all of that in a “reading” performance. Thankfully, I trust our director to remedy those issues. MARY DICKSON, PLAYWRIGHT I can’t believe it’s been a year since the premiere of EXPOSED! It’s thrilling to be able to take it around the state with the original cast and bring this important story to new audiences. It’s our story as Utahns and as Americans. Plus, I can’t wait to spend time...

Actress Teresa Sanderson Reflects On Opening Week of EXPOSED

Well here we go, we survived hell week and the show is open. That is always a feat, but for this show it was surreal. We did the show for Mary’s family on Wednesday night. After the performance Julie, (Mary and Ann’s sister) thanked us for giving her her sister nack for an hour and a half. I cried, we all cried. The next night (our preview) the house was sold out and full of the folks from Heal Utah – the energy was intense. Actors love that energy we get from an audience but I don’t think I’ve ever had it coming at me like that before. The show went well and I think we all felt like we were ready to open. Good thing because we are opening and Jerry informs us that the run is almost sold out and we will be adding performances. So finally it’s here…opening night. Now mind you Kirt and I know that some of the people we play will be seeing the play, I had already met Carole Gallagher at the Gallery opening the Friday before, she was lovely and I tried to relax. But opening night (after the show, thanks God) they were suddenly All there it was crazy. I had an idea that Michelle Thomas was there because there was a jazzy wheelchair in the lobby as we made out entrance and, oh yeah, I was sitting two chairs away from here the entire play. Tried hard not to think about that too. Then walking across the street to the after-show party Jerry introduced me to Darlene Phillips. I...

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