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Bringing Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare, and 8 world class actors to Longview, Washington to build a play in and for the community.
168 backers pledged $10,555 to help bring this project to life.

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$10,555

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STRETCH GOAL:

Hey everybody: we hit our $10,000 goal. Thank you to everyone that has supported us in hitting this ambitious target. We have two days to go, and we're announcing a STRETCH GOAL of $12,000. If we hit this goal, the additional funds will be used between this summer and next to help establish the Williams Project as a 501c3 non-profit. Please help out if you can!

What is the Williams Project?

My father grew up in the small town of Longview, Washington. As a child and young man, I spent a lot of time in this town. It provided a wonderful community for me: kind, friendly, peaceful. It was full of tradition and stability. It felt safe. Theatre provided a different kind of community: passionate, diverse, and experimental. It was full of weird people willing to try new things in hopes of finding a better way.

Small towns and theatres offer us very different ideas of what a community is, and I've always found it easiest to keep them separate. There’s less friction that way. But I realize now that ease was a kind of cowardice. Theatre and small towns need each other more than ever right now precisely to foster this tension, to remind us that both kinds of community are alive and struggling inside us, to push us to expand our view of ourselves and one another. To challenge us to love more fully.

This summer, I’m bringing eight of the best actors I’ve worked with in my decade as a theatre artist to Longview to work on Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams and Henry VI by William Shakespeare. Both Tennessee and Shakespeare came from small towns. Both of these plays go right at the heart of the tension between towns and outsiders, stability and agitation, tradition and renewal. Both examine how love, or the lack of it, shape our various communities. 

Living together, we will build two full pieces in two weeks. We will share our progress on each piece at the Intiman Studios in Seattle, and finally we will share the pieces we build  with the people of Longview.

What is the money being used for? 

Paying actors. 

To create great theatre in a small town or anywhere else requires great actors. It’s my belief that great artists should be working class people. The actors who have accepted my invitation to participate in this project are not famous or rich. They are craftsmen and craftswomen. They work incredibly hard, sacrifice their bodies, open themselves up to showing strangers very painful and personal things. And in exchange, I think they deserve to make enough money to pay their rent.

I'm trying to raise money to pay these actors a living wage of $500/week.

These are the wonderful people your donations will be supporting:

Grant Chapman, Becky Gibel, Tangela Large, Elise LeBreton
Chinasa Obuagu, Richard Prioleau, Max Rosenak, Charlie Thurston

What happens if you raise more than your goal?

If you believe, like I do, that actors should be paid fairly for their time, the simple answer is that more money will give us more time. We will use any additional money to lay the groundwork for extending this project into the future, continuing a relationship with Longview and Seattle, and more fully developing the pieces we're building. In the long term, I'm hoping that this project will become the foundation for a sustainable, working-class theatre company that continues to build populist, excellent work and share it with a diverse community. Any money we receive beyond our goal will help that cause.

Please, think about giving if you can. Your contribution means the world to me and my colleagues -- and we also curated some special rewards to show our appreciation.

With gratitude,
Ryan Guzzo Purcell

Risks and challenges

We're building a professional company but operating outside of a traditional model. This opens us to challenging producing issues with no prior framework to build upon. I've already overcome unexpected issues in working with Actor's Equity Associaton (the professional Actors Union), regarding paying into my actor's pension funds. I'm sure there will be other unexpected problems that arise in bringing my actors together. I will try to solve them the same way I worked with the Union, by being upfront about my goals, establishing personal relationships, and asking for help from someone in the network of colleagues I've built during my years as a theatre artist.

The other challenge may be around dispersing our prizes. We're relying on generosity of sponsors and friends to create many of our materials, and while all of our supporters are reliable, when people are doing things out of generosity they sometimes take longer than expected. We will work incredibly hard to make sure that all of our contributors receive what we promise them as quickly as we can. Your support is what makes all of this possible, and we want to show our gratitude as fully as possible.

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Support

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    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    INSTANT GRATITUDE. Every little bit helps! Thank you for your support!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    THE SHOUTOUT OPTION. Special thanks to you printed in our playbill and a copy of it sent to you.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    THE POSTER PACKAGE. Everything above, plus a 11x17 poster of the event.

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    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    SIGNED POSTER PACKAGE. Everything above, plus a signed 11x17 poster of the event by the cast.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    THE VAL BAG. A tote bag designed based on the famous snakeskin jacket worn by Val Xavier in Orpheus Descending.

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    16 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    TICKET OPTION 1: An exclusive ticket to our Monday, July 14th showing of a collection of Shakespeare's work from War of the Roses at the Intiman Rehearsal Studios in Seattle, WA. Not available to the public.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    TICKET OPTION 2: An exclusive ticket to our Monday, July 21st showing of Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending at the Intiman Rehearsal Studios in Seattle, WA. Not available to the public.

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    Reward no longer available 18 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    THE ARTISAN PRINT. A hand carved, hand printed 8x10 linocut print of 808 Lone Oak Road, the site of our retreat. Made exclusively for backers of the Williams Project.

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    10 backers
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    THE TONY. A digital recording of a song by the cast performed for you. The cast will perform an original song to thank you for your support in addition to a signed 11x17 Williams Project poster.

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    GO JOOKIN' WITH DIRECTOR RYAN PURCELL. As Carol Cutrere describes it in Orpheus Descending: “drink a little and drive a little and stop and dance a little to a juke box." Or, in our case, get a home cooked meal prepared by the director and then move to a private karaoke room and sing and dance and drink and celebrate. (Must be located in San Francisco.)

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    THE LOADED TOTE BAG. Our snakeskin tote bag containing the playbill, signed copy of our working script, the linocut, and a recording of your name being used in the hubbub of a scene.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    GOURMET DINNER WITH THE CAST & DIRECTOR. Join all the actors and director for a four-course gourmet meal with drink pairings in Seattle, Washington on Sunday, July 13th.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ONE-ON-ONE AUDITION COACHING. 6 hours of personal coaching with Director Ryan Purcell. With his experience as Casting Director at the Magic Theatre and teaching acting at Brown University, Ryan will help prepare your young actor for the collegiate or professional audition circuit.

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    Pledge US$ 750 or more About US$ 750

    THE ULTIMATE JOOKIN' EXPERIENCE.
    A limo will pick you up in Seattle and drive you to the show in Longview, WA on Saturday, July 19th. Includes beverages, hors d’oeuvres, dinner and the show.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    FOUNDER'S CIRCLE. You will be listed as a member of the Founder's Circle for as long as the Williams Project is alive.

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Funding period

- (30 days)