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Difficult subjects tackled on county stages

The cast of "Making Advances: Revealing Stories About Gender & Sexual Identity" from left: Chania Hudson, Brichard Foley, Maia Krapcho, Douglas Beatty, Sarah Luckadoo, Michael Makar, Makayla Beckles, Kelli Jones, Allie Press, Daniel Johnston, Jamie Barrios.
The cast of "Making Advances: Revealing Stories About Gender & Sexual Identity" from left: Chania Hudson, Brichard Foley, Maia Krapcho, Douglas Beatty, Sarah Luckadoo, Michael Makar, Makayla Beckles, Kelli Jones, Allie Press, Daniel Johnston, Jamie Barrios. (Courtesy photo/Bruce F. Press Photography)

The month of June finds numerous productions occurring throughout the region.

On June 2 and 3, a free musical staged reading of “My Other Mother, the Musical” will take place at Church at Covenant Park. A story about adoption, the story is a fictional account loosely based on Steffi Rubin, the playwright’s, life.

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“When I was 12 years old, I was told matter-of-factly that I was adopted,” Rubin recalled. “It was like getting a super power. This play is about this experience and all that began at that point.”

Rubin, who was raised in New York, found her birth mother and two half-sisters years later as a adult. While it has been a positive experience - her one sister is traveling from Conneticut to see the show - it has had challenges, too.

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“I had to deal with the comparisons of my fantasies with the reality,” Rubin said. “There are several dynamics in the play where we come to terms with the things that shaped us and formed us.”

A graphic artist and designer, Rubin had a play produced in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she retired after 30 years in Howard County. This is her first musical and she collaborated with Miriam Kook, who composed the music.

While it is a musical, only a reading will take place with minimal props and costumes.

“This is an opportunity to learn about the play in front of an audience,” Rubin said. “We will see how the story stands on its own.”

“My Other Mother -the Musical” will be read on June 2, at 7 p.m. and June 3, at 3 p.m., at The Church at Covenant Park, 4550 Centennial Lane, Ellicott City. Free. myothermotherthemusical.com.

Howard Community College’s Arts Collective will conclude its 23rd season with “Making Advances: Revealing Stories About Gender & Sexual Identity” on June 7-17.

Created by the cast, the play is done with an improv-style, according to Sue Kramer, artistic director.

“This is our eighth original production,” Kramer said. “This is not a written, scripted piece. The cast knows the beginning, middle and end, but it is not scripted on paper.”

The cast of 10 actors will also be joined on stage by 24 people from the community through previously taped interviews that are part of the production.

“It was a beautiful process actually,” Kramer said, of creating the production. We tried to attempt different takes in our story-telling.”

The best takes “bubbled to the top,” Kramer said, and everyone worked to “tie it altogether.”

“Making Advances: Revealing Stories About Gender & Sexual Identity” will take place June 7-17, in the Studio Theatre in the Horowitz Visual and Performing ARts Center, at Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia. Tickets are $15; $10 for students, seniors, faculty, staff and military. Go to howardcc.edu or call 443-518-1500.

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“Telling This Truth,” a theatrical event, will take place on June 21, at 7 p.m. at Slayton House Theatre.

The production is done in conjunction with Hope Works Howard County, a nonprofit that provides services to women, men and children impacted by sexual assault and domestic violence in Howard County, according to its website.

The production will tell the stories of 10 victims and how they survived, according to Judy Templeton, director.

“They are actual victims of all kinds of violence and they tell their stories and triumphs,” Templeton said. “It’s the real deal.”

Templeton admitted that auditions for the play were hard.

“I wanted to take everybody,” she said. “I let the staff at Hope Works design the piece.”

The 10 stories are all very different, Templeton said. While some wrote their own scripts, others were given help to recreate their stories.

“We have a variety of issues,” Templeton said. “Immigration. Transgender. Rape. Child abuse.”

All the stories come together under one script, she said.

“It is inspiring,” Templeton said. “They’re just so encouraging. It is not something you go home from feeling depressed.”

“Telling This Truth” takes place June 21, at 7 p.m., at Slayton House Theatre, 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia. Tickets are free. Donations are welcome. Call 410-997-0304.

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