The Great Forgotten--A NYC Fringe Festival Favorite written by Karen and Kacie Devaney. A narrativeabout two sisters Elizabeth and Celia, who become Army nurses during WWI. When they return to Manhattan from the tragedies of the trenches...the Roaring Twenties is beginning to bloom and the women find themselves in the thick of the suffragist movement. They become flappers with a past; one sister moves on from the memories of war, the other clings to loss.
More Great Forgotten Please
Isabel Zamaroni NYC Freelance Journalist
Although New York’s famed International Fringe Festival is officially a memory; one indelible play in particular, left me riveted and yearning for more. The Great Forgotten, was a compelling narrative, written by, Karen and Kacie Devaney, about two American sisters, Celia and Elizabeth, who give their services as nurses during WWI, in France. They experience the travesties of the trenches but also the comradery of laboring long hours with other women, who joined the Army in hopes of making a difference.
When Elizabeth and Celia return to their home town in New York City, the Roaring Twenties is ablaze and they become flappers dancing at a local Speak Easy. Celia embraces the new found freedom for women, reveling in the gaiety of the twenties, where women’s self-expression was paramount. Elizabeth, on the other hand, remains tortured by the traumas she witnessed and the love she lost. She suffers from what today we diagnose as, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
The veracity and stunning portrayal of the nursing scenes was striking. When, I ask, has Broadway or Hollywood honored nurses of war, told their side of the stories? The nurses of WWI, were sent overseas before any man set foot on foreign soil. After toiling in the trenches as Army nurses, when they returned to the states their rank and title was lowered to that of volunteer.
The Great Forgotten was a poignant play that captured the journey of women during the war and the ensuing lack of historic recognition for their efforts. The verbiage and dialogue was authentic as was the acting and it was obvious the playwrights did their research. While the set was minimalized, the director, Paul Morris did a beautiful job of telling the story and creating a believable posse of soldiers, nurses, and flappers. Francis Patrelle, a renowned New York choreographer, with fifty original ballets under his belt from his company, Dances Patrelle, choreographed the dance scenes in The Great Forgotten, which were; brilliant, bawdy, and thoroughly entertaining. Kacie Devaney, Julie Voshell, and Morgan Doelp were mesmerizing to watch.
The scenes flip flop between a Speak Easy in New York City, where Elizabeth meets a veteran, Ben, and the actual war scenes that take place in France at a makeshift hospital known as Evac 5. The interactions between the French and American soldiers and the nurses was imbued with genuine French accents and gave lilt and levity to the war scenes. The language barrier, among the lead actors, Julie Voshell who played Elizabeth and Martin Balaguer as Leandre, a French Lieutenant and Elizabeth’s lover, was endearing, romantic even. The playwrights’ clever device of capturing the war stories through a conversation between two veterans, works beautifully.
Both Kacie Devaney, who played the role of Celia, and Julie Voshell (Elizabeth), were convincing. The touching scenes between the sisters brought tears to many in the audience. The subject matter, spanned women’s right to vote, to birth control, to women getting equal pay as men in the workforce, all done under the guise of conversation—and it struck a chord with the fact that women still today, are not on equal footing with their male counterparts. Birth control, abortion, and women fettered by world=wide inequality remain relevant topics today.
We need more plays like The Great Forgotten to remember the infinite struggles that remain pertinent, not only for women, but for all those who have suffered and struggled to be heard. This is a fresh piece with all the elements that make theatre great—beauty, tragedy, and impeccable storytelling. In 2015, all facets of the theatre remain dominated by men, and women playwrights remain in the shadows. This play is deserving of a larger production to bring its message and artistry to audiences yearning for more than fifty shades of rehashed shows.
Comments-Please any opinions, queries, or remarks here! Karen and Kacie are actively looking to bring The Great Forgotten to the Broadway stages. This endearing play is packed with all of the magic and elements that make Theatre great!
A novel about a woman's journey into the world of art, love, and the secrets of her heritage. Juliana, the protagonist, is torn between two men, two worlds, and two decisions that will alter the course of her life. This riveting narrative is packed with both humor and sorrow that have readers routing from all vistas of the story.
Available at Wisdom House Books
I'd read anything Karen Devaney writes....
The reading and discussion at Readers Books in Sonoma California was well attended with a fantastic question and answer session.
To book a reading please use the contact page.
My African Dance Class
Dance is an expression of your inner most desires.
My background is a hodgepodge of professions; Registered Nurse, Performer, Writer, and Educator. Growing up in an Irish/Italian family story telling was a way of life. My father filled my head with all sorts of characters my favorite of which was Ralph; a raft floating pie stealing pig. It was not until I was older that I realized Ralph and his cohorts were fictional! No surprise that I fell in love with writing for children! Children's stories pique my creativity. I like to bust through gender roles with diverse characters who reflect the array of faces and cultures from around the world. Look in the Karen's Kids Books tab for more details.
With Crow; The Tale of Two Sisters began in Big Sur California--a place of wonder and magic. I longed to write a good adventure book for middle grade girls. One that shuns gender myths and explores Native American themes. (I was told that in my past life I was a Sioux healer! Who knew!) My next upcoming middle grade novel is about two friends whose fathers are at war with one another; The Ships of Monterey features historical facts sprinkled in a tale of friendship, loyalty, and going against the grain.
I try to be an involved human being by caring about as much as I can without going mad! It may sound cliche but seriously "all we need is love."
Thank you for visiting--please come again!
WITH CROW; THE TALE OF TWO SISTERS
With Crow; The Tale of Two Sisters is a middle grade novel laced with Native American themes, adventure, and a story driven narrative. Karen Devaney is an author known for her storytelling talents for both children and adults. Julie and Bridget, the main characters in this gripping tale, are modern adventurers as they seek to find remnants of their past. They are on a mission to find the people who knew their parents before they perished in a head on collision. The deadly crash causes, Julie and Bridget, to be condemned to live in San Francisco with the two meanest people on the planet, Aunt Rosie and Uncle Sam.
When the girls are old enough to plot their escape, they receive a mysterious letter from a W.C. who happens to be the last person to see their parents alive. The sisters encounter danger, new friends, and a crow they name Angel as they bike, bus, and train their way back to Wyoming to find W.C.. Along the way, Julie and Bridget meet a host of characters; an old man named Ernie, a migrant worker, and a Sioux Indian Tribe. These and others play a critical role in leading the girls to the knowledge they have longed for. Angel becomes just that-- a winged guardian that watches over the girls and leads them to W.C. and the person responsible for their parent’s death.
Although this novel is intended for middle grade readers, it will warm the hearts of all ages. With Crow; The Tale of Two Sisters whisks readers on a journey as Karen Devaney explores the innate yearning for people of all generations to know their familial past. The travels of this tale end full circle and leaves readers with a startling conclusion.
Find With Crow;The Tale of Two Sisters at amazon.com/author/karendevaney
Be sure to visit my Reflections Page for my latest Blog on Daydreaming, Racial Profiling, Writing Tips and More...
Just for Us Girls!
Thoughts and comments here! All of us have an Anonymous Artist lurking somewhere inside? As women we are often brainwashed into believing we can either be successful at motherhood or a career--but not both. These messages are often subtle but sturdy enough to cause stage fright. They seep into our psyche and derail our deepest desires which is to live to the fullest in all areas of our lives; emotionally, spirtitualy, physically, sexually, financially. Women thriving as lovers, mothers, and professionals does mean we must abandon sensitivities or empathy to the world around us. We do not have to adopt a corporate attitude in order to be successful. Success, is how we define it.
Looking forward to your comments!
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Having been raised in an Irish/Italian family, storytelling was a way of life. I am a published author and professor with a M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a B.F.A in Theatre. My first love is children's books. Frederick the Forgetful Rattler was my first book about a sweet friendly but very forgetful rattlesnake named Frederick. It was wonderful to give readings for children at schools and book stores but my favorite was read was at U.C. Davis Children's Hospital. I have been a pediatric nurse and I know how much the kids need to escape the beeps and routines of life in a hospital. It was wonderful to give them a place to escape to. Rosie the Dog Who Forgot to Grow, The Legends of B.B. Fibberpants, and Zanipola; Pop-Pop’s Tree coming out in 2013. I am still working on a traditional publishing house as i feel that children's books need to be held and sniffed and kept in a favorite spot.
I also adore writing for middle graders, teens and adults. With Crow; The Tale of Two Sisters is an adventure story about two sisters looking for clues about their past. This book is a bit of a Huck Finn for girls and is laced with Native American themes. When a crow named Angel adopts the girls, she proves to be just that. I loved writing this story because I was able to re-visit some of the places I have traveled and loved; rugged state. It also gave me a chance to explore in depth Native American heritage and culture. Juliana’s Truth, is my first adult novel--both books are available at Barnes & Nobles as well as Amazon.com. I still hope to see them in old fashion print as well!
The Chronicles of Nurse Noelle is a series of short stories based on my own experience as a nurse--embellished a smidgen. The truth is often better than fiction. This is a series and volume I can also be found at Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobles. Volume II due out by mid summer 2013
When I am not writing or teaching I can be found in the theatre. I have never lost my lust for performing, directing, and working with an ensemble. I also teach African dance and yoga. I am passionate about women and girls having alternative books that give voice to our strengths and portray alternatives. My hope for readers is to give them a place to rest a bit while reading a story that leaves them refreshed, empowered, and delightfully entertained.
In addition to the novels and children’s stories, I write freelance articles for various businesses and industries; wineries, financial institutions, Higher Education, Health and Wellness, and Alternative Medicine to name a few. Poetry is another arena I dabble in and have been published in several anthologies. My latest project include finishing a new novel Between the Vines, finishing my first collection of short stories and poetry, and writing my next hilarious children's book; The Night Singers Who Saved Summer aka crickets, katydids, and all the little insects that sing when temperatures warm. This is an environmental story told by the bugs.
I am an active member of Women Thrive, Amnesty Now, as well as Eve Ensler’s campaign to end violence against women and girls. I performed in the Vagina Monologues several times. I love people and mbraces all spirituality as a way to the truth and unity. I love to laugh and take every opportunity to do so! My current books can be found at Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.com
This hilarious story is one near and dear to my heart--as if they all aren't! This one will have you laughing out loud and nodding as we all have, at one time or another during childhood felt as if we don't fit in. Doriano Strologo is an Italian illustrator that brings this story to life with his captivating illustrations. Look for Rosie on the shelves--soon!