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Exploring the intimate and mysterious relationship between Pulitzer prize-winning author Willa Cather and her dear friend Isabelle McClung, Willa & Isabelle follows the journey of a young film writer’s (Emily) struggle to find inspiration. Through the lens of Cather and McClung’s relationship the writer makes discoveries leading her down a path of self-discovery and artistic rejuvenation.  

Combining Cather’s letters and new music set to the texts from her famous collection of poetry, April Twilights color is brought back to Emily world through the use of video and animation. Willa & Isabelle: In an April Twilight uses film as a medium of entry into the inner thoughts of Emily and explores her connections to the ideas of home.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Cather was thrust into Pittsburgh’s high society when she met the affluent Isabelle McClung backstage at the opera. Their relationship quickly became intimate, with Cather eventually moving in with McClung. Willa & Isabelle explores their time in Europe, where the young Cather struggled with her identity within their relationship, her voice as a burgeoning author, and her homesickness for the Nebraska Divide.

This monodrama features soprano Christi McLain with stage direction and video by Kristy Chambrelli and music by Libby Larsen and Dan Lis.

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