With the passing of our esteemed colleague and friend, Dr. Elizabeth Dermody Leonard, many of our alumni have asked how they can be part of remembering her legacy. While details surrounding her memorial are still in discussion we would like to share with you an impactful way for you to participate in remembering and furthering the work that Dr. Leonard was a part of. Warren Doody, Vanguard Professor of English, has teamed up with the New York Fringe Festival to produce the play he wrote based on Dr. Leonard’s work. Below is his letter to the community:
As many of you know, I wrote a play, “Life Without Parole,” that was inspired by Elizabeth Leonard’s research and book, “Convicted Survivors: The Imprisonment of Battered Women Who Kill.” Although it is essentially her work that is onstage, Elizabeth asked me to substitute “inspired” for “based on” or “adapted from” because she didn’t want to take too much credit for what I wrote, which perfectly sums up who she was as a person. In fact, Elizabeth first approached me about turning her life’s work into a stage play because she was looking for ways to expand her message of justice and believed that theater offered a wider audience for dong so.
In August, the play will be produced at the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival and, in honor of Elizabeth, the shows are being dedicated to her life and legacy. This dedication is featured on the website, on the campaign site, and in the brochures/programs at the festival. I know that Elizabeth would be thrilled with the creative team behind the Fringe Production: Working Artists Theater Project is the company that is putting on the play, which will be directed by one of their founders, Jessica Dermody, who, “coincidentally enough,” shares Elizabeth’s last name – well, her maiden name; the company is working in association with Karah Gravatt, a ’11 VU Theater Arts alum, who has been tireless in promoting the play and its message of domestic violence awareness.
As a way to raise money for the production, this team is crowdfunding the project. They are not asking for huge donations; the donations begin at $10.00 and go up from there, and it is 100% tax deductible. I have reached out via Facebook with this request, and some of you may have already seen a facsimile of this message on your newsfeed.
If you would be interested in making a donation, there are two sites at which to do so:
LifeWithoutParolePlay.com - This is the play’s website, and there is a “donate” button/category on the home page.
igg.me/at/LWPNYC – This is the IndiGoGo site, and you can donate/contribute directly through the site.
In lieu of a donation, simply spreading the word by sharing these links via e-mail or on social media will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read this!
Prayerfully and respectfully,
Professor of English