KSU’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies presents adaptation of Bobbi Kornblit’s novel “Shelter from the Texas Heat”
“I used to be a good wife, a good mother, a loyal friend, but then everything started spinning out of control.”
So begins “Shelter from the Texas Heat,” KSU alumna Bobbi Kornblit’s breakout novel about deep secrets and powerful friendships. A funny, feisty and heartwarming coming-of-age story featuring three generations of spunky Texas women, “Shelter” takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster from the fateful assassination of JFK in the '60’s, to the struggle of dealing with its aftermath 50 years later in the 21st century.
Kennesaw State University’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies will capture the essence of Kornblit’s “Shelter” in a special staged reading to kick off the new academic year. The reading, described by Kornblit as “the book brought to the stage with the addition of music and lighting,” is being adapted by Associate Professor Jamie Bullins and directed by Professor and Interim Chair Karen Robinson. The reading will feature a cast of approximately 14-16 theatre students, alumni, faculty and staff.
The performance of “Shelter” is not the first time that a novel has been adapted for a staged reading at KSU, but adapting the over-300 page novel into a 90-minute performance has presented some unique challenges. “Bobbi has written a lot that we have to condense into a 90-minute play,” Bullins explains, “but the novel is written in such a fantastic way that we are able to hit all of the highlights.” Kornblit agrees, asserting that, “My work is in excellent hands, and my characters’ natures and stories are all intact.”
The stories that Kornblit presents in “Shelter” deal with several tough subjects, ranging from racial and religious prejudice to the difficulties of family relationships. Along with the hardships, the novel, much like life, contains enough moments of joy, fun and love to provide a sense of relief. The novel, set in Texas, contains a universal story and features a diverse cast of characters that reflect the world in which we all live.
Kornblit, like her novel’s main characters, grew up in Dallas, Texas, but she now lives in Atlanta. “Shelter” was largely written in a workshop environment during adult education classes at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta, and chapters of the novel were critiqued and revised while Kornblit was a student in KSU’s Master of Arts in Professional Writing program. The novel was published by Peach Twig Press in November 2011 and has since garnered growing national interest. It was named the winner of the Indie Excellence Book Awards’ Multicultural-Fiction category, received the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best Book/Women’s Fiction and was an official selection of Kathy Patrick’s famous Pulpwood Queens Book Club. Kornblit was also named First Fiction Finalist for the Georgia Author of the Year Award.
In addition to being a KSU alumna, Kornblit is also a longtime patron of the arts at KSU, serving as a member of the Friends of Theatre and Performance Studies board. “I have long been involved in the arts at KSU,” Kornblit says, “but I could never have guessed that KSU in turn would give me such a great honor as to stage my novel.”
The staged reading of “Shelter from the Texas Heat” will be Friday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. in the Stillwell Theater, with a reception beginning at 7 p.m. While reservations can be made by contacting Renee Jamieson at email@example.com or (770) 499-3123, tickets can only be purchased at the door for $10, cash only. All proceeds will benefit study abroad scholarships for students in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, and additional donations are welcome.
“Shelter from the Texas Heat” can be purchased in print and electronic versions from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and from Kornblit’s website at www.bobbikornblit.com.
-- Kathie Beckett, Director of Marketing and Communications 770-499-3417 or firstname.lastname@example.org