Cancer survivor writes new script on life with personal play
By Zac ColemanPublished August 1, 2012
They say that you should write what you know, and that is exactly what singer/actor/cancer survivor Alex Kip is doing.
Diagnosed with lymphoma his senior year as a theatre major at the University of Michigan, the Gahanna native had to drop out of school and focus on finding a way to turn his 30-percent chance of survival into a reality.
“My senior year, when I was supposed to be doing all of these huge things, like getting ready for New York, I was having all of these vocal issues,” he said. “That was the first sign that something was wrong.”
Cancer not only interrupted his life, it also took away the one thing he had defined himself with for so long – his voice.
“It wasn’t necessarily the diagnosis that was hard for me, because I just always thought that I would beat it,” he said. “The hardest part was losing my voice entirely. Singing was my source of happiness and I couldn’t even do it. I couldn’t even listen to music anymore, it was too hard emotionally.”
Rather than give up on his dream of pursuing a career in theatre, Kip has used his struggles for inspiration. He’s translated pain to the page with his new play, My Other Voice, which focuses on coming to terms with his diagnosis.
“The discovery that he has, and how he changes throughout the course of the play, help him realize that singing is not the only thing that matters in his life,” Kip said of the main character, based on himself.
From his own experience with the disease, Kip thought there was no better place to work on perfecting the play before it opens in New York City than where it actually took place, here in Central Ohio. With help from his director and a few other close acting buddies, Kip is crafting the final draft of the play in the theater of his high school alma mater for two weeks before putting on a special preview performance.
“I want to bring it back to the community and try to commemorate everyone that went through the struggle with me … that was kind of the point to get the community and the artists involved.”
Kip has also set up a way to give back to an organization that was crucial to his recovery: the cancer charity juggernaut Pelotonia. Named this year’s speaker for the annual Pelotonia race, Kip has arranged a special screening of the play, in hopes to raise money for this beloved charity.
“Giving back to that organization is a huge thing for me because training for that race kept me in a good mind set and helped me get through my struggle,” said Kip. “We are having a special night just for Pelotonia a few nights before we open where we will be performing some of the scenes from the play. Almost all of those proceeds are going to go back to Pelotonia.”
With his singing voice restored – and his writing voice strengthened by such a personal play – Kip has a fresh outlook on a life renewed, as both artist and person.
“This play is about how you redefine yourself as a human and not by your talents.”
My Other Voice, which co-stars cancer survivor Ashley Park, makes its world premiere August 3rd and 4th, at Gahanna Lincoln High School (140 S Hamilton Rd.).
For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.akipprod.com.