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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

THE ACTUAL DANCE

Hamilton-Gibson Productions is presenting three performances of “The Actual Dance” in the Warehouse Theatre at 3 Central Avenue in Wellsboro.

This inspirational, true story about a husband and wife’s graceful journey through the uncharted waters of illness will be given at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 and 18 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19.

Written and performed by Samuel A. Simon, this award-winning one-man play has captured the hearts of audiences across America.

In 2000, Sam’s wife Susan, then 54, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. That’s when they began a new journey together, she as a patient and he as her caregiver.

During a 2012 class on improvisation, it was suggested he write about something he knew. Sam chose his experiences as Susan’s caregiver. The response from people who heard it encouraged him to write more and “The Actual Dance” was born. It is the first play he has written.

In it, Sam shares his feelings about what’s happening as Susan goes through treatment. He juxtaposes flashbacks of their courtship with his wife’s medical scares and surgeries. Making it more frightening is that both of their mothers died of breast cancer. Susan’s mother in 1967 and Sam’s in 1973.

Angry and scared but determined to stand by his life partner of 33 years, Sam worries that this may be their last dance together and that he will lose the love of his life.

The couple met when they were 16. It was love at first sight. They attended the same college in Texas and married in 1966. Susan was 20 and Sam, 21.

That fall, Susan graduated with a teaching degree and taught elementary school to support them. He graduated in June of 1967.

In 1970, Sam earned his law degree and they moved to Washington, D.C. where he went to work as a member of Ralph Nader’s first legal consumer rights advocacy group.

Later, Sam started his own consumer affairs consulting firm in D.C. After selling it in 2008, he became a senior fellow with the then new, non-profit Intersections International, a social justice initiative.

In 2013, Sam transitioned from working for Intersections International to serving on its advisory board so he could devote himself full-time to “The Actual Dance.”

After retiring from the public school system, Susan worked as the marketing and admissions director at an assisted living facility in Reston, Virginia until January 2016. She now travels with Sam as he performs the show.


They are the parents of two grown children, a son and a daughter and have four grandchildren. In August 2016, Susan and Sam celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

In the late 1990s, Sam returned to community theatre as an avocation. In 2013, he was honored with the Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance Award for Best Production of an Original Play as well as Best Overall Production.

For the past four years, he has been on the road with his play, earning praise from audiences and critics alike.

Following each performance, Thomas Putnam, Hamilton-Gibson artistic director, will facilitate a discussion about the show. Audience members are invited to ask Susan and Sam questions and also to reflect on their own experiences.


Tickets for the Feb. 17 show are $18 for adults and $7 for children and full-time students; for Feb. 18, $12 for adults and free for children and full-time students; and Feb. 19, Pay-What-You-Can. For tickets or more information, call 570-724-2079 or hamgib@gmail.com.

Sam and Susan Simon (shown) will participate in a post-show discussion with audience members after every performance.

Sam Simon wrote and performs in his life affirming one-man play, "The Actual Dance."


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