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Plays, Memories, and Choices: Preparing for "Dare to Shine."

Pulling scenes and Monologues for "Dare to Shine."  6/29/17 to 7/2/17 at MyAct

When I was a senior in High School, my classmate Rusty Jones cast me as Grandma in Edward Albee's, "The American Dream."  (Yes, his name really was Rusty Jones.  Not that Rusty Jones, but still.)

I was shocked that anyone could write scenes and create characters that were so horrifying, but hilarious at the same time.  At least, I found them horrifying and hilarious.  You see, when I was seventeen two things mattered most to me: being good, and being liked.  I suppose I can condense them down to one thing: being safe.

Still, from the moment I was introduced to Shakespeare at age 15 my my English teacher, Mary DeMarzo, I began to realize that some things just might be worth being bad for.  Things like drama, and romance, and the laugher of a smart audience.  Like most adolescents I had also discovered the extraordinary relief of being someone else for a while that comes from being an actor.

In college at Saint Mary's, and at Notre Dame (the theatre departments were combined then) I read or performed in "The Maids," "Waiting for Godot," "Fool for Love," "Medea,"and "Electra," and I found out that there were fearsome things buried in the hearts of human beings that I hadn't even imagined.

By the time I got to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, I wanted to dig as deeply as I could into the human psyche, and at the same time I realized that if I wanted to work, I would need to dance every chance I could, and study as hard as I could to measure up to the astonishing number of beautiful and talented girls I would soon be auditioning with in L.A.

I was lucky.  I got to work consistently for eleven years. Still, most of the work I did was in musical theatre or commercials.  I said I just wanted to get an agent and work.  It's true.  We tend to rise just as high as we think we can.

It has been hard to accept that the roles I could get paid for were nothing like the ones that had given me the most satisfaction when I was studying to be a performer.  The shocking roles are far behind me.  Yes, I swore a little on stage, and I kissed a lot, and I've worn some interesting costumes, but  don't think I've done anything truly daring in years.

In January, I became aware that something had to give.  This mad need to step into other lives, and to take an audience along, no matter how small, never goes away for some of us.

My life motto is, "We receive what we want for others."  It's just a simple re-statement of the golden rule, but it resonates for me.  I am so grateful to my husband Van for being willing to host, "Dare to Shine," with me, and to my son for running sound so that we can offer the chance to work on the scenes and songs that inspire us.

  The trouble with being an actor is that we have to wait for a director or producer to offer us  roles.  The painter paints, the musician can compose,  and the poet only needs paper and a pen to make her inspiration into something real and lasting, but we actors have to be chosen. Maybe this explains some of the allure of show business.  The creative urge is hard to keep down.

 I have learned the hard way that the energy we should spend creating goes into eating, and spending, and consuming when it's blocked.  So I am offering this workshop as a way to give away what I need the most: a chance to practice the art I care about.

All week I have been running into people who talk about risk and rewards, dreams and work.  I talked to a young woman who works in marketing about the need to create art that gives way to the need to earn money.  I believe that if we use our time and resources wisely, we can do both.

 If you are reading this and you are an actor, singer, or story teller, I hope you can come and perform.  We have chosen scenes and monologues to suit many different actors.  The sound system hooks up easily to any Mp3 player, iPod, or smart phone, so you can have accompaniment for your songs.

 The workshops are Thursday and Friday the 29th and 30th at 7PM.  The public showcases are Saturday, 7/1 at 7PM, and Sunday 7/2 at 2PM.  If you are 16 or older, come and sing, or act, or both, or simply watch and lend your eyes, ears, and support.  

I dare you. 


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