If you’ve read the previous two posts, then you know the story of why I was about to drive to Illinois in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. If you haven’t read it, hmm….well, I’ll be nice and give you a quick recap of the reason for this 650 mile journey.
A selection of my poetry was chosen by New Route Theatre company’s Phil Shaw to be presented as
a sort of play. This was the first time which my work was going to be performed by someone other than myself and I wanted to be in attendance for this enormous honor.
Such a trip required me to be off work for several days and a car which wouldn’t be crushed under the task of driving 1200 miles in less than a week. My friends and family came through with the money I would need while my mother offered the vehicle and her company for the 12 hours of driving each way. She picked me up at 10pm on Monday nite full of the excitement of being able to witness her child’s accomplishment. Teasing me already about the fact that I have the world’s smallest bladder and the subsequent stops we would have to make to accommodate it, we hopped into her 2002 Chevy Cavalier and hit the road. read more →
when i wrote yesterday’s post about the upcoming production of my written work at New Route Theatre, i knew that i wasn’t telling the entire story. i felt it would be discourteous to the people whom i was talking about to lump them all into one neat, little package. in addition, the 3 or 4 people who read this post would have been given far too much information all at once. and so, i shall continue on as if you have just turned the page and are beginning the second chapter of an exceedingly short book. directing “And She Said….” is Phil Shaw, and this is how he came into my life roughly 20 years ago.
before i ever had the opportunity to spend any time working with Phil Shaw, i had already seen him act in two productions at Heartland Theatre Company. Jerry Dellinger had become my mentor and the person whose opinion i valued beyond all others. Jerry did work with Heartland and felt it was essential to my initiation into the world of the theater that i see as many plays as i could. i remember being in such “deer in the headlights” awe of the performers at these shows. still fresh from four years of institutional living, i wasn’t the brazen and confident girl that i am now. standing slightly behind Jerry, quiet possibly the shyest person in the room, i was introduced to Phil after one of his mind-boggling performances. he was terribly kind in receiving the verbal barrage of superlatives which fell out of my mouth. i remember that he gave me a patiently kind smile and let me politely off the hook for my sudden rush of exuberance. as i said, i was painfully quiet in the presence of those who intimidated me, but Phil’s acting was so beyond impressive that i presumed there would be hollywood agents standing in the lobby. during the car trip back to Lincoln College with Jerry, he confirmed my opinions of the superb acting which i had just witnessed. he told me his thoughts about people like Phil Shaw and Dr. Jean Scharfenberg*. how being merely a director and set designer would never place him in the same level as these theatrical giants of Central Illinois. the fact that i had just met and would one day be working alongside someone whom my mentor admired strengthened my feelings of wonder at the man whom i had just met.
for those of you who have asked me to explain my “get barbie to normal” donation campaign, here it is. : )
when i was 17 and a senior in high school my houseparent’s brother-in-law came to Mooseheart Child City (a sort of “orphanage”, for lack of a better word) to meet with me. Jerry Dellinger immediately took an interest in me and my future. he insisted that i dismiss my childhood dream of going to harvard university where i would be swallowed up by the tidal wave of incoming freshmen and instead attend lincoln college, the school where he taught theater classes, speech and oral interpretation.
over the next 20 years, Jerry was a formidable power in my life. he was the person who sweetly explained that i would never be a good lawyer, but that i would excel as a writer. he offered his support, encouragement and driving determination for my success at every opportunity which came within 100 miles of my timid ego. when i finally made my debut as the only rhyming poet at a barnes & noble in bloomington, illinois, Jerry didn’t just merely attend. he cheered me on, critiqued my performance and stole the sign which the store had put up to advertise the evening’s events. read more →