Friday, October 12, 2007

Take Back The Night

Back in June I served on a committee for the Until The Violence Stops Festival. It was quite the learning process for me. For instance, I learned that I am in fact, better at planning an event and inspiring people to volunteer their services for a good cause than I would have previously thought. Unfortunately, I only learned this after FIRST learning that I suck at committee work- ie asking people for money, and convincing people to organize events on their own. As an actor I am just so much better at cold readings than cold calling.

The result was that I ended up planning my own event just because I didn't want to continue to go to committee meetings with nothing to show for my home county. I did it with the help of SEVERAL generous people/organizations:

The Players Guild Theatre

Technical Director and fellow KSU alum Craig Betz
Sound genius Scott Sutton (who single-handedly turned the PG into a concert hall)
Artistic Manager Tricia Ostertag, who, along with her husband Stephen, Carrie Alexander Spina and myself performed monologues.

But wait- there's more!

We wouldn't have had more than my three family members in the audience were it not for the fans of the amazing Spider Lilies band. I owe them big, especially my old friend/bass player Stacie and lead singer/Domestic Violence Project staff member Theresa for arranging for the band to donate their performance. Theresa also hooked me up with Angela Paul - art therapist extraordinaire who's display of her own work as well as victim's art added a deeply beautiful element to our event.

Also helpful were my UUCGC church friends who donated to the festival, including Karen, who also works at the Domestic Violence Project in Canton, spoke at the event and arranged for Rape Crisis to speak as well.

Whew! Oh- and lastly I must give the biggest plug to Deb Lemire, of
Queen Bee Productions, who introduced me to Eve Ensler, first figuratively and later literally. Over the past several years Deb continues to inspire and challenge me to step outside my comfort zone, whether it's sitting around discussing Vaginas, or telling me, "You CAN do THIS" over and over regarding the festival.

Now here's the interesting part. In recent posts I mentioned I have a play to write about Nellie Zimmerman. I read her biography and was all set to do my research when I had the urge instead to write something else. So I wrote another monologue, this one about a domestic violence counselor, who came by her profession by living in the trenches as a child. I had just finished it when I received an email from Charla, another Domestic Violence Project staff member. She mentioned that Karen (thanks!) had recommended I perform for Take Back the Night and asked if I would be available.


So I said yes, and told Charla that, quite ironically, I had just written a new monologue that would be perfect for the event. She mentioned that there will be men there who are trying to re-educate themselves to stop being abusers. I told her in this monologue the father/abuser makes an attempt to turn his life around and the main character finds a level of forgiveness for him. KISMET.

When I told my husband about it he said, "Someone keeps calling you [once again literally and figuratively] to do this. Good thing you have your theatre/writing/and life experience [ie crappy adolescence and adulthood up til recently] to draw on. Perhaps this is what you're meant to do."


You know I never saw it coming. As a matter of fact I so enjoy exchanging energy and rehearsing with others that I don't even like to be IN monologue shows. However, I will get around to Nellie, but the since the subject keeps finding me...

I am compiling a monologue play of a vast array of women's issues. The characters will represent the stories of all the women that I have known and loved (including little ole' me) who have personally experienced each of them. As my husband says, "Unfortunately, you went through so much yourself that you don't need to do much research."

Sad, but true ;) However, as the enlightened Maya Angelou says, "I wouldn't give nothing for my journey now."

Hope to see lots of you at

Take Back the Night

Tuesday October 16th, 2007
First Christian Church, Edgewood Campus
Heritage Room


Kingcover said...

I'll bet you felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride in yourself after it was all finished :-)

april said...

That event sounds amazing - as does your monologue. Can't wait to hear more. :)

state of grace said...

Thanks KC, it is very satisfying to be back creating again. Writing and performing monologues is so perfect for me right now I can't believe it took so long to figure it out. Except that... well I feel directed, almost pulled this-a-way.


state of grace said...

Thanks April. I will have my husband take pics of Take Back the Night so I can post them next week.


Design Goddess said...

I'm so sorry I missed it tonite! I've been really swamped at work and have been staying past 5pm to keep up! Just know I was there in spirit and I know you did a fabulous job as usual! :)

state of grace said...

of grace said...

Hey DG,

I thought I felt you there!

It was fabulous! I am really excited at the reaction I got from the audience. The Canton Repository was there- look for an article tomorrow or Friday. It wasn't the usual entertainment reviewer (who knows and usually loves me) and he only talked to Charla and audience members afterward -not me :( so I'm nervously awaiting his article.

Oh- and I have two theatres interested in the play. I'm still kinda holding out til it's finished to figure out where it will be first performed. But things are moving forward quickly.


state of grace said...

Ummm... yeah. A very detailed article about the rest of the event, but just an honorable mention for me in the article. Just the blip "before the end of the night, Jennifer performed a monologue." When he mentioned the candle lit vigil he said it was silent and somber, which means he did not in fact go out there, since I performed another poem at the request of the TBTN organizer. Afterward I was approached by several Domestic Violence Project workers, and also some survivors who expressed how touched they were by the monologue and poem, but evidently the reporter was not. I didn't wish for much, because after performing/being reviewed my whole life I usually don't have a fragile actor's ego about this stuff. But maybe just one adjective before the word monologue. Maybe an "emotional" monologue? Perhaps "touching?" Or that the audience was in tears at the end of it? Nope. Just that I performed. Bummer. But as I always say with this kind of is so not about me I know.