“I’m on the edge of glory”.
Mum was singing this to herself while making coffee the morning after seeing my play. I asked her who sang the song, and she told me: Lady Gaga. She thinks it could be my theme song right now.
Surprised and delighted, once again. Actually, that about sums it up. Opening night was surprising, and delightful, and magical. It was also full of dragons, but magic tends to be that way.
I was in the dressing room before the show, staring at myself in the mirror and asking that face what the hell it was going do when Jeremy knocked on the door. In he came with Heather and little Zoe, who found her way into my arms. There was no better preparation I could have had than that: holding her seemed to make it all very clear and simple. Lucky me: I have a very smart director.
By the time we made it upstairs to the theatre, I was prancing all over the room, just needing to do the show. I bounced out into the lobby, and there were four of the most welcome faces I could ever hope to see: my buddies from high school, standing there with a dozen roses, grinning. See, for three very important years of my life I lived in Victoria, BC, where I made several beautiful friends who have stayed with me since. We were a special blend of awesome possums who had many adventures together, not always involving mushrooms, and if I ever felt like I needed a solid foundation, these girls provided it. And, they knew my Mum and brother pretty well, too. All of them, Jen, Jess, Lisa, her husband Kevin, Mum, and my brother, were all sitting right there in the second row.
And then it was time. Leonard was singing his farewell to Marianne and I took my chalk and started to draw. When I got to the two little m-birds, the last thing before turning around and starting to speak, it hit me: how much I had been waiting to tell this story to this audience; how much I needed to tell them about all the little girls who are woven into it, and about how much I love them. So I did. Jeremy said it was the best show we’ve ever done.
I don’t think I could say that Mum and James enjoyed the show entirely. It was a lot to digest for them, and of course, their perspectives are very different from mine. I do know that there were moments that surprised and delighted them, and that they did actually receive it. Those four pixies who showed up with the roses helped a great deal, adding their own perspectives and offering their open understanding and compassion to my family. We had an amazing night, in fact, all of us. We went to a place called the Libra Room, where my new favourite band, the Werewolves of Creston, whipped up hilarious ska-country-reggae versions of 80s pop songs. Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” was sublime. Mum and I even danced together to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.
The night was so very full of stories; I couldn’t begin to tell them all. And coincidences. And magic. Here’s one: As Mum and James were walking up the street to the theatre, they were surprised to see someone they thought was me walking towards them with a baby in her arms. As she got closer, they realized that it wasn’t me, but Mum stopped her to ask if she knew where they could get something to eat. The woman said she wasn’t from here and continued on her way. We figured out later that the woman was none other than Heather, with little Zoe.
There was no time to write the blog entry for Opening Night because after dancing till the wee hours, Mum and I got up and went off to the Capilano Suspension Bridge to meet up with James, Gramma, and the kids. I will tell you all about that when I get home: I have to run off and see my first of the other shows in the Neanderthal Festival. So, for now, I’ll leave you in the kitchen with Lady Gaga.
We felt your play that opening night in Vancouver. It was incredibly moving to watch it for the first time alongside your mother and James. Keep doing what you do. You're an amazing talent. Especially when you pour your heart into your work, as you clearly did in writing and performing this play. We love you.