Theatrical Thrills

13 Jan

Today I attended Chicago Dramatists’ showcase of new resident playwright’s work & these were some of my favorite lines from the play samplings that were shown:

“My heart would be shaped like a shoe if a mermaid lived in every village.” – Lorca

“He knew his immediate duty was to dream.”

“Pavlov’s lab flooded & the moment the dogs hit the sunshine, they forgot all of their conditioning and went wild!”

“The angels catch our wishes in their hands like fairy dust and sprinkle them back down upon us.”

“Some things you should take on faith so you don’t make yourself tragic.”

A girl kept a bucket by her bed to collect her tears and a guy kept an arm-shaped bone in a glass case by his bed because it “reminded him of the essence of life/of how we all end up.”

“I won’t think the wrong thing; I don’t even like wrong things.”

“What if you woke up and saw the world the way Van Gogh or Picasso did?”

“Do you like leather?”  “I like my leather-bound editions of my favorite novels.”


Date with my husband!

11 Jan

My husband and I went out on a date tonight & I just love that he still asks me if I had a fun time.  And sometimes, I’ll ask him if he’s nervous, since we’re going out – I like that I still get nervous/excited sometimes when we’re going on a date…and we like to “play hit” or “pretend kick” (not for real) each other, so that we can say, “Make up!” and kiss (as if we just had a real fight and are now making up and kissing)!  Sometimes I’ll kick his shoe multiple times in a row, so that I can say, “Make up!” in a high voice and then we kiss!  I love my husband; I am entering a story telling open mic tomorrow night to tell stories about him!  I will let you know if my name is drawn/what happens…

Ploppies & more

9 Jan

“Ploppies!” replied the 7-year-old boy, when I asked him what his comic (that he was drawing) was about…what a great answer!  He also told me that he asked for an invisibility cloak for Christmas!

The 9-year-old girl seemed to be very proud that every teacher she has had has left her job at the end of the school year in which she was in the teacher’s class…and there was a picture (in the craft room) of the students’ favorite things at her school and she pointed to the broken clock as her favorite thing…I told her how I taught at a school once where ALL OF THE CLOCKS and BELLS BROKE & were not fixed for the REST OF THE SCHOOL YEAR &!  When we came back the next fall, they were still not working!!!  Kids would come wandering into my drama class late & I didn’t know if their last teacher had just let them go or…if they were messing around….the halls literally never cleared at that school either…and I saw a little fire in the hallway once…and!  One of my 7th graders came to me to tell me he had just witnessed 2 8th graders having sex in the 8th grade bathroom…bathrooms were supposed to be locked (as kids had tried to burn the school down in 1 of the bathrooms before), but that day the 8th grade one had been left open…

Anyway, it was fun to meet these kids tonight…

Sex Education night punk grandpa!

7 Jan

“He’s ready to go!….He’s ready for action!”

These are the words of my late “punk grandpa Pohlmann,” when he saw the principal’s fly unzipped…at a sex education night presentation…my grandma said that this was the time when sex education classes were not yet in the school curriculum, hence, there was a sex education night, in which the principal spoke and invited the 7th and 8th graders and parents of said students downstairs to a film about sex and masturbation (at which only about 10 people attended:  my grandma, grandpa & Uncle Jon being about 1/3 of the population!)…my grandma, oh, I love her, told me, “I was all for it (sex ed.); I’d already told all of my children about it!”

I am VERY thankful that my mom told me about the facts of life when I was in 2nd grade!  My response:  “They pull their pants down?!”  I thought it was so funny!  At the same time, I understood the seriousness…

This also calls to mind my Aunt Susan’s comment to me once in our minivan, while my dad was driving:  “So, how’d you manage to spring from the loins of those 2?  I think you were a changeling; the gypsies traded you…they have dark hair, you know…”

A performative reading of imaginal vignettes on dwelling! by Jeffrey Ediger

6 Jan

I attended a highly charming performance tonight:  story telling by Jeffrey Ediger, accompanied with music by “Good Dust.”  Here are some highlights of the evening – I followed enchanting luminaries (paper bags filled with candles & stones) to the performance space:

“Desperation forces you to be creative.”

“When we want a door to open, we want it to open wide, for it to swing so wide, it disappears altogether because we want to be welcomed with open arms, to push the door past the threshold of limitations into the circle of infinity.”

“I stood there for what seemed like an entire school year.”

I learned about what the term cold shoulder means — you would serve a hot meat to a visitor & then a cold shoulder of mutton or something to a guest who had outstayed his/her welcome!

“Our bodies are doors…”

I loved the story of a couple that basically led a colorless existence, but agreed to letting Jeff paint their front door red, a red of “fire engine proportions!”

As he was working with others he said, “Space folded over itself into another dimension, a gathering of primordial workers who were commissioned to repair the world,” in the tradition of Tikkun…

Rumi:  “Every prophet sought out companions.
A wall standing alone is useless, but put three or four walls
together, and they’ll support a roof and keep grain dry
and safe.”

“People who are alone drift towards walls….wallflowers…window seats on buses & planes are taken first…”

“We say a wall is a barrier, but we forget there are 2 sides of walls….the very structure of a  wall speaks of friendship.”

“The color of a ceiling is a whisper.”

“The higher the ceiling, the quieter you are.”

“People say the walls have ears; ceilings:  they give voice to what has been posted onto them by walls…”

There was a couple that came to Jeff’s dad, a pastor, who shared that they had not consummated their marriage after 7 years…and then, he ended up baptizing their 1st child, so he was quite the peacemaker…wow…”

“I Knew the Unknown Was Up to Something”

6 Jan

“I knew the unknown was up to something.”

This was one of the opening lines of my favorite Fillet of Solo Festival show so far!!! I feel the same way…unsure of what 2013 holds, but I am getting excited now! I felt so inspired by this performance artist’s musings about Teddy Roosevelt!

He said that Teddy Roosevelt was once SHOT by someone in an audience he was speaking to…so, Teddy decided to keep on talking, as he bled from the bullet that was lodged inside of him!!! Then, he said, “It’ll take more than that to kill a bull moose!” Wow. When I was hired to teach middle school drama, I expected a student to shoot me & some pretty weird stuff happened, but I never was actually shot at…

When met with disappointment or despair, T. Roosevelt was known for not finding comfort in others, but finding solace in harsh ordeals, challenges and lonely adventures.

When he lost his wife and mom, he went to the frontier…when he found out that buffalo were (going?) extinct, he had to go shoot one…

The show closed by the artist saying, “Maybe it’s time I become a…” I am dreaming about what it is time for me to be, too…

A few favorite moments from the Fillet of Solo Festival tonight & a grandpa moment

4 Jan

Top 3 moments from “Fillet of Solo” Festival tonight

1) “We were stacked on top of each other like cartoons!”

2) One actor said the way his dad would punish him when he was little was by having him sit on top of the refrigerator, but then his dad would stand in front of the refrigerator, with his hands stretched up towards the actor, because his dad was afraid he was going to fall off of the refrigerator!!!

3) “Do you have a moment for the planet?  I’m not from this planet.”

Grandpa moment

Today, I visited my grandma Pohlmann & of course, we talked about my late grandpa Pohlmann, who I am writing my solo show, “Punk Grandpa,” about.  We were talking about how when he’d come home at night, he’d start honking the horn from about a block away, so kids would start running out of their houses towards him!  When he got out of his car, kids were lining up for him to give them “airplane rides!”  Then, when he got tired, he would tell the kids he was done, but they wouldn’t leave him alone, so he’d start running away from them/running around the house and they would chase him, until grandma would open the door to get him safely inside the house. =)

Bruce Springsteen, Story Time & Sock Orphanage

3 Jan

Inspired by this song tonight; I feel like it is an appropriate New Year’s song:

Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promised Land!”

BLOW AWAY the dreams that tear you apart

BLOW AWAY the dreams that break your heart

BLOW AWAY the lies that leave you nothing

But lost and brokenhearted

Mister I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man

And I believe in a promised land

Went to the Fillet of Solo Festival tonight & my favorite story that I heard was about this lady face painter who said that “back in the day, you know, that day you’re always hearing about,” she went to a restaurant (Leona’s in Rogers Park) to meet up with a blind date…ONLY to be shown to a booth with a guy AND a girl in it…the guy was the face painter’s date & the girl in the booth, Rachel, was there for a blind date, too, was supposed to meet a DIFFERENT BLIND DATE, but!…had met the face painter’s guy first – they both arrived at the same time & didn’t ask for each other’s names….just went in together once they found out they were both there to meet a blind date!!!!  A little bit later, the guy who was SUPPOSED to be the blind date for Rachel arrived — and the wait staff thought it was HILARIOUS to seat the 2 couples at back-to-back booths…when the awesome face painter said that she could make her own plot for her own movie, where the quirky girl gets the guy, I said, “YES!” from my seat & she answered me from the stage, “YES!  THANK YOU!” & after the show, I went up to her and hugged her and said, “I love you!” and she said to me, “I love you!”

Also, tonight I found some orphan socks–when I was little, I’d turn the laundry basket upside down and put the socks inside of it and then when the socks would find their families/pairs, they’d jump up and down and be SO excited!  I’ve always had this thing about orphans…my friend Elizabeth Rose & I used to pretend to “dance” to raise money for the orphans & I dreamed of having my own orphanage & I always loved “Annie”…now I dream of playing the role of Ms. Hannigan…I can see her side of the story now! =)

Five Favorite “Punk Grandpa” quotes

2 Jan

Thinking of my grandpa today as I write a one-woman show about him entitled “Punk Grandpa”…here are a few things he said that I am pondering today:

1) “Hey!  Pick you up in an hour!” As he drove, he would yell this out the car window at ANY & EVERY woman we’d see on the street =)))

2) “The waves are waving, the wind is wind-ing, the Laura’s are Laura-ing!” when he’d pretend we were on a ship…

3) About babies:  “The first one can come any time, after that, they take 9 months…”

4) “Do you have any black umbrellas?” he’d ask at the lost and found, whenever he wanted a new umbrella…

5) “Drop dead.” what he said to a neighbor who told him to stop driving on the sidewalk =)



Upside-down turtle shell: a good position to be in…

1 Jan

Today, I met some friends at a gathering of sorts…we gave thanks for events of the past year, drank chai, sang, listened to music, pondered (things like “In 2013, what would the title of this chapter in your life be?”) and shared images that came into our heads about the upcoming year…this was my favorite image that was shared:

There’s a book called “What God Thinks When We Fail” and on the cover is a picture of a turtle that is upside down/on its back and someone said that the position of that shell would fit well into God’s hands to be held & cared for/so vulnerable…if one cups his/her hands, a turtle shell fits into them just right…you can see the picture here:

And this was my favorite verse that was shared:

“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare…” Isaiah 42:9

I am really glad that the former things have come to pass and that new things are in store for the new year!  This past year has been full of crazy-weird-sad things and joyful things, too…

Crazy-weird-sad stuff:

1) My friend & co-playwright, Pat Welsh, committed suicide…absolutely devastating…I miss her inexpressably much…

2) My Uncle Ken died of cancer…another gut-wrenching experience…

3) I left the church I’d been consistently attending for 2 years (mostly because openly gay people are not allowed to be members or leaders there…& at this time in my life am seeking answers to a lot of questions, so I am unable to sign a statement that says the Bible is inerrant).

4) After never being fired before in my life, I got fired after being at a job for ONE DAY (parents said my puppet & songs were not age-appropriate!)!!!

Joyful things:

1) MY SISTER GOT MARRIED!!!!!  AaannD!  I got to be her Maid of Honor!!!

2) My husband Jake and I have been married for NINE YEARS!!!

3) I got to act in several different plays:  “Bully” (a K-4 & jr. high/sr. high version), “Save That Penny for a Sunny Day” (teaching kids about finances), Sonnet Fest @Vintage Theatre Collective (“I Don’t Want Diamonds,” I was the fairy of heart-shaped rocks, Mairavelle – I wrote, directed and acted in it), “BFG” (puppeteer for the character of “Sophie”) and “Annie” (Mrs. Pugh).

4) I got to take a few different theatre classes:  Plays – in- Development and Solo Show play writing classes at Chicago Dramatists & a 3-Day Improv Intensive class at Second City!  As a result, I am writing a one-woman show about my grandpa entitled “Punk Grandpa” & continue to work on “Meet Me on the Ceiling” (a show my late friend Pat asked me to collaborate with her on & there will be a trilogy:  1 part in which Mrs. SWAK meets an extra-terrestrial and another episode about angels).