we got the motors running!

The Clean Room/Make Sure It’s Me combo event on October 7th was a huge success! PHEW! It was more than a little nerve-wracking to wear so many hats in one day. I had a packed house for my final performance, with friends, family, ACT ONE regulars and plenty of curious newcomers all arrayed before me–and I made them work hard. Clean Room addresses a lot of difficult topics, including child abuse, suicide, and the perils of growing old . . . but I try to do so kindly. The involvement of the audience, the quality of their attention, is crucial to getting me through the show. This audience was with me from the start, so, with a painfully open heart but a good handle on my movement and vocal techniques, I “left it all on the floor.”

Actually, my masks do a good job of containing sweat and tears, so not much hit the floor of the West End Studio Theatre. But you get the idea.

As soon as I’d taken my final bows, I changed and mopped off my face and came back onstage to host the MSIM preview event: the marvelous novelist/playwright Kate Wenner was on hand to talk with us about her development of Make Sure It’s Me, which addresses traumatic brain injury in the military. At first, as I anticipated, people were rather stunned by Clean Room and needed a few moments to shift gears. Happily, Kate began by giving me kudos on both my writing and performance–if I hadn’t been aiming for “sophisticated” and “serious,” I would have jumped up to do a victory dance. Or rolled over on my back so she could rub my belly.

So, that raised a few questions for me about my work, and then we segued into talking about TBI, Kate’s background, etc. Next, we presented one scene from the play, which we’ll be staging in full at WEST next spring. Kudos and thanks to Paul Yarborough, Kim Holliday and Pam Battin-Sacks for a terrific performance in that scene! Afterwards, we began a conversation with the audience around TBI, caring for veterans in our families and communities, the dangers of suicide stemming from combat duty, and more. Lt. Col. Stephanie Riley of the NHNG was with us to lend her perspective as an Occupational Health nurse and case manager, and other members of the audience had family members affected by TBI. Their stories were sobering, but assured me of the importance of this project. We had to wind up the conversation when there was still so much to say, to make way for a tech rehearsal, but it was magical to have so many people engaged in these issues. I feel honored to continue leading this discussion in the coming months.

The next MSIM/nh event will be a table reading of the full play at the Portsmouth Public Library on November 14th. Contact me if you’d like to join us! In the meantime, for more information about MSIM/nh, including emergency contacts, click here.

 

CLEAN ROOM rocks WEST!

Two of my Clean Room performances are behind me, with two more to go, and the review is in:

Clean Room is emotional, intelligent, challenging and mesmerizing — theater at its best. The one-woman show, written and performed by Leslie Pasternack, takes you down a rabbit hole to a tale of deep sadness, incredible insight and hope.” So says Jeanné McCartin in the Seacoast Spotlight!

I had a blast with my first two audiences and I’m looking forward to mesmerizing more of you on Friday, October 5th at 8 and Sunday, October 7th at 2. I will not be performing twice on the 7th, as is stated erroneously in the review–however, I will be hosting the first MSIM event right after the 2 p.m. show. You can read more about that here.

Thanks for all your support, and I look forward to seeing you at WEST for the last two performances of Clean Room!

MSIM preview event OCTOBER 7!

MSIM/nh Preview Event on Sunday afternoon, October 7!

Help us kick off a great project that will help raise awareness of our military service members and veterans affected by Traumatic Brain Injury. This is only the beginning of an outreach event series that will culminate in a full production at WEST in 2013!

On October 7, come meet Make Sure It’s Me playwright Kate Wenner and hear a brief reading from the script at 3:30, immediately following the 2 pm. performance of Leslie Pasternack’s Clean Room! Call 300-2986 for details and reservations.

I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU AT WEST!

 

the Director is in!

After almost two months of investigation and consultation with my colleague and co-producer Stephanie Nugent, I can now announce two upcoming directing projects at WEST in Portsmouth, NH. As part of ACT ONE’s annual Festival, TRAGEDY: a tragedy, by Will Eno, will run in the last two weeks of October, 2012. [My solo masked show, Clean Room, will also run for four performances in September/October as part of the Fest. Busy, busy!] I’m already lining up the TRAGEDY cast and itching to start work.

Then, in 2013, Stephanie and I will bring Make Sure It’s Me to WEST. Written by former ABC journalist/television producer Kate Wenner, MSIM addresses the issue of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in military service members. Although fictionalized, the characters and events in MSIM derive from months of interviews Wenner conducted with TBI survivors and their families, as well as researchers and caregivers who specialize in TBI. The Make Sure It’s Me/nh project will include a full production in May/June 2013 at WEST, including talk-backs with members of the medical and military communities. Additionally, Stephanie and I will produce a series of library visits to occur in March and April 2013, to use scenes from the play to encourage education and discussion. The goal of MSIM/nh is to encourage NH veterans with any signs or symptoms to seek screening for TBI, and to build awareness of the great resources in place to support TBI survivors within and beyond the military community. We have begun to partner with the Brain Injury Association of NH and other organizations to develop the outreach components of this project, and to support us in creating realistic portrayals of TBI survivors in the performance itself.

I’m extraordinarily grateful to Stephanie for discovering this play and to Kate Wenner for allowing us to produce it in New Hampshire. Stay tuned for news as this multifaceted project unfolds!