Well, I did it! I successfully self-produced CLEAN ROOM at WEST, with all ticket sales and a few on-the-spot or after-the fact donations turned over to HAVEN to support their mission. I had great houses and a marvelous team to help: Tomer Oz designed my lights; Kate Quisumbing helped me rehearse, ran my boards, and shared my house management duties; HAVEN staff and board members helped with ticketing and box office, secured food donations, and made lovely curtain speeches; and my husband came every night and did all the glamorous work like taking out the garbage and–before I could stop him!–Windexing the bathrooms. NHTP served as perfect “landlords” for WEST and I deeply appreciate their support in making this happen. In the audience were friends and colleagues returning to visit with Brighina and Stupino, as well as those making their acquaintance with these characters for the first time. My friend Penny said that seeing the characters again was like spending time with old friends–what an honor to hear! And newcomers have been asking questions and engaging with the writing and performance in ways I find endlessly fascinating. I had a blast performing and was reminded that, although sometimes life presents obstacles, most often things get themselves done!
I learned two interesting things about my relationship to this show: 1) I don’t have to be so anxious about it if I self-produce. It is such a simple show technically that the fewer people in the room with me as I prepare, the more relaxed I feel. 2) I had been preparing to retire Brighina after this performance because I had been feeling too old to continue playing her, but folks told me emphatically NO!!!! The mask does the work of suspending realism and I seem to effectively use my body and voice to communicate Brig’s youthfulness. So, at least for another few years, I just might get away with it.
But I would like to let go of the story she tells in Act One of CLEAN ROOM. It is sad, and it has been told. So the quest begins for a new story for Brighina to tell. As for Stupino? The dude abides! Thanks to everyone for your support, and for supporting HAVEN!!!