I am never more nervous than when one of my plays are read or performed in front of a audience for the first time. Next Sunday night an excerpt from my new play Portrait of a Woman will be read by a cast of great local actors at Lumpkins BBQ. Portrait of a Woman is a diverse genre piece centered on the female experience. I have been nervous since the first moment I’ve entertained the idea of writing a piece like this. It is not difficult, not a new idea – it is just new to me.
Last spring I was reading some of my writing when I realized that much of my writing is about women and issues experienced from a female point of view. So I thought it would be a great idea to put those pieces together and make them into a play in the style of the Vagina Monologues. So Portrait of a Woman consists of poetry, short fiction, short plays and even personal quotes all written by me. My next idea was to apply for an Artist Minigrant from the Mississippi Arts Commission to have a reading of this new piece. From the moment I receive the grant I find that I have been so nervous.
Every step on this journey has been great. Monique, owner of Lumpkins BBQ, graciously offered her restaurant for the reading. The script is complete, Robby, an amazing theatre artist, has agreed to direct it and a wonderfully talented group of actors have agreed to perform it. I have also managed to pull other women into the project by using local women on the poster and by designing a coloring book that features a diverse assortment of intelligent, strong, beautiful, talented women from may walks of life. And the event has been scheduled during Women’s History Month.
So, if everything is going well for Portrait of a Woman, why am I nervous? Because I am human. During my journey as an artist I’ve had many comments from folks – well meaning, loving folks- who believe that this artistic journey of mine is a choice and or a way for me to show off. I find myself associating with a variety of people in many walks of life and the common thread is that they all are human. They get nervous. They have good days. They have bad days.
I had one lady to tell me once that her work was real and mine was just something I’ve made up. I found her statement upsetting and very unsettling but I did not reply. I left her with her opinion. And I made a vow to not define myself by someone else’s opinion. So, even in nervousness, I move forward with my work.
To RSVP to the Portrait of a Woman Event click the link below.