“Day three dawned and I had been in closets and boxes all morning and was hot and sweaty and was bringing a load downstairs, when suddenly, I found myself in the eye of one of my mother’s Manifesto storms.”
I’ve been writing about my mother for a long time. She’s fascinating. Larger than life. Beautiful when she was a young woman and not too shabby as she got older. Poignant when not completely perturbing. When I mention her name in a Sweat Girl piece, frequently I hear “yay, it’s a Betty story.” My mother passed away on January 3, 2013. I was able to be with her for most of her last two months. It wasn’t easy because my mother never was and I certainly was not with her. But I came to understand how very much she loved me and, maybe even more difficult to admit, how very much I loved her. When she was in hospice and non-responsive, hours before she died and in the middle of the night, I read to her. Some of what I read was mine, some of others and I made a promise. I promised that I would write a project all about her. I’m keeping my promise.
ME AND MY CHAKRAS
“Thank you very much Betty, that will be $6500 for the wonton soup and cashew chicken.”
One woman’s (mine!) continuing search for her divine – inspired by the 7 major energy centers, the color coded chakras. There are 7 stories, 1 for each chakra. Written and performed for the Playground Development Series at Manhattan Theatre Source and Flourish Studios in Chicago.
“My heart is my best feature.”
Formed in 1993, we are a group of women who write and perform original monologues. Critically acclaimed throughout greater Chicago, the Sweat Girls have traveled to San Francisco and New York City. Shows include the long running: I’m Sweating Under My Breasts, Sweat Dreams and Pigs at the Trough of Attention as well as I Just Oops Until I Wow, All This and the Sugar Dish Too and Sweat Girl Swing. In collaboration with Joe Winston (documentary filmmaker) and Lifeline Theatre (producer), we created The Motherlode, a tribute/valentine to our moms and an amazing project. We also released a spoken-word CD, Almost Live, and developed and performed Cirque du Sweat. The most current Sweat offerings are featured at the Lifeline Theater Fillet of Solo Festival.
WRITE NIGHT AT FRANK’S COCKTAIL LOUNGE
“The high pressure is inevitably drawn to the low because what’s a left without a right.”
Popular neighborhood event at Frank’s in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn which happened 3 or 4 times a year until Frank's closed its doors. Evenings focused on new writing around a central theme. I was an original and frequent contributor. The work was joyous and enlightening. Some of my stories include: “Sophie Shea, Exclamation Point”, “Merry Christmas Peggy Fuller”, and “Baptized – Mom in the City”.
HOW MARGARET GOT HOME
“And when I round the corner, I’ll find Happy Lane and the moon. Right?”
A full length play with a cast of 4 women and 1 man is a whimsical, mystical and uncompromising look at the power of healing, the price of honesty and the expansive nature of family. Was read at Flourish Studios in Chicago and at Old Stone House in Brooklyn with a workshop production in Chicago, directed by Dorothy Milne and featuring Pamela Webster.
COOKING WITH LARD
“Beef causes grief. Veal’s even worse. Cows could be friends, if we’d just make amends.”
Co-writer of this full length play featuring 15 female characters, played by 4 actors, and chronicling a day in the life of Addie’s Diner in central Texas. Loaded with fun, food and fabulous ladies, it was first produced by Lifeline Theatre in Chicago.
“Something twirly. Something spinny.”
Co-adaptor of the musical play of the children’s book by Mary Jane Auch by the same name. It was produced by Lifeline Theatre’s Children’s series. One of my favorite projects ever. Actors wore chicken costumes, pigeons were puppets and when the author, Mary Jane Auch, came to see the play, upon Percival the Peacock’s entrance, she clapped her hands in delight and later told us “he was more than I imagined”. Yes.
THE MIGHTY O
“Odysseus was a man in love.”
Based on The Odyssey by Homer, this piece was adapted for White Bird Productions’ Creative Theatrics’ Performance Ensemble. In working with a group of 3rd through 6th graders, scenes were improvised in the fall and then I had the privilege of putting it all together for a spring performance run. An epic and marvelous time was had by all and was a wonderful way to get to know a classic.
ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS
Based on the Arabian Tales, and particularly, the Ali Baba story, this project was adapted for WBP’sCT’s Performance Ensemble the year following The Mighty O. Many students returned for the rip roaring fun of making a play. Capitalizing on the competition of storytelling and improvisation, two teams in a game show setting vie for top prize. Everyone lives to tell another tale.
“I cannot believe my mother-in-law gave them a bear to share.”
A one woman play that takes place on the evening after Evelyn has buried her husband, Larry. Sponsored in workshop at the University of Oklahoma and produced twice in Chicago, as well as in Louisville and San Francisco where it was nominated for a Bay Area Theatre Critics Award.