Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The basement steps are done for Old Woman in the Basement.Steve Boyer brought them here to the house so I could practice and balance on them. There is a sturdy railing for me to grab, lean against, put my hat on. I'd like to get the picture of them on here. I'll get in touch with young Kim my blog master. Steve and his wife Ruth are helping get Old Woman on the stage. They are remarkable.
They retired from their steward work on airlines, came to this city to enter into life and the community working backstage and on with the Community theater. Steve works for the Council for the Aging, Ruth, for the Biltmore Conservancy. Steve is part of David Novak's Telling Experience, making shows happen technically. He's a past president of Asheville's Storytelling Circle. Ruth sang Star Spangled Banner the hardest song to sing in the world at a recent baseball game. And made those rockets truly glare. I'm lucky to have their help.
I was thinking about the structure of Old Woman the other day. It started life in Tommy Hay's Smoky Mountain Creative Writing Workshop. something like three or four years ago. My first one woman Friday's Father came from writing I did there. In my personal life, I was into the second year of my husband John being in a facility for Alzheimers patients. Back when he was diagnosed with it, I came "off the road' with storytelling and turned to writing for expression. I'm not sure when the basement came into it. I remember telling Tommy, "I'm thinking of writing a play about an old woman who takes herself in anger down to stay in her own basement.' (Reckon I was headed into mine grieving John) and Tom says,"Well, we have to get her back up those stairs."
At some point I found the Glen Ackerman book on monologues/one person plays. He has a section in the first of it about the history telling of Ruth Draper and Cornelia Otis Skinner as pioneers. On that first read,I remembered seeing Skinner on a visit to Queens College, in Charlotte NC. sixty years ago. She wore a long dress and had great trailing veils that she flung about. I do not remember a single word she said. In the last scene I do a bit of posturing and flinging. I just realized where that came from!
Old Woman is archetypal. Someone told me this lately and I nodded. I did not think I will now sit down and write an archetypal play. I realized its connection to the ancient myth of Inanna early in the writing. Diane Wolkstein , writer with Stanley Kramer of the fine Inanna; Her stories and hymns. listened to it , saying Sadie is so-and so, connecting my characters to the ones in the ancient myth.
Now, I'm thinking of the Moth ,the now prevalent short stories of NOW. I gave myself a great chuckle wondering if people lived their lives so it would make a good story. The truth as I see it is even the short bursts of NOW have the first times embedded in them. Are you nodding? This needs another sentence. But if I go back to the first times right now, I won't get out the door to talk to Valerie about advertising or pick up Tamara to clean or the Moth story of the day. So...see ya.