School is back in session! This week’s TBT, we honor our teachers with lessons–lessons of love and life. To everyone starting back up, whether teacher, student or staff–BEST OF EVERYTHING.
“It’s the spirit here that counts. The time may be long, the vehicle may be strange or unexpected. But if the dream is held close to the heart, and imagination is applied to what there is close at hand, everything is still possible.”
FROM AMY WHITE (PLAYWRIGHT, THE KNITTING LESSON, ACTOR)
The Knitting Lesson was the first play I’d written since junior high school. I’d recently lost both of my parents and the work of telling their story onstage helped me to process my grief.
They were married ten days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My father joined the army to fight in Europe while my mother taught high school and lived with her parents when my oldest brother was born.
I wanted to portray the strength and courage of those who remained on the homefront through the letters my mother had saved from that time.
For a personal and heartfelt project like this one, it is an absolute necessity to have very talented dear friends who are willing to step up and hang on tight for the emotional rollercoaster ride. My friends Bob Driggs, Ed Hill, Melinda Hudson, Tim Ross-Boon, Paula Grady, Helen and Dennis Damon-Moore, Craig and Kristi Keast, Cathy Boggs, and Michelle Bostwick did just that.
Erin Kamerling researched recipes from the WW II era and she and other friends made and served refreshments at the play in Lisbon Heritage Hall.
They helped to create an unforgettable experience that I shared not only with a local audience of neighbors and strangers alike but with my immediate and extended family, who traveled from far and away to be here for the production.
Right as we were preparing to start the rehearsal process–the production was planned to coincide with Veterans’ Day–9/11 happened, making it even more of an emotionally healing project.
We heard so many stories from each other and from audience members who shared their wartime memories and family stories. People were glad to be able to gather together.
The feeling of being surrounded by a community in times of trouble is a treasured memory.
Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten was another fun dinner theater production at Gwen’s. The script allowed us to play parts ranging in age from kindergarteners to senior citizens and act in distinct mini-plays ranging from comedies to tearjerkers.
It was only my third time working with MVCT (at that time we didn’t have the “L”) but I got to share the lights with veterans Jay Gunn, Tim Ross-Boon and John Klopp as well as my Steel Magnolias friend Shari Miller.
We probably made Laura Werkman wish she’d signed up to direct a children’s show instead of dinner theater but she let us have a lot of fun and still got a lot out of us.
It was a show that was very well received by the audience.
I do remember that cell phones were still pretty new and someone’s phone rang loudly during the show. We just stood there in shock for a moment, thinking it was a part of the play we’d somehow all forgotten. After a few minutes, the audience member finished her conversation and the show went on.