Widows Anonymous opens tomorrow, June 8. Today is finalizing all the details: printing the program, getting my costume ready, deciding on my makeup, and choosing which talisman I will take with me. I’m planning one more rehearsal today, probably a light one, that will take me from beginning to end, with a focus on the transitions and cues that help me shift seamlessly from one character to the other.
There is not much more left to prepare at this point. I have done the work, the best that I could, both in the writing and the rehearsing. I realize that so much of it was showing up as bravely as I could, to capture what needed to be said and then to put it up on its feet.
I think of my Ladies and how they showed up on the page, almost fully formed. I knew intuitively how they looked, how they spoke, what motivated them, even what shoes they would wear. As I wrote their monologues I could hear them in my head, the quirks of their language. As I began to rehearse, I could sense how they walked, how they sat. I considered what animal they felt like.
Tomorrow night, as I literally step into their shoes, my body will remember what I’ve practiced as I’ve explored these characters, how they move, how they speak.
All that is left for tomorrow night is to step into the river.
This is the inexplicable piece, the mysterious piece, the piece we cannot describe but have all felt. That moment when time, as we know it, shifts, our mind quiets, and we are completely open to instinct, intuition, divine inspiration. In those moments we are swept away and caught up in something that is wholly us, and beyond us.
We cannot force such a communion, we can only invite it.
Tomorrow night as I stand backstage, listening to the audience settling, the music beginning, I will humbly pray: Please, let me serve this work, the characters, the tale that is meant to come through. May I give all of myself to the stage, the audience.
Then I will take a deep breath, part the curtain, and step into the river.