I realize I haven’t done an update here for around a year. Perhaps that’s because my previous post about the U.S. government flying me to Suriname for a week to lead workshops and present on my work was such a dream that I didn’t want it to be over! Here is the Huffington Post piece I wrote to commemorate the experience of presenting in Suriname a year later, for Women’s History Month 2015.
In the year since that wonderful adventure, I’ve been working in the theater scene here in Santa Barbara. I worked with incarcerated youth as the teaching assistant for Michael Morgan’s Odyssey Project, which mixes juvenile offenders with UCSB undergraduates in a summer theater workshop. The workshop culminates in public performance of a contemporary retelling of Homer’s epic, with a script drawn from the students’ own words. Here is my Huffington Post piece about the Odyssey Project.
I’ve been part of several other productions here in Santa Barbara:
– I read the role of Lola in the summer 2014 staged reading of “Endless Border”, a play written by UCSB’s own Carlos Morton and directed by the great Avila Reese;
– I played Reika in the summer production of DIJO Productions’ “Ghetto”, a musical about the Jewish Ghetto in Vilnius during WWII (here is a Santa Barbara Independent article about the play with yours truly featured in the photos!);
– I played Janey, Calamity Jane’s estranged daughter, in the Plaza Playhouse’s fall production of “Calamity Jane” (with the phenomenally talented Cami Helmuth in the title role). (Here is an episode of “The Evening Show with Ben Ferguson” wherein Cami and I talk to Ben about the play at about minute 15);
– I worked as assistant to the director Peter Frisch for the world premiere of Gerald DiPegio’s “Paradise & 154” at Center Stage;
– and I read several parts, including that of time-traveling stripper Helen La Tour, in the Playhouse’s spring fundraiser “Old Time Radio Show”. (Here is an episode of “The Evening Show with Ben Ferguson” in which we perform a scene or two from the piece, at about minute 20.)
Each show has been a miracle and wonderful working experience, connecting my heart and mind with those of some of Santa Barbara’s finest talents and greatest people: Jennifer Marco, George Coe, Mindy Turano, Ivy Vahanian, Ben Ferguson, Pacomio Sun, Bill Egan, Edward Giron, Jerry Oshinsky, Leslie Story, Jordana Lawrence, Asa Olsson, Hanne Pedersen, the list goes on…
Literary Publishing News:
– My story “Keller’s Ranch” came out in the winter 2014 issue of Glimmer Train as the winner of the GT annual Family Matters Award;
– My lyric essay “Lenin” came out in 2014 in Arts & Letters as the Honorable Mention in the annual A&L nonfiction prize, and was subsequently nominated by the editors for a Pushcart;
– My lyric essay “Nam” came out in the current issue of Passages North after being a finalist for the annual PN nonfiction prize;
– My narrative essay about visiting a Syrian refugee camp, “The Surest Way To Survive”, is forthcoming in the Crab Orchard Review as the Honorable Mention for the annual CAR nonfiction prize.
It has been a full and wonderful year, crowded with extraordinary discovery and generosity from my theater and literary community. I hope you all are well, out there, soaking up the miracles of being alive and breathing through the hard parts.
Yours truly from behind the scenes at the Evening Show With Ben Ferguson