My New Friends, The Mermaids by Barbara Biddison
I met some new friends last night. Thomas's last blog encourages me
to let them "take up residence for as long as they'd like to stay."
Well, these mermaids seem to have ended up on dry land, and on the HG
Warehouse Theatre stage where I found them rehearsing for FOOLISH
FISHGIRLS AND THE PEARL. That made for a fun evening.. So, I'm going
to let them take up residence for a while.
The cast has some familiar faces (and acting history with HG). So
I'll smile remembering a few from past shows: Anne Acker as the
sister in THE LAST ROMANCE, Judith Sornberger in CALENDAR GIRLS,
Lexa VanDuesen as the dog in SYLVIA,, Pat Balon in WEDDING BELLES. and Titus Himmelberger as Pierre in THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT. So in this FISHGIRL show they are all somebody else, including
not-yet-mentioned Robin Gaige and Brett Kennedy. (That's what happens in theatre--you get to be somebody else.). And, Linda Young, whose stage set/construction we have all admired before, is directing this show.
I saw this rehearsal on November 2nd. The show opens on November 11th. During those ten days is when all the extra bits and pieces come to life. I love seeing rehearsals at this point. No scripts in sight. Lines are there, except for a few flubs sprinkled throughout. Character interactions are clearly developing. The old mermaids and
the new are revealed to be what they are and how they got to be there. The newest mermaid has the sweetest "chirp" you've ever heard. Floyd starts out as a real pain, demanding his breakfast and such, and turns
out to be not quite what we thought. The audience should come prepared to laugh AND to pay close attention as this mermaid story develops. It is a fun show for sure, and still the story has more depth than you might expect from mermaids.
And now to end with my expression of gratitude for the HGWP (Hamilton-Gibson Women's Project). In 2016 Thomas Putnam expressed the need for "more opportunities for women" to participate in the HG family "We
have to do something." Linda Iseri looked at me and said, `` I guess that's us." Almost immediately thereafter Lillace Guignard joined in to make the initial trio. Soon Clare Ritter and then Jessie Thompson ....and if I try to go further with names I will leave someone out. Now it's all of us with room for those who "just want more" and for those who want to "give it a try." Even mermaids.