This past spring I had the lovely fortune of being cast in The Cake Shop Theater Co.'s production of Chemistry by Jacob Marx Rice. This show came at the tail end of my residency with Cincinnati Playhouse and to be frank, I wasn't sure if I had the energy left to devote to a demanding show like this. In Chemistry, I played the role of Steph, a reeling spitfire of a young woman with Major Depressive Disorder. She meets (and ultimately falls in love with) Jamie, a focused and aspiring Secretary of State suffering from Unipolar Mania. I probably don't need to go on for you to imagine the trials and tribulations that these star-crossed lovers undergo. It's a daring confrontation of a play and takes its audience (and its actors) on a fucking roller coaster that plunges into a black hole. But also. Hope.
Anyway, this project, which was a part of The Cincy Fringe Festival, took me by surprise in every way imaginable. Working on this show with these incredible, fierce, hard-working and devoted artists, I was reminded of the grassroots, gorilla warfare, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of theatre that feeds the soul like a bowl of chicken soup. It's exhausting and thankless and pushes you to that place where you think 'none of this could possibly be worth the pain,' and yet...
These are the projects where I find home. This is where my family is. One version of family. And you meet all these wonderful people who are open and enthusiastic and dead tired and down and they're so happy you're there and visa versa and they hold your hand on the damn roller coaster but I mean they actually. hold. your. hand. on the Banshee at King's Island and all of a sudden you know exactly why you do it.
Also, we won the Dr. Robert J. Thierauf Producer's Pick of the Fringe. Which was pretty cool.
And that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about.
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