Terrifying Honesty


“We can’t have it both ways. You can chase me away or you can put on a pretty dress. But you can’t put on a pretty dress to come down here and chase me away.” –  Matt from Lanford Wilson’s “Talley’s Folly”

In moments of intense internal struggle, where the truth could change the very foundation of the life I am building, my body gets charged from the universe. My head spins, images of a life I never wanted but am potentially asking for by coming clean dance behind my eyelids. I felt that way the first time I told my (now) husband the fertility issues that were waiting for us should we choose marriage. I felt that way when I told him  he should take our first five years in Michigan to grow his theatre company, without pay, knowing that would mean living on our principles and love, not on solid financial footing. For being such a basic principle of humanity, honesty can truly terrify.

It feels strangely perfect that my husband Dave (He changed his mind about using his real name, hallelujah)  has thrown himself into his soon to open production of Talley’s Folly, a script built around the internal terror of honesty. As his actors take the stage in what I honestly (real honest, not wife stand by your man honest) believe is the most poignant, riveting play of his career, our lives are hinging on the belief that it is more important to live for joy than money.

This show has the potential to pull our fledgling company into the black and give it an honest go at financial success. The themes of religious identity, defining a family, honesty and carving your own path outside of the one chosen for you are playfully, artfully addressed. Dave’s brilliance for scenic design and lighting have transformed his black box theatre into a boat house so beautiful that passerby have said they would see the show simply to see the set in action. His actors found their groove, Sally’s stoic stance punctuated by grace are beautifully matched by Matt’s affable continence and stinging honesty. This show delicately handles issues of supreme importance under the guise of humor and fledgling love.

The worst part of throwing your entire heart and soul into a labor of love, like starting a theatre company in a market where the great recession has not abated, is knowing that the strength of your resolve will be proven not on how phenomenally you complete a task,  but on how many people show up to see its completion.

This is a post about honesty. I honestly hope we sell at least 140 tickets, which will give us enough money to pay off this show and fund the next one. I hope we sell 100 more tickets so we can pay off our initial capital investment loan. I hope we sell 100 more tickets so Dave can back-pay himself approximately $0.02 an hour for all his work the last two years. And I hope we sell 100 more just to show him that people respond to his art.

In South East Michigan and interested in experiencing this play? Come, meet my husband (me, too, if it is a Saturday). Let’s have a conversation about how honesty feels when the results could be dire. Or let’s converse on how art transforms life and adds meaning. Or we could just talk about the term “no wars but star wars”, that was a popular post 😉

More information here: http://www.puzzlestage.org/


About TT&NB

Wife, Mother, grant writer, professional do-gooder and friend
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