Saturday, May 10, 2008

A thank-you note.

While AMBER NASH SHOW's been in development (all 10 minutes of it), I've not been blogging about the progress, the difficulties, the hangups, the problems and the thrills of the process I've learned about trying to stage something and what I've learned about my own control-freak tendencies and inability to relax all these weeks. I didn't want to sound pessimistic, particularly when I knew that the process, though it's probably interesting to hear about, matters little in comparison to what the final product looks like.

For the record, I'm starting to get really, really excited about what we're doing for XPT this year. I'm very happy to be part of XPT, for it's through this blog that I suppose this accomplishment started. If I'd not attended that ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY puppet show ages ago and blogged about it with Brad Fairchild, then I wouldn't have met the wonderful Sydney Ellis and become familiar with XPT.

I've wanted to be part of XPT since I saw that show in 2005. I saw the show then, found it amazing and thoroughly entertaining and wanted more than anything to one day bring something to the stage. I hope that I bring a bit of fun to all the people who entertained me back then, some of whom I now know and expect to be in attendance.

More than anyone, I think I want to entertain the hell out of Sydney Ellis, who actually is involved in my production. She wrote the AMBER NASH SHOW theme song with her father, and she performed it. And that song - and the vote of confidence in my writing that Syd always has given me - may be the best thing that this blog has ever brought me. (Thank you, Syd. Love to you and Abby.)

I stopped blogging regularly a couple years ago. It faltered a bit when I signed up for writing classes at the Margaret Mitchell House so that I could focus my efforts there. Thanks to the people who helped me there. (Thank you, Sarah Shope, Frank Ciccone, Lynda Hawkins, Betsy Crosby, Monica Cox, Kat West and the absolutely wonderful Marianne Lacey.)

When I started taking improv comedy classes at Dad's Garage about 18 months after that, the blog slowed even more. But what I was learning about acting and about characters and about how to tell stories was spectacular. And, more than that, the people that I met through improv have been fantastic and supportive. (Thanks to people like Tom Rittenhouse, Eve Krueger, Josh Wilcox, Ed Morgan, Matthew Grove, Matt Myers, La Schaffer, Z Gillispie, Chris Rittelmeyer, Jenny Clark, Rueben Medina, Heather Starkel, Nick Tecosky, Casey Childers, Berny Clark, the Write Club, the wonderful Spencer Stephens, George Faughnan, Linnea Frye, Matt Stanton, Dan Triandiflou, Mary Kraft, Steve Platinum, Matt Horgan and Amber Nash, of course.)

And then, through my improv home at JaCKPie, what I've learned about myself - in addition to learning more about how I want to approach stories, make theater and the kind of improvisor that I want to be - has been life-changing. Though I'm still wary about God, I'd say JaCKPie is the closest thing to a godsend I've ever received in my life. (Heartfelt thanks to Jim Karwisch. Thank you, everyone at JaCKPie.)

Even the people in my new office have been incredibly encouraging through this wacky process. (Thank you to Brit Tennant, Lisa Federico, Armando Tirado, Brandon McCarty, Jay Alexander and Phil Koehler.)

Larry Corse, a long time ago, told me that I had the talent to be a very good writer, and he said he'd do whatever possible to nurture and encourage me. And he has. Over and over. (Thank you, Larry.)

Thanks to the artists who've helped my puppet show become what it is. (Again, thanks to Amber Nash. I hope that you like what we've done. Thanks to Mauree Culberson, one of my best friends. Thanks to Jillian Fratkin, Wes Parham and Emily Tsuboi. You all impress me with your dedication and commitment to the project. Thanks to Jeremiah Prescott. Thanks to Michael Haverty for the chance. Thanks to Amy Rush and Raymond Carr for the support.)

If this week progresses the way I expect it will, I think I'm going to be crying happpy tears a lot and laughing a lot.

I keep thinking of how I should thank everybody, but I honestly have no idea how to do that. I feel hokey, like I'm giving an Oscar speech in my head at all times. (Thank you, Liz Perry, Dena Waggoner Beck, Jessika Coon, Shalewa Sharpe, Vickye Zarbrook, Bonnie Davis, Steven Igarashi - yeah, I said it - and C.J. Spraggins. Thank you, Solenn Pigree. Thank you, Carrie Gibson. Thank you, Marley Angel. Thank you, Eric Black. Thank you, Jennifer Resendez. Thank you, Kate George. Thank you, T. Kyle King. Thank you, Doug Gillett. Thanks to the Phi Kappa Literary Society. Thank you, Paul McCurdy. Thank you, Kurt Summers. Thank you, Chris Brandon. Thank you, intentionally unnamed ex-boyfriends of note.)

Everyday, I think of new people who taught me aspects of all the stuff I needed to learn to get here.

If this were a book, I would write some kind of personal dedication. But, though I feel like thanking people for the puppet show, I really want to thank people for how blessed I feel right now, which is harder to do.

Luckily, I do know which dedication I would consider the most important.

Thank you, Jon Lupo, for supporting me and holding me more accountable than anyone ever has. Thank you for teaching me how to return your kindness through a friendship that is the most precious, reliable, rewarding thing I carry with me everyday. Thank you for believing in me. You've played a role in my happiness. It makes me proud to think that I've done even a fraction of the same thing for you. I'm very proud of your accomplishments. I believe in you. Thank you for letting me play witness to your life. I'm so excited about what good things the future will bring for both of us. I think we're both still learning how to cultivate the good in our lives. And, as good as I feel right now, the fact that I know there's more joy to be found strikes me as the most remarkable thing.

Hope is hard-won. But I do have hope. It is here.

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