Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Walking the Wire

To be honest, I was hoping to find someone else to perform my piece. Then I saw Megan Gogerty during Riverside Theatre’s production of Megan Gogerty Loves You Very Much, and was inspired. She is adorable; memorizing and performing a wonderful solo show that she’d written. I decided to opt for bravery, facing head on this question: “Does the audience hate me, what I’ve written, or both?”

I foresee only two problems:
1) I am not adorable. 2) Memorization.

I could use my age as an excuse for the lack of memory. I used to look only for things, “Where are my car keys?” “Have you seen my glasses?” Now I also look for phrases and words. “Where is the, you know, white stuff that you use to stick things together?” “Hand me a, that thing, it’s ah, you use it for eating.”

It’s like playing a very tiresome game of charades or catch phrase, by myself and I’m always on the losing team. I’ll use anyone nearby as a resource, even strangers, peering closely into their faces and asking, “What was I saying?” I could use age as an excuse, but performers of my demographic, talented women like Rachel Lindhart and Jody Hovland, dance through pages and pages of memorized text, as dense as Shakespeare, and linguistically challenging as…oh the guy, he writes, it’s French, begins with oh, maybe an M?

So, I am committed. I printed my piece and I read it and say the lines walking my Labradors over the frozen farm field in the morning and at night. They are no help when I ask,” What comes next?” But I think their argument is more substantive, they would have phrased some of it differently, would have chosen different metaphors thanks and do you still have cheese in your pocket?

-Janet Story Schlapkohl

Janet will be performing her piece, "Sacrificial Turkey", during Walking the Wire: Monologues at Riverside - Food! The show runs from March 5 - 8, and tickets are on sale now! To reserve your seats, call the box office at 319-338-7672 or visit

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