It’s not opening night but it feels like it. Flowers fill my dressing room. So nice. Critics are coming. So what. We are so ready we’re about to burst like ripe fruit.
Last night, Regina Scully came to the show with four friends. When they came back after, I looked at one of the women and said, “Don’t I know you?” “No,” she replied, “We’ve never met.” Then Regina said that the sister of two of the women had died of ALS and I immediately knew why I knew the woman—Valerie Estess. “You were in that video about your sister, as she died, “Three Sisters Searching for a Cure”! You were the one who did all the talking! Of course I know you!” How could I forget? I’ve watched the video so many times, studying her sister. I wept when I realized who was in the room with me and how much this disease has changed their lives. I was happy when both sisters (Valerie and Meredith) told me I had the disease nailed in the show.
They have continued the research project they started while their sister was still alive—Project A.L.S. (www.projectals.org). We discussed doing a benefit for their organization in the Spring. All money goes into research. They’ve created a stem cell lab at Columbia where they’re researching stem cells and motor neurons—what destroys them and what can heal them.
With them was their board co-chair, Martha McCully, who writes “My Reinvention Tour” on the Huffington Post. We hung out for quite awhile after the show talking about their sister and what they are doing now.
Today I had an interesting, far-reaching interview with theatre critic Wendell Brock, from the Atlanta Journal Constitution (my home town paper). He happens to be a friend of Scott Peacock’s and had somewhat the same (spiritual) reaction to the play. He brought me a box of Girl Scout cookies from Atlanta.
We had a brief rehearsal during the time I usually nap, so—gulp—I hope my energy doesn’t flag. I doubt that it will. Even though I’m not nervous, knowing the critics are out there does give an added adrenalin boost.
Wouldn’t you know it, on such an important night, a personal crisis arose and I could feel my stress hormones rising in my body till I shook. But I meditated for a few minutes before rehearsal and have calmed down enough to feel it won’t affect the performance. I try to look on something like this as a test. Can I rise above and maintain when it matters. I’ll let you know tomorrow.
See you next time. (unless something really unusual happens. And if it does, maybe I’ll just Twitter)Tags: ALS, Jane Fonda, Martha McCully, My Reinvention Tour Huffington Post, Project A.L.S., Regina Scully, Scott Peacock, Stem Cell Lab Columbia, Valerie Estess, Wendell Brock AJC