The White Egret, in many ways for me, is representational of Vivienne's hope. She is optimistic about the future because she believes she has control. As long as she has control, and everyone gets along, she can't even imagine harm coming to the world. In so many ways I think the White Egret represents the parts of ourselves that so long to hold onto the innocence of health before it is lost to any disease; that moment when we aren't recognizing just how marvelously we feel because we have not yet begun to feel its decline. She is both the rouser of social society in the forest of our minds, and the still and peaceful caregiver of our memories.
How do you prep for a role like this one or roles you have played in general?
I feel as though I have been preparing for this role for years, as I have been an avid watcher of the cousin of the White Egret, the Great Blue Heron. Their poise and patience have always drawn me in and while camping or canoeing during the summer months, I have been known to spend half an hour or more simply watching one bird on the shores of a lake as it goes about its daily practice of hunting, sunning, and acting statue. In this case, I also watched lots of National Geographic videos of white egrets and read up on Audubon's writings on the birds (he apparently found them to be good eating!).
What do you like most about this play?
The opportunity to create another world - a world within the mind of the main character AND within the shared world of our theatrical space. Where are we in this play? I'll leave the audience to answer that. What I like least is the reality that so many of us will recognize our family's story in Vivienne's tale ... I know that after just a week of rehearsals, Karen has already given so much truth to the struggle of losing a loved one to Alzheimer's that it is hard for me not to have images of my own Grandmother floating in my mind's eye as I enter the stage.
How would you describe this play to our audience?
This one is tricky. It is not exactly a series of monologues, but it's not exactly not that either. I've been telling folks that it's essentially a one-woman show, with the assistance of some animal friends and a little myth-making. The story of a very human struggle with the gradual decline of a parent's health, a parent's presence, a mom losing her mom to a disease that doesn't make sense. In the midst of all this, we discover the ways that our experiences may be mirrored in nature and that taking any part of our world, internal or external, for granted does not bode well for our own wellbeing.
What would you like them to leave thinking/ talking about?
I would like audience members to leave thinking about the ways they prioritize their lives right now. How can we all make the most of each moment - live the prosperous spring the White Egret so desires - each day so that no moment is truly "lost" even if the memories of it are. Oh, and go ask the people in your life who are entering their later years all the questions you've wanted to know about the life of theirs you never got to see. Learn from one another. And find joy.