April 30, 2012
We wrapped up our first run of “Raising Autism” this weekend, and I truly have mixed emotions of both exhilaration and relief as I sit here typing this morning. It was an amazing experience, a good portion of which occurred in tandem with a brutally difficult period with our eldest child. My feelings about both are permanently intertwined with one another, with the outcome being extreme appreciation that Justin has mostly returned to his old self, and gratitude that both shows, in my opinion, went extremely well.
Just in case you’re wondering, there will be no self-inflated post-play ego occurring here. Mere hours before our last performance, both of my progeny were enmeshed in such extravagant tantrums I wasn’t certain their parents would make it out alive. This Sunday morning, after the concluding show and a much-needed celebratory glass of wine, I was awoken by an energetic and enthusiastic child at 6:03 AM (yes, I noted the time), and literally dragged out of bed by his tenacious desire to eat toast. Autism, and children in general, have a way of keeping one humble.
So much for the glamorous life of an actress.
I promise this will be my last post about the play (at least for a while). I can’t thank everyone who came out to support POAC Autism Services enough. I also appreciate the support shown for the three women who shared so many of our community’s stories on stage. I’ve already listed all the “players” in my last Gratitude Attitude. I would be remiss however if I didn’t say one final huge thank-you to Bobbie Gallagher and Babette Zschiegner, my actresses extraordinaire, both of whom brought such humor and heartfelt emotion to my script that it was simply a joy to listen to them on stage.
A special thanks to Mary and Scott Craig, my understudy and “sound man” respectively, as well as to Herb Herbst, Brendan Kelly, Colleen Earp and Abi Gardner, all of whom were instrumental in pulling off this gig in a real theater. Thanks as well to POAC Autism Services for helping to underwrite this endeavor, to all of my volunteers, and to everyone who kept me calm throughout the process of literally taking this show on the road.
Trust me, that was no small endeavor.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I hope this isn’t the “end of the road” so to speak for “Raising Autism”. I am hopeful a few specific autism organizations will take my freely offered script and bring this piece to life again, and am keeping fingers crossed that several theaters in the area will take the play on as a philanthropic production. Both dreams are a longshot, but frankly so was writing a play in the first place, so I figure I’ll go for it.
I also plan on eventually offering “Raising Autism” to any legitimate autism agency anywhere that wants to use it as a fundraiser, and hopefully, some will. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a very basic production. If you’ve got three chairs and three literate women, you’ve basically got the play down cold. Trust me, I knew enough to create a vehicle where I had the luxury of sitting the entire time, one which required no memorization, dialogue, or movement other than breathing.
I’m middle-aged. I know my strengths.
I’ll see what the universe has in store for me down the road. But if nothing else, we raised a nice little chunk of money for POAC Autism Services, a wonderful autism organization that has truly changed the lives of so many families residing in the Garden State. As a bonus note, I also got out of the house AND had the privilege of acting for four hours, an entirely new experience for this current housewife.
In the last venue we even had our own dressing rooms. Maybe there’s a bit of glamour here after all.
But perhaps most importantly, I had the great fortune to be told directly that my writing touched the audience. I had a lovely “review” from a family experiencing a similar difficult period with their own autistic child, one who shared with me that after hearing my words, for the first time in a long time, they didn’t feel so alone.
And truly, that was the point of doing all this in the first place.
Thanks again to everyone who played a part in bringing “Raising Autism” to two wonderful audiences!