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Survival Skills- A Moment With Ada

On Friday Survival Skills will open at the Mesa Art Center for a four show run. The show’s inception coincided with the founding of Laughing Pig Theatre. It is what my Mom would call, “A Fearless Self Inventory.” It is a celebration of friendship. It is the first full-length play that Taylor or I have ever written.

Survival Skills began as a one-woman show that I conceived as a container to investigate new creative forms and process a whole lot of heaviness that came along with my first foray into counseling– a quest to acknowledge overwhelming pain, process grief, and move into healing.

When Taylor entered the process as my director we discovered a whole mess of intersecting issues, jokes, and weirdly taboo subjects that we NEEDED to discuss. We decided to write a two-person play in the style of a variety show. Our thesis: There is no single story, and all the stories in the world won’t save you from yourself. The only path TO the self, is THROUGH the self. In this show we dive into ourselves in the spirit of friendship, growth, and letting the ugly bits out to see and be seen. We cordially invite you, dear reader, along for the ride.

We all have survival skills. Survival stories. We are sharing this work because we Know That Our World Could Use a Whole Lot More Vulnerability, Radical Self-Love, and FEMINISM (which isn’t even one of the F-words we use in the show!) We put this offering into the world that it may touch you. We hope it makes you laugh. We ask, “If everything you think you know makes your life unbearable, would you change?”

There would be no Survival Skills without two wildly wonderful, creative, sensitive, patient, and downright badass FEMINIST MEN: Tony Holt (Technical Mastermind) and Tony Moschetti (Director). The music that brings life and wind to the show’s sails is provided by the grace of immensely kind and talented Angelica Prado-Stern. Greatest gratitude and LVE to my friend, and creative co-conspirator Taylor: Thank you for working with me to bring this beautiful, hot, screaming, beast of a show into the world! We scrappy as fuck.

Thank you to Laura Wilde and the Mesa Art Center for building a vibrant space and filling it with the strong heartbeat of this arts community. A hearty shout-out is due to nue[BOX] who gave Survival Skills’ first clumsy iteration stage time via a Work In Progress Showing– one of the coolest free resources available to performance artists in the valley. Thank you Carrie at Saguaro Counseling for helping me build skills to put the practice of Mr. Rogers, “if it’s mentionable it’s manageable” into practice. It’s a process not a product, and it doesn’t have to be perfect to be worth it.

This show is for Valerie and Deborah for loving me like only my mother can. Fathers John and Anthony. When you feel it, talk it out. For my grandmothers: persistent garden tenders, teachers, writers, braves, warriors. For the grandfathers I don’t know. A prayer for my brothers and sisters. An homage to my teachers: Karen and Suzan, for giving me the tools I’d need along the way; to Dusty, Leslyn, Candace, and Robbin reminding why I practice yoga; the art and science of self care; Stephanie and Sara for illuminating conversation and transformational leadership; Paul for helping solidify a journaling habit.

Most especially, I’d like to dedicate this to my soul sister April, and her new daughter Piper. May you give her the love that our mothers gave us, and the love they couldn’t. Create a new language for it, when you have to. Digida.

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