Puppets and mermaids and seagulls, oh my!

I’m embarking on a somewhat terrifying adventure as a Thespian. But it’s more complicated than that… as a Thespian-Playwrite. Actually, as a Thespian-Playwrite-Puppet-Maker. Well, to be perfectly clear… as a Thespian-Playwrite-Puppet-Maker-Puppeteer. Hence the terror. It’s a “Jack of all Trades, Master of None” kind of thing. In public. Glue gun in hand.


And I am not alone. We are a merry band of thespians, all willing to parade about dressed in funny costumes, strutting and fretting and being silly. Being in a Winds of Change production is a weird compulsion that demands time and physical strain and supportive families:

Me: I’m going to hang out with my thespian friends, baby.

My Love: Um… OK. Are they all… lesbians?

Me: Thespians darling, thespians.


I’ve written a wee play about a fisherman, and a lonely girl, and a horrible mother, and a mermaid… it’s a maritime fable, although I’m not sure I’m allowed to call it that since it’s a blurring of fable and fantasy and fairy tale, on the shores of the sea, with a dory and seagulls. There’s probably a moral to the story, but I guess the audience will have to determine what it is since it’s like everything I write… spew it out and wait and see what happens!

That’s also where the terror comes from. Waiting to see what happens.

Throwing creative works out into the world is like raising a feral child you found under your pillow. You nurture the poor creature as best you can until one day you leave the window open and it launches itself out into blue, fingernails untrimmed, hair unwashed, dressed in rags you sewed with all your broken needles and leftover fabric… and you watch, bemused, as it cavorts in public. Everyone knows it belongs to you, and your only hope is that people will be kind enough to excuse it when it poops in the corner of the shopping mall. Your greatest hope is that one person, just one would be fine, is willing to take it home and feed it a bowl of soup and give it a warm place to sleep.


Our hope with this play is that it gains entry in the Liverpool International Theatre Festival, held here in jolly ol’ L’pool at our glorious Astor Theatre, in May, 2016.  There is an intense application process, and then the waiting to see if we are successful, and if we are, then there will be the excitement and fear of performing with amazing troupes from across the globe. The feral child will run amok!

For now… we are creating puppets, we are rehearsing, we are building set and props, we are wondering how the mermaid will be able to navigate the stage without tangling her tail in the waves. We are trying to survive the muggy heat of September, rehearsing in the new Old Town Hall…


I hope to blog about our progress, and our process over the next few weeks as we approach our first performances on November 5, 6, 7 and 8th, 2015. Here is the cast list… if you see any of us at the grocery store, please be kind and tell us to break a leg, or a tail fin…

Director: Susan Lane

Producer: Beth Woodford-Collins

Set/Tech: Cameron Dexter

Set/Props: Nick Moase, Jade Whynot

Costumes: Lynn Sponagle, Lyn Oakley, Sue Beaumont

Morna: Ashley Goodwin MacDonald

Young Boy: Leslie Clarke

Young Grandfather: Sarah Webber

 Mother: Libby Broadbent

 Old Grandfather: Grant Webber

 Esme: Jordyn Duffney

 Mermaid: Lily Lane

Advance Article: http://www.novanewsnow.com/News/Local/2015-04-10/article-4107124/Mermaid%26rsquo%3Bs-Tears-%26ndash%3B-Queens-County-novelist-writes-first-play/1

Another article:  http://www.novanewsnow.com/Community/2015-07-13/article-4212543/Cast-selected-for-Liverpool-play-the-Mermaids-Tears/1


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