2016 Reflections & 2017 Resolutions

2017-resulutions

This has been a year of all things: great, challenging, and new.

This year, I had the honor of being a part of the remount production of You, or Whatever I Can Get with Flying V and the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts.  It was a small but significant (added-for-the-remount) role that was the perfect transition back into the theatre world after having Dez.

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Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography

I became a Beachbody Coach at the end of August.  I’ve learned that although I know that the products and programs are amazing and they work, people have a hard time investing in their health and wellness.  Their kids, ALWAYS (hey, I get it!).  But themselves, it takes an epiphany or a really “down” period for that a-ha! moment to hit.

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I got the chance to play a GREAT role in an innovative production of The Who’s Tommy.  Open Circle Theatre’s mission is to create opportunities for and spread awareness about actors with disabilities.  This production incorporated American Sign Language, and opened my eyes to an entire deaf culture that I (embarrassingly) had no clue existed.  The experience sparked a desire to learn ASL and get the learning process going for a possible new life path.  We’ll see!

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Photo by Wilder Photography

This doesn’t usually happen, but just one month after closing Tommy, I started rehearsals for a brand spankin’ new world premiere play, Mack, Beth! at The Keegan Theatre.  It’s a modern day version of the Scottish play, AND my first play-play since moving to the DC area in September of 2008 (aside from readings).  The cast is amazing, and I am THRILLED to be back at Keegan after too long of a hiatus.

Matt played a role that was very different than anything he’s ever done and NAILED IT.  (I had no doubts.)  He also got a promotion at work recently because he’s super smart and awesome.  (Also, no doubts.)

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Photo by Cameron Whitman Photography

Kevin is in his last year of preschool.  His handwriting, although crazy messy, is getting better.  He’s starting to read and sound out small words.  I don’t work with him nearly enough (#momfail), but regardless, he’s excelling in his school, and I’m grateful for his teachers.

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Desmond had been working with the Infants & Toddlers program for a possible speech delay.  We worked with them for about 7ish months.  I was never worried.  I knew he would speak when he was ready.  But just to be safe, we got services every couple weeks.  I learned a lot about “teaching” him to play (never thought I’d need that, but alas, I did) and how to help him develop his speech.  We recently stopped services as I didn’t think he really needed them anymore, and his vocabulary is really taking off.  Soon, he’ll be talking nonstop like his big bro.

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On the last day of the 2016, we lost Matt’s grandpa who had been battling cancer for about a year.  He was one tough guy, and he had a special bond with Kevin.  Matt was able to drive to Ohio on New Year’s Eve to be with our family and pay his respects to the man that raised him.  I’m so very grateful he was able to go.

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But now, on to 2017.

I have high hopes for this year.  And I have very specific resolutions… because ain’t nobody got time for broad, generic sh*t.

  • Pay off one particular loan that drives me BANANAS.  Both because debt is terrible AND the customer service at this place is literally the worst.  Rude as hell people.  The thought of paying interest to them makes me wanna puke.  So, they’re the first to go this year.
  • Workout: Weights 3x/week & yoga 3x/week — see?  Specific.
  • One blog post/week.  Eeeeks!  Hopefully I’ll have enough to share to fulfill this one.
  • Learn ASL.  At the very least, the basics.  Enough to have a rough convo.
  • Start the prerequisite course-taking process.  “For what?” — you might be thinking.  I have been feeling a strong pull to go back to school and pursue a Master’s.  I think I’ve *finally* figured out in WHAT, but there are many prerequisite classes to take before even beginning the Master’s program.  More on that later 😉
  • Live simpler.  Just… less stuff.  Less commitments.  Saying “no” when I really don’t wanna.  Less clutter.  Less stress.  Stop overthinking.
  • Badass tattoo.  Because I want one.  That’s all.

Again, 2017 — HIGH HOPES.  It’ll be busy.  I have a lot to do, a lot to work towards.  But by living simpler and paring down on the unnecessary things in life, I can do it.

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Photo by Monika Karnani

 

 

La-Ti-Do Cabaret in Washington, DC

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Image courtesy of the La-Ti-Do Facebook event page. Check out their page and “like” it!

Last night, I had the distinct honor to be a part of a lady trio, representing my favorite theatre company in Washington, DC, The Keegan Theatre, in the weekly La-Ti-Do Cabaret series. Continue reading

2014 in Review

Wow.  2014 was a big year for the Hicks Fam.  Instead of writing one of those letters of all the amazing things that have happened to us throughout the year and stuffing them into Holiday cards, I thought I’d spew it out right here. Continue reading

The Longest [most musical] Day

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*Top photo stolen from Emily Levey.

Yesterday was a wonderfully busy and exhausting day.

It started with leaving my house at 8:30 A.M. and teaching two music classes.  My mom met us there to take Kev to class, then she took him back home with her for the night while I ran into DC for the rest of the day.

I was so pumped to be a part of the 5th Annual 17th Street Festival in Dupont, representing The Keegan Theatre, my favorite theatre home.  It was rainy and cold, but it was a lot of fun singing with some amazingly talented people.  Matt managed to capture the first of the two songs I did, until he ran out of storage on his phone.  Wah wah.  Please enjoy “Life With Harold” from The Full Monty, technical difficulties and all.

Afterwards, we brunched at Level One, a gay bar with a pretty legit brunch menu.  I had the “Gurl, It’s a Brunch Bowl,” which was good, and kept me full for about 14 hours.

We did a lot of walking around, checked out the Keegan theatre space that’s currently undergoing a major renovation, stopped by Buffalo Exchange, killed the car battery trying to charge our phones, then walked over to Theatre J at the DC JCC to see some friends in a production of Yentl and got home at 12:30 A.M.

Overall, a great, exhausting day.  I need a nap.

 

HAIR Art #wappo

Last night, one of the most challenging, heartfelt, sincere theatre experiences of my career came to an end.  We closed HAIR at The Keegan Theatre with a nearly sold out run, two weeks of extensions, many a tear shed and more pride in a project than could ever have been imagined.

There are so many reasons this was such a highly emotional experience and why its closing brought up all of the feelings.

There was nudity.  And lots of it.  Never have I ever imagined myself standing naked on stage in front of over 100 people, for 30 performances.

But more importantly, and probably the greatest lesson that came out of this, stemmed from a physical injury that I endured throughout the process, which, in turn, though I feel physically weaker, made me mentally stronger.

Since 2009, I have been dealing with the same herniated disc in my lower lumbar spine.  Over the years, I have been able to keep it under control on my own.  But days before starting rehearsals for HAIR, I took a turn for the worse.  I found myself curled up in a ball on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably, in the worst pain of my life.  And there was nothing I could do.  I couldn’t walk.  I couldn’t get to a doctor.  Calling an ambulance wasn’t an option because being moved a fraction of a millimeter would trigger intense, sharp, burning mass amounts of pain.  That went on for three days, until my doctor finally got me Percocet, which made it possible to get an MRI, showing that (GASP!) I had a huge disc herniation that was pressing against several nerves.

The disc pain was bad, but the nerve pain was horrendous.  It went all the way down my leg and into my foot.  The pain made me feel like my leg was going to turn black and fall off.  I had trouble walking, but the Percocet was helping.

Over the course of the rehearsal/show process, I went through two Percocet prescription refills, two Gabapentin refills (nerve pain killers) and three epidural injections.  And thank GOD I had doctors who were willing to use less invasive measures to “get me through until closing” instead of urging me to quit.

And although some nights I would find myself limping back to my car after a rehearsal or show, all that went through my mind was “I have to do this.  I have to do this.  There’s no way I’m NOT going to do this.”  My biggest fear was having to let go and drop the show.

Sound crazy?  Probably.  But this show is super important to me.  I did HAIR in October of 2006 at Marshall University in Huntington, WV, and it was an amazing experience.  Since that production, two of my Tribe members have passed away suddenly, leaving a big hole in my heart.  One of them was my best friend, Darin.  We had been through so much together, that production of HAIR included.  We spent hours together, figuring out where I should place each riff in “Easy to be Hard,” listening to the Shoshana Bean version of “I Believe in Love” and wishing we could whistle tone, and  beaming with pride over the beautiful piece of theatre we were a part of.

So when the opportunity came around to be a part of a brand new Tribe and a completely different, yet equally exciting, Tribe experience, I couldn’t give it up.

Which leads me to today’s post-show project.  The artwork for the poster is incredible.  I love the colors.  I love the concept.  It’s perfect.  So when I first saw the box of posters in the box office during rehearsals, I grabbed one for framing.

I found this frame at the thrift store for $2.50.

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And It was the perfect size for the poster.

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First thing’s first, remove the awkward paper backing.

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Then peel off the foam core “art”.

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Use the existing foam core to make matting.

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Wrap DIY matting with duct tape.

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Then cover this awkward plate at the bottom of the frame with duct tape.

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And there you have it.  

And just for fun, my tribe in 2006:

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And the WAPPO Tribe in 2014:

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2006:

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Very different.  Equally momentous.

So much love and gratitude to everyone who came out to support this beautiful production.

#wappo