Okay. I’m going to declare it here on January 30, 2013. It’s a new year, and I really do have a resolution. I had a great premiere of my new show, DIRTY JOKE, at the end of 2012. I was pleased that the audience “got” the show. They enjoyed Ruth telling dirty jokes, as well as the real-life sheroes whose stories were featured in the play. But once the smoke cleared, I knew that I would have to do all kinds of re-writing and reconceiving in order to make the show what Vashti Dubois (my director) and I believe it could be: the show that best represents my work as a one-woman show, one that combines comedy, diverse characters, and social justice into a perfect Jennifer Blaine cocktail.
So what is the resolution? The resolution is to make the show ready for prime time. I am embarking on the journey to take this show to NYC for an extended run.
NYC is my original home. I grew up on the theater in NYC. Vashti Dubois also grew up on NYC theatre. We are both from Brooklyn, and although we have made our homes in Philadelphia, we still speak Brooklyn. Having our work of art run in New York City is our grand vision. This is the big dream, and we are moving toward it.
Over the next months, and perhaps years, I will be updating everyone on my progress on this journey. So far I am immersed in taking the show apart and completely re-writing it with Ruth’s story woven into the text. As Vashti commented, “up until now Ruth has hidden behind her jokes. No more of that.” There is now an additional storyline I am integrating into the play, as well as including whatever else Ruth wants the world to know.
I had originally wanted to take the show to NYC this year, but my publicist Karen Gross cautioned me to be really ready before doing so, so I decided to focus on re-writing, then perhaps performing it for an invitation-only-audience in the late Spring, and then in the Fall rolling it out for a proper Philadelphia run at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. I thought if I do all that, then perhaps I will see whether the show is really ready, or may need some further tinkering and touring to get the kinks out.
But guess what? Last Friday, as I drove my daughter to an all-day camp so I would have a writing day to work on the show, I received a call from Vashti that “Dirty Joke” was being considered for The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. I hunkered down and wrote my proposal and hours later I was confirmed as having a place in this prestigious festival hosted by The Kimmel Center. I felt like I was back in the saddle. Prior to having my daughter almost 6 years ago, I would tour and partake in festivals. I can feel that old self coming back to meet me, like a friend who is ready to walk the same path together after being separated for so long. I will write more about the performance and workshop as it approaches.
I am not sure how this goal will ultimately resolve itself, but I will keep sharing the process. So far, so good. If all goes as planned, perhaps at the end of the winter, this caterpillar will emerge from its cocoon, holding her show with one wing, marketing materials in the other, and be ready to fly — though in a form she might not recognize herself.