Sunday, April 15, 2012

On playing someone like you. Actually, not the song by Adele.

"Crimes of the Heart" closes next weekend. It's a play I'm performing in Chicago* that I first read when I was in acting school in Minneapolis, set in Mississippi which is sort of like North Carolina where I'm from** and a lot like Louisiana where my father's family lives. With my birthday approaching (I'll be a proud 24 on Wednesday!), I reflect upon who I've become during this last year, my self proclaimed Year of Becoming, and I find I have a lot in common with my character, Meg Magrath, the middle sister with "sad, magic eyes."

Meg is fun, brave and passionate. She moved far away from home to pursue her dream of being an artist. She says what is on her mind, even when she shouldn't. She's got a tough shell, but really needs the chance to cry sometimes. She's afraid of being weak, of being obsolete. She loves her family, bourbon and chocolate. She's had a mental breakdown. She is very young and somehow old.

Men are a sore subject with Meg. She broke one man's heart in a big way, like ran away to California the night his leg was crushed when a roof caved in during a hurricane BIG way. Since that time, she fears caring for anyone. Because if you care, you can get hurt. If you care and you destroy everything, it breaks your heart. It breaks your heart almost as much as being trapped in the wrong relationship, the wrong town, the wrong lifetime does. I am like Meg in this way; I care too.

As Meg, I get one more beautiful night with the man I left. One night to heal the seeping ache of five years spent wondering why. One night to move forward with clear, understanding eyes. One night to forgive myself, the hardest forgiveness of all. Even though Doc doesn't ask Meg to run away with him, she comes in singing the next day triumphant and joyous at the realization that, she "could care about someone... could want someone!" This understanding look in his eyes breaks open her heart.

As Maura,  I haven't met "the one"*** and I still am my own wife, as it were. But after nearly a year "back out there," I'm happy to say that recently my heart has returned. Fear's ally, numbness, has subsided and I am left a full, feeling woman ready and open to the world, and love, if it comes my way.

Of course, I am not like Meg in a few ways. I don't chain smoke and the practice smoking I did really effedup my voice for about a week. Thank you, Anna Pahomova. I don't think my father is a bastard. He's actually really nice. I don't have a thick Southern accent.**** I don't fight like mad with my sisters, an ever growing group***** Except for Alison, but she started it!

So no matter how many Tony's I'm not winning for this production, how many cabinet doors fall off the set, how many times the technical elements surprise us, how many Illinois suburban folk love it, how much money I've spent on gas, how many sweet friends travel across the country to see it, or how many pairs of pantyhose I tear through, I have learned wonderful things about Maura Clement by playing Meg Magrath. And that may not be as good as money in the bank, but it sure beats smoking two packs a day.

The cast of Crimes of the Heart, April 2012

*Okay, it's in St. Charles, so sue me!
** Okay, I moved there when I was 12, my dad was a JAG for the Navy. Just like Harmon Rabb Jr. Okay, not like Harm at all, so sue me!
***Okay, I don't believe in "the one." I just mean someone I'm effin wild about who feels the same way about me.
****Okay, I sorta do, but only when bourbon is involved.
*****Okay, I'm not sayin' nothin.


  1. Hello Maura my name is Kyle and I wanted to reintroduce myself, without totally creeping you out. I imagine you have a vague recollection of me, but that's not the point. We are friends on Facebook, which as we both know is less and less relevant these days considering (no one on earth has 3,000 real friends), but that's not the point. You taught me how to ride a Segway once. But you did it while still pre-occupying my mother, who kept pleading to go faster every 30 seconds, but that's not the point. Having most likely jogged your memory, I will finally get to the point. I recently noticed a link to your blog on Facebook and because I was only one-click away, I proceeded and began to read. I wasn't sure what to expect considering I only briefly got to know you. Maura, I downright enjoy reading your posts. You are witty, very descriptive, and never take yourself too seriously. In regards to specific stories; I was shocked how personal the things are you talk about. I must confess I found it hard to swallow at first, a women would admit to not shaving...Blasphemy! But then I realized that some extra hair, here, or perhaps there, doesn't change someone. It is merely just another taboo. It is like tanning first it's show your poor, then it shows your rich, now it's back to poor. WTF? Who cares right? Well shit! Hat's off to you Miss Southern Belle. Personally, I haven't got a haircut in 3 months (for the 1st time of my life I must add) and despite the critics I don't give a flying...well you know what. Perhaps the number one reason I smile when I read your stories is, well, I just get them. Now for starters I understand I am not a girl, you own the free drinks competition at the bar, and I might get taken seriously if I am ever a mechanic and have to give someone an oil change. However, I have been heartbroken and homesick I Europe, I love Colorado and hiking, I make really funny faces and I noticed you make really funny faces too, I really like writing poems (even if they aren't impressive as yours), I went to the U of M, we both are Segway honorary card holders, I throughly enjoy exaggerating my stories for dramatic effect, I cherish the days I go exploring a city especially when you know all the cool places your friends will like, Craig from Craigslist is my rainy day fund and shopping mall all in one, I have lived in Chicago for three months as well (Okay it was Naval Recruit Training Command @ Great Lakes, IL whatever, SO sue me!), pale ale and good coffee are to die for, and I love, I mean love love love a pub, bar, dive, whatever you want to call it. If it has a wooden bar top,$1 PBR's, or a group of regulars that tell stories from the "good ole days" and "don't wanna ever change nothing", I know I have found a second home. Don't think this some cheesy pick-up attempt. I have no intention of moving to Chicago and for some reason that still eludes me usually end up dating blondes. I just figured I am now 26 years old and I find myself asking so many questions and maybe if I pay attention hard enough, other people might have some answers. I don't read religiously, (although I need to get a healthy addiction and reading is good) but I happened to realize their isn't one author in their twenties that I actually enjoy reading.

  2. Wouldn't it be so... and I men a big SO... incredible to have a book and then look down and your NAME IS ON IT? Now, don't worry I am aware blogging pays no bills, buys no drinks, and can cut into sleep in the waning hours of the night. I just sincerely wanted to encourage you to keep writing because smart and funny people will relate to it. I am super duper smart and laugh your azz off funny, and your stories keep me interested, get me asking questions about why I do this or feel like that, and provoke continuous grins along the way. More importantly seeing your blog has inspired me to create one of my own. I will send you a link when my Death Star becomes FULLY OPERATIONAL of course. So until the next moment, you get a chance to slap around the keyboard for a while adios muchacha.

  3. Oh just a little paragraph about my current affiars in life; my friends and I started a company (Kyle Cameron McCasey isn't working for "THE MAN" the rest of his life no Sir), I went on a cross country road trip from Minneapolis to San Diego which lasted 6 weeks, I slept it a tent on mountain tops, along the coast, along a really long and winding road, and 6 days inside a cave. I found out you can live off nothing but 49cent taco's for 5 days. My friend is an officer in the Army and in Afghanistan and I can't figure out why. I am the biggest dog lover ever, so my friends french brittany spaniel sleeps beside me every night while he's gone. I don't have $6,000 to pay back the University of Minnesota so they won't let me go back until I do. I have been without a cell phone for 3 months and guess what...I am still alive. I occasionally smoke a green leaf and this does not make me criminal, despite what the government tells you. I love my family but at 26 years old I think being further apart might make us come closer together. I love the color perriwinkle, I think it has something to do with The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, but that doesn't even make sense, right? I believe that our generation is either going to make to world incredibly good, our we are going to destroy everything. I have come to the conclusion that no matter wether they are a Republican or Democrat I don't trust them! My mother always said, "don't talk to strangers". Well, that's all, but check out my products website: I think you will get a kick out of it.
    Stay healthy, drink local, and do crazy Type A stuff!
    Oh, P.S
    How do you stop yourself from changing you own personality after trying to become a different person on stage? Especially if it is someone who you really admire.

  4. Kyle, of course I remember you!! I'm sitting outside a theater hoping to walk into an audition for a show which I am perfect for. I rode my bike here, so sitting next to me is, that's right, my flower power helmet. I am so glad you've enjoyed reading my posts, while I love it that my mother is a faithful reader, it is nice to know that my writing can touch, amuse and inspire someone else, someone with a bit more distance, although Segwaying is a sacred bond. I am on my phone and will send a more complete response later. But thank you, your complements are quite the birthday present!