Saturday, August 25, 2018

Last show of the Fringe!

I knew it was a great idea to bring Jacob McNeal into my show. I also knew it would change his life forever. Here is one of his accounts on Facebook. The Fringe is definitely full of magic!! 

This is from Scene 2 of our show.

The fringe, the fringe...
I knew I would love it; but there are some things you just can't predict, and how much I've fallen in love with this festival was one of those things.

It starts in the day and lurks on into the night, the people and shows are amazing. Some shows are the strangest thing you'll ever see, others; the most captivating - and some that are just plain fun! I have seen a lot and experienced a lot in the very short time I've been here, and it's been amazing.

The reception has been great for Mary and Her Monsters, we get good size responsive audiences. It's a pleasure to help, in a small way, to transport people into the amazing life of Mary Shelley.
People always say "I had no idea what she went through..." and at times during each show, the emotional impact is palpable. All ages, all genders and sexualities have been mesmerized, I think the show is pretty perfect. The lighting and transitions are smooth and elegant, thanks to our young lighting pro, Melia!

It's also been fun to have people come up and say things like "That Voice!" "Oh, your voice is hypnotic..." and possibly my favorite "Will you talk to my friend, I just want her to hear you speak!" ~
As we stay 100% for our last two shows, tonight at 10:30 and tomorrow at 7:30, the excitement continues...
And we already have more shows booked beyond the fringe; but more about that later.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Mary Shelley!

Opening scene of Mary Shelley.

This is when she has been delivered Percy's heart.

It looks like I should be singing, but I am wondering what should Mary do! 

This is my fifth Fringe show, and one of my very favorites. I love portraying Mary Shelley. There are still two shows remaining Friday and Saturday night!
Come on down!

Special thanks to photographer Michael Drury for the photos!

Monday, August 20, 2018

And the show goes on...

This photo was taken after our first dress rehearsal.

Here is my week's column about the Indy Fringe! As always, thanks for reading! (This was first published by KPC Media News!)

The drive to Indy is quiet except for the sound of the rain on the rooftop of my Jeep. I turn on the radio. I turn off the radio. I cannot concentrate on the news or even listen to the music, as the only words in my head are those from my Mary Shelley script. The rain is good, I think. The rain matches the mood of that eventful night she began “Frankenstein.” Yes, it is definitely a dark and stormy day.

I park at Ellen’s where I will be staying for the next eleven days and haul my gear up to my small room under the eaves. This has been my room for over twenty years. Once, when Ellen’s parents were still living, I complained that my mattress was a bit lumpy. For Christmas, I received a new mattress and a quilt.

The rain is heavy as I head out to the Fringe. Dodging the drops, I duck into my theatre, my other home for the week. It is a black box theatre, built just for the Fringe. My guess is that it seats 80 or so folks. I meet Maleah, the technician for this theatre, Fire House Museum Theatre. Maleah is young, and has great ideas for the show. As she looks over the script, she begins to take notes. Her light board is an antique, she says, but a good experience. Maleah plans to major in theatre lighting in college. I question her a few times, “Do you think this is too much? Are you sure you can do this?” She is not a bit shy on her confidence. My two hours fly by, and I head out to the beer tent for the preview. I have one minute to promote my show. One minute. I have worked for months and months. One minute. I give it my best shot, receive the applause from a beer-happy audience and take a bow. 

I meet a few friends, but then drive back via the grocery to stock up for the week. I know there will be dinners out after every show, but breakfast and lunch will be healthy choices in Ellen’s kitchen. The house is filling up with other artists. Somewhat like an artist colony, perhaps. 

By noon on Thursday, Jacob arrives. I chat about our show and Maleah, and the excitement builds. We are one of the first 12 shows to begin the Fringe at 6:00. We haul out our props, take a last look at our scripts, change clothes, and begin the deep breathing. 

This opening night feeling is always the same. I ask myself why I do this…I question my own sanity to put myself through this, and often wish I were just back home weeding my garden in Angola. It is at this moment I miss home. It is also at this moment that I would not really trade places. This is where I must be.

I love that two artsy folks from Angola will begin the Indy Fringe. My heart is beating so fast that I take deep breaths. The show is introduced, the stage goes dark, and we take our place. Maleah has impeccable timing and ideas, the lights go on, and we are off into the dark world of theatre where nothing else in the world matters.

An hour of talking speeds by as if only seconds, and the show is over. We change, put away our props, and meet other theatre folks for dinner. The conversation flows like wine. Other folks in the restaurant pop over to tell us they really liked our show and will tell their friends. Ah, yes, that is the best advertising! We also pass out our mass printed Fringe cards inviting folks to our show. Payment for these shows is only by attendance!

Back at Ellen’s we gather for a late night discussion. The rain continues to pour down, but I am not daunted by weather. I want to talk shop. Theatre. Storytelling. Music. Art.

Day one of the Fringe is over, ten more to go. Five more shows for us, and in between shows, there are more shows. Sixty-three other shows for us to see, should we choose. Performer badges allow us the freedom of sitting in any audience we choose.  There will be rain. There will be old and new friendships. There will be late nights for discussions about theatre and art.

And there will be five more shows of Mary and Her Monsters!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Indy Fringe!!

Tonight the IndyFringe opens!

Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 13, 2018

This week's column for my sons...

Tara, Adam, Aaron and Rachel

Today is the birthday of my twin sons. It is amazing how fast time flies and how much I still miss all three of them under my roof. I wrote this week's column for them and here it is!

Mid-August shows up with the heat of the thunderstorms, and the heaviness of the vines in the garden. The first smooth, fresh zucchini is long gone and replaced with baseball size zucchinis that you cannot even give away! The tomatoes are heavy too.

As much as I love each month of the year, August is my yin and yang. My twins were born on the 13th at the end of the Pleiades. Every year on their birthday, we took sleeping bags and thermos bottles of hot chocolate outside  to wait for the shooting stars. Sometimes we waited for hours, and just before we were to give up, a star would whiz across the inky black sky. Then we had to wait for another one. It was beautiful on the farm in those days. There were no businesses to cast light, just darkness up on Windy Hill Farm.

August was full of canning beans and the last of the raspberry jams: yet still waiting for the cabbages to split down the middle for kraut making. The apples were still high in the tree and waiting for applesauce and cider making.

For me, the sadness of August came with the beginning of school. Aaron used to ask me not to tell him when school started until the night before. As a young boy he knew the magic of “sucking the marrow out of life” stated by Thoreau. We had a ritual of the night before school. Our ritual was not that of new clothes…never new clothes. We piled the bikes into the back of the truck and headed over to Pokagon for biking. Returning home, we took a long, deep swim in the pond to cool off, and then to bed with freshly ironed lavender sheets and pillowcases. Stories ended our evenings. There were always stories no matter how late the night.

When my little ones were tucked into bed, I went out to the porch swing, wrapped in a quilt, and cried my eyes out. Another school year. Another year older. Another year closer to my little boys packing their satchel and going off to seek their fortune in the world.

As I sat on that swing, the only sound was that of Doc Headley out in his fields on his tractor. The only light was the dim headlight on that tractor.

The farm is long gone. The boys have left to seek their fortune. Doc is also long gone, leaving me with stories and memories and seeking my new normal.

August brings for me now time with my new (used) kayak. Why did I wait so long for this pleasure, I ask myself. There is such joy in gliding on the still, quiet water, and with 101 lakes, I must hurry if I plan to kayak on all of them in the years to come. My kayak sits next to my fence just waiting for the next adventure!

This past week August brought me the great pleasure of an early morning Yoga class outside under the trees. My friend, Anita Workman, gave me a call asking if I would like to join her in this class. “Just the two of us?” How could I say no?

I arrived early, and we set up outside under her trees with our instructor, Amanda. Amanda currently lives in the Caribbean and teaches Yoga on the beach, but on this morning, she is our teacher next to the Indiana cornfields, and we take our place on the blankets with towels and cool water next to us. I feel so honored to have been the invited one. There was no sound but that of a woodpecker in a faraway tree, and the rustle of the corn. It was a magical morning in which I thought, each morning should start like this.  After an hour and a half, it was time to get back into the real world, but oh, it was a wonderful way to start the day.

August.  I re-read one of my favorite books, “Dandelion Wine,” by Ray Bradbury. It is the month of the shooting stars and the return of the constellation, Orion. It is the month of school starting, and gardens ending.

It is also a month of new beginnings. New friendships. New kayak adventures, and if I am lucky, someone will call and say, “Hey, Lou Ann, do you want to?” And I will say yes. I will always say yes.”

Happy star gazing, and happy birthday to my sons.




Friday, August 10, 2018

Saturday night!

Here I am in my garden studying seed packets!!

This week I have circled the state of Indiana with shows! The remainder of the time I have spent rehearsing on my front porch!

This weekend I am pulling out one of my older Fringe shows, Hoosier Roots. I will be telling this story at the Spoken Word/Stage Left of the Woodstock Opera House with Jim May, 7pm.

If you are in the area, come on out and hear our stories. On Sunday I will scurry home to begin final preparations for Mary Shelley! Yes, the Fringe is almost here!!

Friday, August 03, 2018

Picking Berries....

Here I am at the end of berry picking!!
“For a full week, the blackberries would ripen. At first, just one, a glossy purple clot among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet like thickened wine …” so wrote Seamus Heaney, the beloved Irish poet.

I heed his words and fill my Jeep up with friends to go blackberry picking. We could buy them at the grocery and ignore the smell of blackberries on the vine and the stained purple hands, but we do not ignore this beauty.

I print the poem and Kathy reads it as we pull out. The day is an Indiana beauty. This day … this moment … is one of the reasons I decided to stay put in this small town and to keep my life centered here. The drive is rural, of course, as we head out to Walters Berry Farm. The ivy-covered barn is the first scene to greet us, and I take a photo just for my own keepsake.

Our berry pickin’ pails vary from Mary’s Tupperware to my red enamel pails used for my own red raspberries. We stumble onto the field and I stand and let the day sink in as the scent of these warm berries fill up my lungs and soul.

My memory serves me well as I begin this summer ritual of picking fruit off the vine. When I was 8 years old, I had a job with my great Aunt Essie to pick her gooseberries. With my 6-year-old sister in one hand and my battered pail in my hand, I headed to the patch. I did not enjoy this job as an 8 year old, but it was one of my first paid jobs so I did it without complaint. For each pail I picked, I was given a nickel.

Picking gooseberries was a dangerous undertaking. The thorns were larger than our small awkward fingers, and, since we did not wear gloves, we always came back with blood, smeared between our stained hands. My great-aunt Essie turned those green and red berries into pies for the church ice cream social. She usually brought most of the pies back home, as it was not always a hit at the social. But, pail after pail, we still were asked to pick the gooseberries. Now I wonder if she really wanted the berries or was it just a way of giving me a stash of nickels, the summer I was 8.
That summer I did other odd jobs and earned enough money for the used bike down the way. By the end of August, my nickel stash was enough to buy the green bike with the pink plastic streamers on the handlebars. My sister, Jessie, and I walked down the dusty road to buy the bike and decided we would ride it back to my Grandpa’s farm. It was then I realized I did not know how to ride a bike, and, with Jessie on the handlebars, we crashed into the first tree. We were both OK, but the bike was not. We pushed that broken bike back to the farm hoping our grandpa could fix it back up, all the while, bemoaning those pails of gooseberries.

I laugh out loud as I remember this story while picking with friends. I just give a wave to them as we pick these delicious, succulent berries. With our pails and Tupperware containers full, we pay for our berries. Luckily, for us we do not get weighed to measure those we consumed while on picking duty.

The scent of berries fill the Jeep as we head back to town … back to chores … back to our regular lives. I ask Kathy to read the poem again as we weave through farmland. She is always a good sport and obliges.

“We trekked and picked until the cans were full, until the tinkling bottom had been covered with green ones, and on top big dark blogs burned like a plate of eyes …” Heaney.

As we pull into town, I exclaim, “Hey, maybe there will be gooseberry or blackberry pie at the ice cream social this week!?” I am referring to the once-a-year event at the Collins School House on Sunday.

I decide I must go and see what pies are presented on Sunday under the tent awning. Ice cream and pie. I will wear my hat with the flowers and sit daintily (kind of) on a folding chair and ask, “So, did you pick the berries yourself?”

LOU ANN HOMAN-SAYLOR lives in Angola at the White Picket Gardens where you can find her gardening or writing late into the night under the light of her frayed scarlet lamp. She is a storyteller, teacher, writer, actress and a collector of front porch stories. She can be contacted at

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Where did the three months go??

Where, I ask myself, did the three months go? I love this blog, and am a bit distressed about letting it go.

So, what did happen these three months? Traveling, family (lots of family), storytelling, gardening, writing, performing, and getting ready for Mary Shelley!!

I plan to get back to my blog and just chat about life.

See you all soon.

Lou Ann