Our show is for ages 8 and up, but something about Cynthia Brinkman’s show Evolution of a Kiss and the storytelling involved resonates with the forgotten stories we share as well. So although not for our target audience, her show is family-friendly 16+. I saw some of her Grandmother’s story when we both did outreach at the Silver Lake Jubilee, and am very excited to see the rest! – CMJ
What will families enjoy about your show?
First, I should say that my show is best for a slightly more mature family audience like ages 16 and up only because in the third portion of the show (where I am portraying myself at age 17), I talk a lot about the M-word (rhymes with Gasterbation) and the imaginary fantasies that surround that activity. That being said, perhaps the core theme of the show, besides the universal one of hormones and first kisses is how the parental figures respond to their child’s developing sexuality. I’m most impressed with the evolution of my own mother and where she came from. Her parents were so strict and controlling and yet she managed to turn it all around with me to the point that it became embarrassing for me as a teenager to have a mother that was so liberal and open with discussing sexuality. I could really see this show as being a great conversation starter between parents and their teenagers around a topic that would otherwise be difficult to bring up. Also, since the script is based on journal entries and first-hand accounts, it is so real and so true to our collective human experience of growing up, that you can’t help but laugh with these three young women.
What was the inspiration for using journals onstage?
When I was still living in San Francisco, a friend of mine was producing a show called Get Mortified where everyday people read from their teenage journals to audiences of 200+. They had urged me to find my old journals and bring in a few pieces to read. It’s funny because while I’ve written in a journal since I was 16, I rarely ever look back to read them, so when I did go through and find excerpts about certain romantic fictional fantasies I wrote about the boy on the water polo team, my first kiss with the Fabio-esque foreign exchange student from Portugal, and the moment I realized I might like girls too – they were all so real, so vulnerable, and so raw that I couldn’t help but let out a cathartic laugh. One night, I had just come home from reading my first kisses at Get Mortified, and was missing my recently deceased abuelita (Spanish for grandma). I pulled out one of the many tape recordings I have of her just to hear her voice again and happened to listen to a tape where I was asking her about the female presence in the Mexican Revolution, but my younger, boy-crazy cousin interrupted that interview and demanded, “Grandma, tell us about your first kisses!” My grandma lit up and the story that followed was the golden inspiration for the concept of my show. I looked through my own mother’s journals which she had kept from age 16 to the day she died and I found her first kiss. After that I just got out of my own way and let these three young women write the story.
Do you feel that performing the roles of your mother and grandmother brought you closer to them?
Definitely! It’s so beautiful to get to become these women, engender their dreams, their feelings, their visions of themselves. In a way, I feel like this show is my own living “ofrenda” or altar to them. I really feel their presence with me at every rehearsal and performance. Also, in a way, I feel like I’ve become friends with the younger versions of them in the development of this show. My grandmother had a flair for the dramatic and storytelling – a root that runs deep in my blood so I love to use her words and honor her story telling. My mother died when I was 20 – just at a point in our relationship when we were about to move past the rebellion and into the friendship. Doing this show has allowed for that friendship to blossom and now as I think about the family I want to have, she continues to be a great confidant and guiding force.
What other projects would you like to do?
Since this show is only 50 minutes long, I’ve played with the idea of a Part 2 that chronicles their experiences of dating, courtship, and ultimately marriage – but that may be a ways off since I’m still just getting my footing here in Los Angeles. I just moved here 7 months ago and I feel like I’m just now beginning to look around, blink, and acknowledge that I’ve finally arrived to the place that was once just a dream for me – HOLLYWOOD! That once elusive dream is meeting the pavement and I gotta cover some ground to make it happen so getting an agent, manager, union affiliation, etc. are currently at the top of my list. It’s all exciting and for now I’m just thrilled to be a part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival and so grateful for the opportunity to bring this show to a new audience.