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Doll Talk

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Jolene Turner
March 18, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright/Performer.

What is your show about?
To get to New York City, our heroine (Me!:) takes a job working as a server at one of the most regimented restaurants in the country -- The American Girl Doll Cafe!

What do you do when you’re not working on a play?
I work as an editor for a salon magazine covering fashion and beauty. I'm also the volunteer PR manager for the AWESOME non-profit Anjellicle Cats Rescue. Additionally, I take care of my foster cat Cupcake while I try to watch as much television as humanely possible without feeling guilty which really only amounts to Seinfeld reruns at 11pm. I still LOVE that show.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this winter that...?
Doll Talk is the only show that includes the trauma that is the American Girl Doll Store! I wrote this piece based on my time working as a server at the doll store’s cafe and why I took this job in my mid 30s that first began at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The viewer gets to follow my inner chaos and eventually sees that the job is my ticket to move to NYC to start fresh, but what I am presented with at the NYC store is nothing that I could have ever expected! I don't want to give too much away! Let's just say there is a lot of pink, Barefoot Chardonnay and that snotty Kit Kittridge doll just might make an appearance!

Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
A little more than halfway through I have a sort of musical number; It breaks up the story telling and digital media I have throughout the show and presents a totally different and physical way to share part of my story. I like performing the scene a lot, but what I really love about it is that I feel I can finally express what exactly I was going through when working at the store in NYC. I tried so many times to explain it to people and they'd just give me this confused look. Now friends that have seen it are like ‘Oh! I get it’ The scene also includes this very tiny moment that is really rewarding because it’s so truthful and when it happens I can often hear people in the audience gently laugh and audibly sigh like they really feel sad for me. After the experience I had at the store it feels so good to have this sort of full circle moment with it!

Which mythical character would like your show the best: Cyclops, Cupid, Paul Bunyan or the Easter Bunny?
Paul Bunyan because he'll like that a Minnesota girl finally gets her act together after of course making a lot of embarrassing mistakes while also being bullied... oh I think I am giving too much away! I just really like Paul Bunyan, and Babe too!

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Yes, absolutely! Aside from a show presenting an important message, theater as an experience instills in us that human connection is KEY in us thriving. We are all so connected to our digital lives (me included!) and while it can be really exhilarating to be a part of the social media, it’s also scary. Theater is SO incredibly important to ensure proper balance in communication and strengthen the awesomeness that is a human connection; and truly there really is no cooler way of connecting than through a performer and audience member. It's so now and present and wonderful. People always ask me if I will record my show and I just brush off the request because honestly what will they get out of a video of a theatrical production? Theater has to happen in real time between the audience and performers. It’s exhilarating for all because of the energy between all the humans in the room! When I watch theater I feel just as involved as when I perform and that experience is vital in my daily routine to keep plugging away; not everything is about sitting at a computer and connecting through online platforms. Theater is the oldest form of entertainment and nothing beats it!