The past year was good for me. I had vacation times with my children, a writer’s retreat, published a book of essays, and appeared as Mrs. Dubose in To Kill a Mockingbird.
One particular highlight came in the fall at the Archie Awards at Center on the Square Theater. But let me give you a little backstory.
When I was 15 years old, I saw Annie Get Your Gun at the Dallas Summer Musicals. A quick 50 years later, I played a social matron in a production of that play in Madison, Tennessee.
I had long been smitten with live theater, and thoroughly convinced that “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”
In 2000, shortly after I retired and moved to Arkansas, I attended open auditions at Center On the Square Theater in Searcy. I landed a part as the mother-in-law in Moon Over Buffalo. Thus began my career onstage . . . type-cast as a little old lady.
Sometimes I was a sweet little old lady — as in The Homecoming, God’s Favorite, The Miracle Worker, The Cemetery Club, and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Sometimes not so sweet — as in Lost in Yonkers or To Kill a Mockingbird.
Often I had a smart mouth — Bull in a China Shop, Moon Over Buffalo and The Women.
And a few times I had either scattered my marbles or lost them completely — The Dining Room, No, Not Really, I’m Herbert, and Leading Ladies.
Though it’s not my specialty, sometimes I spoke with an other-than-Southern accent — Lost In Yonkers, I Hate Hamlet, and Hocus Pocus.
The past 15 years have been a tremendous amount of fun. As I said, I love live theater, whether I’m on stage, back stage, or in the audience.
In October, at The Archies Award Night, I received a life-time achievement award . . . the first the committee has ever awarded. “. . . to someone who has dedicated the majority of (her) life to the arts. This is someone who has been in more shows than you can count. . .”
Actually, I can count them . . . twenty since 2001. And next time Center on the Square produces a play featuring a little old lady . . . who knows, maybe I’ll be there again.