BWW Previews: ONE GOOD EGG at Center Stage Theater
"People talk about non-fiction like it's navel gazing," says Elaine Gale, a Santa Barbara writer, comedian, and performance artist, "but I think about it like being around a campfire. Someone tells a story, and you lean in and ask, 'Is that true?' And the answer matters, because if it is true, it changes the way you relate to and digest the story. There's a gift that nonfiction has to offer...there're all these things we're not supposed to say in public. It's my life and my mission to help other people (and myself) tell our stories as well as we can--in as crafted and beautiful and resonant a way as we can--and share them in the public realm." This weekend, Gale brings her passion for exploring the human condition to Center Stage Theater with One Good Egg, a comedic narrative monologue that explores the female experience with a wry and compassionate tone.
One Good Egg hatched into the world as a written memoir, but the final product left Gale feeling unsatisfied that her story had been fully and authentically expressed. "A year and half ago, I was sitting with this memoir, and feeling inspired by it," she says, "but I was also feeling lonely, disconnected; ... my body wanted to be involved in this story, instead of it just being me writing, which seemed two-dimensional and isolating." The urge to infuse her work with layers of personality and presence brought Gale to theatrical monologue. "Books are fabulous," she says, "but writing a book doesn't give the writer the opportunity to fully interface with the audience about the material in real time." Gale teamed up with Santa Barbara producer Rod Lathim to adapt her work into the current emanation of One Good Egg, which premiers Friday, May 5th.
One-person shows require layers of careful artistry; from the crafting of a written narrative that is both economical and conversational to the charisma of the performer and their level of engagement with the material, a solo theatrical presentation leaves Little Room for slacking tension. Gale comments that adapting her work with an eye for theatrical technique provided an invigorating challenge. "Working with [Lathim] is like getting a master's degree in theatre...I'm learning about how to theatricalize stories, which is very different from doing a staged reading...there's something so different about having it in your body." Gale is concerned with creating works that require physical engagement to foster presence and connection with the audience. "The theatre is like an egg!" she exclaims. "It's this dark, interesting, primordial stew of creation and life."
Gale's piece began as a response to, amongst other life events, her experience trying to have a child (and, as she states, "all the hijinks that ensued"). One Good Egg as a theatrical production retains Gale's views on her relationship with parenthood, but it also offers a comic, yet earnest illustration of universally relatable topics, such as how to handle life's profound disappointments with grace and humor. "When I was on this journey of trying to have children, I read all these books, and everyone got the baby in the end," Gale says of her inspiration for the show. "But I thought: What if you don't get the baby? What happens when you have to live with that brokenness?" Using a self-aware sense of humor, Gale explores how people cope with shifting priorities after expectations aren't realized.
One Good Egg features a female perspective of the contemporary American experience, especially the complicated relationship between feminine identity and parenthood. Yet, the egg is a broader symbol--one that represents manifestations of fertility beyond pregnancy and childbearing. Gale's intent is to explore the personal and societal imperative to create legacy--whether it be passing on ideas or DNA. One Good Egg invites audiences to accept (and appreciate) the optimism that can flourish in even the most absurd or aching moments.
Directed by Rod Lathim, One Good Egg has also partnered with several philanthropic bodies. Gale is deeply invested in giving back to the community, and has designed the Friday evening show as a benefit for Direct Relief Women, an organization that provides maternal and child health and safety services, and Hospice of Santa Barbara. Gale is excited to connect with Santa Barbara audiences looking to celebrate life's challenges, and she is gratified that her creative offering can also provide advantage to people at the very beginning and very end of life.
Catch One Good Egg at Center Stage this weekend; "it'll crack you up, and crack you open!"
ONE GOOD EGG
Written and performed by Elaine Gale
Directed by Rod Lathim
Friday, May 5, at 7:30 P.M. - (Not Sold Through Center Stage Box Office)
Saturday, May 6, at 7:30 P.M. (NOTE EARLY TIME)
Sunday, May 7, at 2:00 P.M.
Sunday, May 7, at 7:30 P.M. (NOTE EARLY TIME)