The Friday 5(+1) on Thursday: THAT WOMAN - THE MONOLOGUE SHOW Opens at Darkhorse Theater Tonight

Ibby Cizmar, Dianne DeWald, Elizabeth Turner and Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva

By: Jun. 16, 2022
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The Friday 5(+1) on Thursday: THAT WOMAN - THE MONOLOGUE SHOW Opens at Darkhorse Theater Tonight

Opening tonight at Darkhorse Theater in Nashville is That Woman - The Monologue Show, which explores the stories of women who involved or rumored-to-be involved with President John F. Kennedy. Co-written by Nashville-area women playwrights and actors, it is performed by a diverse ensemble of actors who bring the women to life "in a fascinating look at a lesser-known aspect of history and a thought-provoking and entertaining evening of theatre."

That Woman - The Monologue Show is co-produced by Angela Gimlin and Tennessee Playwrights Studio and is directed by Stephanie Houghton. The production is co-written by the following Nashville playwright/actors: Molly Breen, Dianne DeWald, Angela Gimlin, April Hardcastle-Miles, Alicia Haymer, Nettie Kraft, Ang Madaline-Johnson, Mary McCallum, Elizabeth Turner and Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva.

The Friday 5(+1) on Thursday: THAT WOMAN - THE MONOLOGUE SHOW Opens at Darkhorse Theater Tonight Ibby Cizmar (she/her) as Priscilla Wear

What was your first live onstage taste of theater? When I was ten-years-old, I joined a children's theatre company, Kids on Broadway, and I played the role of Mary in The Secret Garden. I remember being so moved by singing "The Girl I Mean To Be." Even at that age, the theatre became a place where I could express my innermost feelings, turmoil, joys, and sorrows that I couldn't express in everyday life. In that moment the theatre became a sanctuary...and it still is.

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? By using the techniques of Ernie McClintock's Jazz Acting, my favorite pre-show ritual is simply connecting to my breath and checking in with how I feel. Every time I get onstage I am nervous - I had one mentor, Barbara Poitier, who said, "If you aren't nervous there is something wrong - nerves mean you are alive." However, with nervous energy I can become anxious so the Jazz Acting breath techniques center me and keep me present and in the moment.

What's your most memorable the show must go on moment? I was cast in a production at the Actors Studio in 2002: The Price of Pearls, written and directed by Erica Schmidt. The piece was based on Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales so the show was quite...dark. In one of the scenes I was a maiden by a river who was approached by a predator and assaulted on stage. We carefully choreographed every moment so that me and my scene partner felt safe. However, the second night of the run, when my scene partner picked me up from behind, I was lifted a bit too high and landed on my left ankle. I heard a pop and luckily the character was in pain and terrified, so that translated. My ankle swelled in an instant, but I finished the scene, crawled off stage, and the stage manager called an ambulance. One of the members of the ensemble took over my role for the rest of the night and the show went on.

Who is your theatrical crush? My theatrical crush is a toss-up between two actors: the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Seeing them both perform live was a revelation.

What is your dream role? My dream role tends to change year after year based on all the fabulous new work that comes from playwrights like Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Larissa Fasthorse, Naomi Iazuka, Krista Knightand Jose Rivera, to name a few! My current dream roles are Logan in Larissa Fasthorse's The Thanksgiving Play and any of the roles in Braden Jacobs-Jenkins's Appropriate.

Why should people come see That Woman? That Woman fills a lacuna in theatre and history where there has been an erasure of women's narratives. Some of the characters, like Marilyn Monroe, are of course well-known yet skewed assumptions about her still exist. The character I am playing, Priscilla Wear, is perhaps less known and cast in history as a floozy intern who may have had an affair with JFK. Regardless if the audience knows these characters, they will most likely be bringing in preconceived notions about the alleged women who had affairs JFK. This collection of monologues upends assumptions that we, as a society, make about women in terms of their intelligence, sexuality, and empowerment. (In my humble opinion) like all good pieces of theatre, it gives voice to those on the fringes who have been silenced.

The Friday 5(+1) on Thursday: THAT WOMAN - THE MONOLOGUE SHOW Opens at Darkhorse Theater Tonight Dianne DeWald (she/her/they/them) as Mary Pinchot Meyer

What was your first live onstage taste of theatre? I was in a production that was made up of a collection of poems. I played a little girl caught in a snowstorm that was saved by woodland creatures that huddled around her and kept her warm. I don't remember the name of the play, but I remember being able to cry on command and eight-year-old me being very proud of that.

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? I like showing up about an hour before call time so I can have plenty of time to get ready. I'll spend the extra hour going over any lines I have problems with and doing vocal warm-ups on my own away from others.

What's your most memorable the show must go on moment? When I was playing Betsy Bell in Spirit with the Bell Witch Fall Festival in 2018, a huge rainstorm came in during a performance. The performances are outside, and there was a metal roof on the pavilion, so all of the actors had to literally scream our lines so the audience could hear us! The rain eventually stopped, but those 20 minutes were hard to compensate for vocally.

What is your dream role? Callie from Stop Kiss by Diana Son.

Who is your theatrical crush? David Bowie. He counts because he wrote Lazarus!

Why should people come see That Woman? The show will put into question everything you know about some of these women. That Woman will make you curious to learn more, and nothing is more intriguing than the promise of learning the truth!

The Friday 5(+1) on Thursday: THAT WOMAN - THE MONOLOGUE SHOW Opens at Darkhorse Theater Tonight Elizabeth Turner (she/her) as Judith Exner

What was your first live onstage taste of theater? It was my second grade Thanksgiving pageant. I opened the show with "Jim! Jim! Come over here!" and an arm motion that could probably be seen from space. From then on, my principal would yell out, "Jim, Jim! Come over here!" whenever he saw me in the halls. It made me feel so special, so naturally, I was hooked.

What is your favorite preshow ritual? Coffee! And I try to get some stretches in and shake out any jitters I may have. (Probably from the coffee.)

What's your most memorable the show must go on moment? I was doing a production of The Vagina Monologues when a bout of food poisoning hit. The whole cast stayed onstage for the entire show. Our production was set in a bar, and I was the bartender, so I would throw a dish towel over my shoulder and "head to the back" for something, get sick in the men's restroom next to the stage, pop a mint, and walk back on like nothing happened.

What is your dream role? Fanny Brice or Mama Rose.

Who is your theatrical crush? Lin-Manuel Miranda. He's my Theatre Boyfriend. I think I'd lose my mind if I ever had the opportunity to meet him. I have a real-life Theatre Husband. I probably should have led with that, huh? We met doing theatre and got married on the front steps of TTU's Backdoor Playhouse. He's my forever crush.

Why should people come see That Woman? This is a brand-new, original piece created by some of Nashville's finest actresses, who are also some pretty remarkable storytellers in their own right. I've learned so much about the subjects of these monologues. They were so much more than just a footnote in JFK's history. And, for some of us, this is our first step onstage after two-plus years of forced hiatus. We're excited to get back to doing what we love, and we hope our audience members leave educated and entertained.

The Friday 5(+1) on Thursday: THAT WOMAN - THE MONOLOGUE SHOW Opens at Darkhorse Theater Tonight Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva (she/her) as Marilyn Monroe

What was your first live onstage taste of theater? I was in a production of Lewis and Clark: The Musical, in elementary school. I strangely remember some of the songs, but not much about the actual show. I'm pretty sure that's when I fell in love with theatre.

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? Nothing gives me more pleasure, than packing my show bag! Deciding what items I might need for a run/tech. It always looks like I'm moving in to live, but I always have everything anyone could need. Also, plenty of things I don't. Yes, I am a Virgo.

What's your most memorable the show must go on moment? I once had food poisoning during my first production of To Kill A Mockingbird. I didn't have an understudy. So, I decided to just do it anyways. Bins were off to the sides, and one up in the balcony. It was hilarious. The balcony would make a bunch of noise, and wave huge church fans around, so nobody would notice or hear me being sick. I remember thinking, "If I'm still standing upright by the time we get to Boo Radley, I get a gold star and a cookie."

What is your dream role? Fosca in Stephen Sondheim's Passion. I endlessly love that score.

Who is your theatrical crush? The Sandworm in Beetlejuice.

Why should people come see That Woman? This show is giving the audience a very intimate look into something known, from a very different lens. It's exciting to experience modern women giving voice to iconic women from the past.

The cast for the run at the Darkhorse Theater (West Side Cast) includes: Molly Breen as Mimi Alford, Ibby Cizmar as Priscilla Wear, Dianne DeWald as Mary Pinchot Meyer, Angela Gimlin as Blaze Starr, April Hardcastle-Miles as Inga Arvad, Sofia Hernádez Morales as Jill Cowan, Ang Madaline-Johnson as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Mary McCallum as Ellen Rometsch, Elizabeth Turner as Judith Exner, and Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva as Marilyn Monroe. Dates and times for this production are: Thursday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, June 19, at 2 p.m., Thursday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m. (pay-what-you-can night; free/donations accepted), Saturday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, June 26, at 2 p.m. Darkhorse Theater is located at 4610 Charlotte Avenue.

The cast for the show at The East Room (East Side Cast) includes: Molly Breen as Mimi Alford, Karla Dansereau as Priscilla Wear, Dianne Dewald as Mary Pinchot Meyer, Angela Gimlin as Blaze Starr, Madison Gunn as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, April Hardcastle-Miles as Inga Arvad, Sofia Hernádez Morales as Jill Cowan, Silva Riganelli as Judith Exner, Audrey Venable as Ellen Rometsch, and Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva as Marilyn Monroe. This show will take place one night only: Wednesday, June 29, at 7:30 p.m. The East Room is located at 2412 Gallatin Avenue.

Other women theatre artists contributing to this production include: Rachel Agee (Script Editor), Renee Brank (Stage Manager), Bethany Dinkel (Costumer), Kristen DuBois (Lighting Designer), Alexis LaVon (Sound Designer) and Lauren Wilson (Graphic Designer).

Go to www.tnplaywrights.org for ticket information.



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