10 Days to Happiness: A one-woman play that offers laughs
By Peggy Sturdivant
When you write a blog or a column you don’t get to accept gifts; but you can accept press passes to see a play. Given my level of exhaustion on Friday nights you would practically have to pay me to leave the house. And even that would need to be negotiated.
However, when I returned a book that Colette Mercier at Amazing Grace Spiritual Center (2007 NW 61st St) loaned me, about the Ballard First Lutheran Church that was once in their location, I was invited to check out the October-only play written and performed by Donna Rae Davidson, Ten Days to Happiness. Reader, I dragged my tired self there.
Seriously, if you read this link, you will get much better background on the real retreat that Davidson attended and inspired the play. You will also read about the twists and turns of life that resulted in Fringe Festival playwrights, actors and directors reuniting as minister and performer.
So here’s my experience. I picked up my also very tired friend who works much harder than I do. I was late, because that’s me, and so we were lucky to find the last two seats left together in the next to last row. I thought I’d been invited to help fill the house before word had spread about it after the first night. But there had evidently been advance word.
Having seats proved to be key. During the play, performed by Donna Rae Davidson, along with three others, the issue of a chair and “sitting” as part of meditation practice are central to the theme.
Davidson plays a version of herself, one who thought a ten-day silent retreat off in nature would be a way to assess a life that seems to be a mess. She claims that she had somehow missed the fine print with regard to meditating for ten-and-a-half hours per day. For ten days. She does the math.
The play is truly funny. Her character is engaging and she manages to make her self-reflection believable and ultimately rewarding. The use of images on the wall helps make the performance more dimensional than a one-woman play would imply. This is a far from silent evening.
The day after the play I was with three other women; not a retreat but rather an offensive assault. We had scheduled to work together on one friend’s cleaning projects as a birthday present to her (what women really want for their birthday). Two of us had been to the play Ten Days to Happiness and the other two had attended the Margaret Atwood appearance at Town Hall. My friends praised her brilliance, her witticisms, her oeuvres.
It sounded exhausting. I was even happier that I had been so entertained, and perhaps even enlightened, without leaving Ballard, because I could see a heck of a lot of Donna Rae Davidson in myself.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through October. Ticket information and additional background at http://10daystohappiness.com/
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