Here’s my recap to a GREAT year in 2017, cheers!!! I started with a big bang in January, I began my casting calls for not one but TWO shows at the Playground Theater: Womanifesto and Karma. I performed a monologue about my relationship with God at Second City and was selected to do a reading of my play God, Do I Hear Wedding Bells? at the ETA theater in Chicago, with some of the original cast and my new favorite actresses joined us in that production and made it a hit, once again. Folks, this was just in January 2017, now that’s a natural high!
In March, I began assisting & directing a group of students at Robeson High School on Thursday’s as they rehearsed my newest play, Karma to perform for their entire school. That play was currently in rehearsals at the Playground Theater so it was an honor to watch the students pick up my script, and make it their own teenage version of it lol. Speaking of teenagers, I also began my Youth V.O.I.C.E.S. (Youth Voices Originated through Innovative, Creative, Educational Sounds) workshops on Tuesday’s at South Side Help Center as apart of their after school programs . Youth V.O.I.C.E.S. provides entry level S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) demonstrations to youth ages 12-17. Youth learned theater and performing arts fundamentals through sequential workshops, team building projects and collaborations and/or training by local theater and performing arts professionals.
March was also the debut of my Womanifesto show at the Playground Theater. Once again, another sold out show! Womanifesto is a collection of stories in the form of monologues, about the every day lives of plus size women. This production was inspired by one of my cast members from my Love ‘Em All Monologues production, Robyn Durham. One day in rehearsal, Robyn was telling me about some challenges she face as a plus size woman and of course, my pen hit the paper and that production was birthed. I interviewed the casts as well as other women to create the monologues. I learned so much from that production and so did the audience. The show was also a mini-fashion show, to show other plus size woman how to be comfortable in the skin that they’re in. Some of the monologues had us crying laughing and others had us crying out of compassion for the storyteller.
I visited New York City in April with my daughter as apart of her birthday gift and a writing retreat for myself. We stayed in an AirBnb house in Manhattan and enjoyed spending quality time with one another. I learned on that trip that my daughter is really becoming her own person at 17 years old and not that little girl who swears that she doesn’t look like me at all. We still didn’t accomplish what school she wants to go to for college but she did confirm that she didn’t want to be in a big city like NYC, so I guess that was some progress.
Also in 2017, I created a hashtag #FELICIAreloaded because just as anyone else, I endure setbacks and challenges in life, but I am persistent about staying focused and pressing my way through the tough times, that helps me renew my strength and faith in God, and no doubt, I come back stronger than ever.
May was all about prom season. I finally pulled out my Canon camera and booked a few prom send-offs as a professional photographer as well being the videographer at my niece’s Sweet 16 photoshoot party. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. I taught myself how to edit photos as well. This year, I think I’ll hire an intern to edit my photos for me, that’s just not my ministry or I will charge more for editing. During this month, my Youth V.O.I.C.E.S. theater program, became the recipient of the Allow Grant from Hyde Park Academy students in the amount of $1,000. This was the first grant I wrote by myself that was actually awarded…….look at God!
My stage play Karma was an uber sold out HIT in May as well!!!!!! All of the stress, tears and hiring/firing casts was well worth it. I wouldn’t change a single moment in my life at that time, if I could. That play was the beginning of me telling other people’s stories in the raw. I look forward to writing more stories in 2018 about real life experiences of men and women. Here’s a brief summary of the mishaps from a previous blog recap of Karma: “Every week, myself and the cast faced so many trials in our personal lives, either it was conflicts in schedules or there was a problem at the theater that we could not rehearse in our time slot, casts were late, I had other obligations….” The struggle was real every week throughout this production but my casts came through and kept my head and my body held up literally.
June was by far the highlight of 2017 for me. I stepped out on faith, cancelled my birthday trip to Paris, left my job of seven years, and moved to NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA to pursue my dreams of becoming a full-time writer (I’m still working on that dream). From June to December, I’ve been working in the juvenile detention center here in New Orleans which is an academic goal of mine in the criminal justice field. Also during those aforementioned months, I met and fell in love with a great guy who has been a breath of fresh air in my life in a city where I knew no one and was starting my life all over….thanks babes.
In 2017, I learned how to trust myself more and not be afraid to conquer my fears as a writer. The latter half of the year, I’ve just been living my life to help me create more stories in 2018. I am looking to collaborate more with other writers for my productions. A lot of people share their interests to me about becoming a writer, so I want to open up the platforms I’ve been given, to help aspiring writers, get their words out there. If you are interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
HAPPY NEW YEAR and THANK YOU for continuously supporting all that I do!!!!!!!