Native Gardens: Opening and A Reunion…
We did it! What a fantastic Opening! The Cincinnati Playhouse sure knows how to celebrate a New Play!
I began the day picking up my partner Miles, who flew in for the weekend, which helped settle my nerves and warmed my heart. I continue to get nervous on opening night despite the many years I’ve been doing this. The anticipation of beginning the journey into a full run, no more rehearsals and of course, knowing the critics are out there just waiting for something to write about.
Rather than rehearsing the day of opening, we had a company meeting shortly before curtain. We gathered in the green room and discussed our wonderful process, with reminders from our director to keep the show’s momentum on the balls of our feet and encouraging comments from our playwright about having fun. I looked around at our team, finally at this point of a world-premier play, and was overcome with gratitude. Everyone involved in this production has brought such talent, professionalism and joy.
We opened with a burst of energy, filled the space with our story and bowed to a standing ovation. A celebration followed in the theatre lobby filled with meeting our generous and kind sponsors, chatting with happy audience members and hugging each other congrats over meatballs and Malbec. Having Miles by my side increased my happiness tenfold, his support and love mean the world to me and since we’ve met he’s celebrated with me at every opening night. A true creative partner and love…
An overall sucess with good reviews to follow. David Lyman, for the Cincinnati Inquirer, wrote: “Robison’s cast is a nimbly comic group; Karen Ziemba’s tough-and-cagy Virginia, Sabina Zuniga Varela’s “passionately rational” Tania, John Lescault’s easily excitable Frank and Gabriel Ruiz’s touchy but eager-to-please Pablo.” While Alex Barhorst, for The News Record, expressed: “The lead role of the pregnant Latino wife, Tania — played by Sabina Zuniga Varela — was performed well and is especially impressive as her first performance in Cincinnati. She is no amateur in the theatre business, however. She has appeared in numerous pieces, including her recent work with “Mojada: A Medea” in Los Angeles.”
Now we get to settle into running our show 7-8 times a week, sharing our hilarious and poignant story to connect with audiences through laughter and nature. Over the weekend my dear friend Lance arrived from Pittsburgh. He drove into Cincinnati to visit and see the play! We began our visit with brunch at Rookwood, which started with yummy biscuit sliders and coffee. We figured out that we have now know each other for 13 years!
We met in New Mexico and enjoyed a friendship for many years before I moved to California and Lance moved to Louisiana and now Pennsylvania. We haven’t seen each other in person for over 7 years, keeping in touch with phone calls, but as always we picked up right where we left off.
He enjoyed our Sunday matinee and joined Miles, myself and the cast after our evening performance for a drink at The Blind Lemon, followed by a slice of pizza at Goodfellas. I always remember laughing with Lance, and introducing him to Miles, who is amazing at making me giggle, I was beaming with happiness with the banter between the two. We enjoyed a final meal of tacos Monday afternoon at Bakersfield, before he jumped in his car and made the drive home.
I’m fortunate to have Lance in my life, we’ve created great memories and shared so much of our art, philosophy and love of New Mexico. He was a constant fixture at family gatherings and always someone I can count on for honest advice. It was a blessing that he was able to make the trip, see my play and meet Miles. I so look forward to our next visit!