Native Gardens: My Roots…
A week ago my parents flew into Cincinnati for a visit to see my play! They arrived while I was on stage for a Saturday matinee, so I ordered them an Uber and they settled into my apartment. It was quite a treat to walk in the door, on break in between shows, to see them sitting on the couch!
That evening they came to the show and afterwards I brought them down to tour the green room and dressing rooms, and to see how beautiful their opening night flowers still were. I think they were both surprised at how funny my performance was, granted they usually watch me in drama, a lot of Greek drama at that! We were in the mood to get a bite and grab a nightcap so we took a leisurely, but cold walk to The Celestial. They have an incredible view of downtown and that night there was live jazz. So over crab cakes and lobster bisque we wound down the night and their Cincinnati adventure had officially started.
The next day was Super Bowl Sunday! We began with brunch at The Rookwood and were sat at the same table I had been the Sunday before with Miles and Lance. I left a little early to warmup my body and voice before our matinee and they walked over to make curtain to see the show a second time. The night before was a quiet and serious audience, this matinee was giddy and vocal and I’m glad they got the experience of watching the show with different responses. We didn’t have an evening show so we had two pit stops before heading back to watch the Super Bowl. We started by driving to Newport, Kentucky, across the river to take a walk along The Purple People Bridge. It was a sunny, clear day, but really windy so we walked about halfway across to take a look down at the great Ohio river and take in the views of downtown Cincinnati. We then hit the road to pick up some BBQ at Eli’s. We got pork ribs, pulled pork, Mac and cheese, baked beans, jalapeño cheddar grits, cornbread and coleslaw and that evening we watched the Broncos beat the Panthers.
The next day I had to tape an audition with the help of my brilliant cast mate John Lescault and my mom running the camera. After I finished we had lunch at The Mount Adams Bar and Grill. As we ate snow began to fall, more and more, it was a beautiful sight. We had planned to drive around after lunch and explore more of the town but came to a consensus that it was best to stay in and avoid driving in the snowy weather. We had reservations that night for an early Valentine’s dinner at The Celestial. We enjoyed a perfect view of the city over oysters, steak and shrimp. The night ended with watching the fantastic Oscar nominated film Brooklyn.
They flew out the next day but the flight was late enough that we had some time to add a few more sights to their Cincinnati Adventure! We started with breakfast at Hathaway’s Diner ar the bottom of Carew Tower. Then we faced the elements and rode the elevator to the top of the tower to the observation deck, which we found out was outdoors! It was a beautiful view, freezing, icy and windy, but a 360 look at the city and surrounding areas. We still had plenty of time to kill so our last stop was the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. This place is incredible! Dedicated to displaying the history of slavery, freedom fighters and multimedia artwork, both past and present. My favorite exhibit is a big circular room, filled with the sound of Amazing Grace heard all around, dedicated to those who lost their lives while on ships being carried against their will through The Middle Passage. The current exhibt, Kin Killin’ Kin: The Art Of James Pate, is breathtaking…There isn’t enough space in this post to express all that we experienced there, I just highly recommend visiting if you find yourself in Cincinnati.
We picked up their suitcases and I drove them to the airport in Kentucky to catch their flight. As we were hugging at security my mom said, “Some people travel to Europe, we go to wherever you are doing a play!” I waited as they got through security and waved a final goodbye as they headed to their gate. Their visits are always too short, but we find way to make the most of our time together.
My character in this play is from New Mexico and I was especially proud to land this role and represent my home state in a Regional Theatre World-Premier. Having my parents in the audience added to the experience because they are a huge part of who I am. They are my roots, my support and working in my craft wouldn’t be possible without them.
My Dad always reminds me that I’m doing the right thing and that everything will work out, especially when times are tough. He’s become an excellent critic, especially about dialect work and character, and I enjoy his feedback immensly. My mom has helped me with auditions and advises me with line suggestions and let’s me know if my volume is good. She shares reviews and articles and has always been a perfect stage mom. There’s nothing better than looking out into the audience at curtain call and seeing their smiling faces…
I don’t know where they will get to travel to next, but I know it will be a great adventure!