Tag Archives: writing

Life Passages XIII – Everyone’s The Same

“OMG! Mr. Solomon these novels, and comics are outrageous!” Madeleine told the store owner, and Grandfather of her new friend, Devon.  Solomon laughed out loud. “Well I think they’re decent Madeleine.” Solomon eventually said once he was able to catch his breath.

“I can’t thank you enough for letting me hang out here and…and just read. I promise I will buy something. I just can’t decide what.” Madeleine was ecstatic. Laughter shook Solomon’s body and one hand rubbed the round of his belly.

“Please, take your time Madeleine. My payoff is seeing young people enjoying themselves with the books. So, don’t fret. Just enjoy!” Solomon returned to the cash register with a spring in his step and continued sorting new, and second-hand inventory.

About thirty minutes later-an hour after Madeleine’s arrival at Solomon’s bookstore that afternoon-she was planted in a corner with her head buried in a juicy graphic novel. This is as good as watching a movie…or better. A smile formed on Madeleine’s face in tandem with her thoughts.

All of a sudden the store’s front door bursted open. Madeleine was immediately distracted. The store’s threshold was cluttered with near rambunctious teenagers. Devon was leading a pack of what looked like a few of his basketball teammates, and—wait a minute— Girls? Urgh! Thought I was free of catty girls! Madeleine’s mind was racing. She expected Devon to be alone. So much for believing I’d met someone just as ‘weird’ as me. He’s just like everyone else!

Madeleine jumped up from her cozy spot and walked hastily over to Solomon at the cash register. “I’ll take this one…” She pushed the book gently but quickly toward Solomon and offered him a nervous smile.

“Hey, Mads! There you are.” Devon sauntered up behind Madeleine with a huge grin. Madeleine didn’t respond, or change her focus. She remained face to face with Solomon, waiting for him to complete the transaction. “Hey Madeleine…what’s up?” Devon made a second attempt at getting Madeleine’s attention but she continued to ignore him.

“Thank you Solomon. You have an amazing store. I am really glad I met you. Goodbye.” Madeleine reached out and clasped the top of the brown paper bag containing the book she had begun to enjoy. “You’re very welcomed dear. Goodbye Madeleine.”  Solomon’s lips curled into a warm smile. Madeleine returned one of her own, nodded at the affable grandfather then turned to leave the store. However, her exit was a little tricky

“You’re leaving?” Devon moved quickly and planted his feet, blocking Madeleine. Surprise was evident in his expression. Especially now that he had arrived. He was there. Meeting up at the bookstore was the plan. Right? That’s what Devon thought anyway. Seemed like the plan changed. “I just got here!” Devon’s face wore a mix of frustration and confusion. Madeleine tip-toed to look over Devon’s shoulder at the other six teenagers in the quaint space. “I see.” She eventually said nonchalantly. “Well, I’m leaving. Goodbye Devon.” Madeleine walked around Devon’s other shoulder, cut through one of the book shelf aisles, and out the store.

Devon’s jaw dropped, almost to the floor. “What was that?” He turned to face his grandfather. Solomon slowly shook his head then walked toward the back room office, through an entry way behind the register. “I don’t get it!” Devon wasn’t done yet-Grandfather or not. “You don’t get what, man?” Sean, one of Devon’s basketball buddies, shouted back at him. “I thought you wanted to show us some cool comics, man. Let’s go.” Sean was more concerned with his needs.

Devon didn’t truly hear Sean. His thoughts were with Madeleine. I thought…we agreed…Weren’t we meeting here? Devon struggled to comprehend what had just happened between him and Madeleine. Why would Madeleine leave?…We said we’d meet… Devon’s thoughts were beginning to whirl out of control. Eventually he gave up. Trying to understand Madeleine and the way her brain worked just about wore him out. Devon joined his friends. He half-heartedly talked, joked, and showed the group the cool comics he promised. Still his mind drifted off to Madeleine, replaying her behavior over and over again. He couldn’t help it.

Meanwhile Madeleine walked home clutching her precious brown paper bag under her arms. It would absolutely be more convenient to place it in her book bag, but somehow holding on to it soothed her right then. Why am I so unlucky when it comes to making friends. God, am I destined to be alone for the rest of my life? Madeleine pondered, prayed, then pondered again-all the way home.

Once at home, Madeleine headed directly to her room, saying no more than a faint  “hello” to her parents as she walked past them in the front sitting room. She dropped heavily on to her bed like a massive log. She was still clutching the brown paper bag, and she held on to it firmly until she drifted off to sleep.

 

To Be Continued…

 

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Local Independent Film Spotlight: Karen Elle

I know that you’re going to enjoy reading about this gifted young woman. The first time Karen Elle grabbed my attention was when she stood up at one of our church group meetings and read a monologue she had written about her real, relatable and down-to-earth interactions with God. This was not your usual religious exchange. Oh No! Instead, Karen personalized her communication in a manner that was comparable to blatantly chatting with a close friend. It was gritty…it was candid, and I loved it!

Anyway, my take-away was that Karen Elle was someone special…unique, and “outside-the-box” – in a really good way. I later learned that Karen was an actress, and that we had much in common as we pursued careers in entertainment arts.  Naturally, this drew us closer, and it is my honor to present Ms. Karen Elle…

…Read this descriptive interview to learn  everything about this show-stopping talent.

Hello Karen, it is GREAT to get to talk with you, and chat about your growing prowess as an actress in the DMV. Please tell us where it all began — How old were you, and how did you know you were destined to be an actress?

I don’t remember the exact moment, but it happened at a young age. My first love was writing. I’d always loved to write stories. But somewhere along the line the acting bug bit me, and I’ve been in love with it ever since.

What was, and where did your very first acting experience take place?

Picture it: Dayton, Ohio. Early nineties. I was huddled in a makeshift brick house, trembling in a pink turtleneck, pink jeans, and a pig mask. I was trembling not from fear of the Big Bad Wolf, but from the excitement of being in the moment. Nah, it wasn’t that deep. I was only in second grade and when I had my first stage role as Pig #2 in some school play adaptation of The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. That was my first formal acting experience. But I’d had plenty of practice before then—like the times I’d break something or eat cake I wasn’t supposed to, and act like I didn’t know anything when my mom asked me about it.

You’re currently involved with a stage play at the Silver Spring Stage, and we really want to hear all the details in just a few moments, but tell us about the acting work you’ve been involved with.

Well, my most recent show was Amrika Chalo! (Destination USA) with Ajoka Theatre Company, a very reputable theatre company in Pakistan. Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics brought the company here to do two performances (another was added because it sold out like milk before a snow day). I and four other local actors had the privilege of being in this production. That experience was so enriching. I learned a lot about Pakistan, about US-Pakistani relations. I learned some Urdu, and I made some great friends.
Also, I had the opportunity to be in DC Yuppies, a web series about seven friends who live, work, and play in DC and the drama that ensues. That was a lot of fun. I’ve done mostly theatre, and the only film experience I have done a couple of short student films, so with DC Yuppies I learned more about acting on camera. including advice from my cast mates, who had more film experience. You can watch the series at www.dcyuppies.tv or on the B.E. Cre8ive channel on YouTube. New episodes drop every Wednesday.
I have been in two other productions at Silver Spring Stage: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot in 2011. I played St. Monica, Simon the Zealot, and one of the centurions. Even though St. Monica was fun, my favorite character was Simon the Zealot. I gave the character a Tinidadian accent—well, I attempted to. I met with a Trini friend who said I sounded more Antiguan, and everyone else thought I was Jamaican. But it was cool to do that. I also played Perfect Love and other characters in Arabian Nights last spring. That show was a beast. I had to dance, and I was supposed to have a solo. I ended up singing so low so the audience couldn’t hear me. Ha ha.
I was a part of the Hope Operas (2014), Capitol Fringe Festival (2010, 2012), the Delaware Fringe Festival (2011), the DC Black Theatre Festival (2011, 2012). I wrote and produced my first stage play in the 2011 DCBTF. That was awesome. I was in DC’s inaugural One Minute Play Festival that premiered at Roundhouse Theatre last summer. That was really cool. I’ve been in a couple of productions of the Vagina Monologues. The first time I did that show I felt empowered and proud to be a woman and unashamed of my lady parts. I’ve been in a few play readings.

Now please fill us in on your current project coming up at Silver Spring Stage.

The production I’m currently rehearsing for is 33 Variations. It is a very interesting show. It takes toggles between present day New York and 19th century Austria and mainly focuses on Katherine Brandt, an esteemed musicologist and Beethoven aficionado. She is struggling with a paper she is writing on him and also suffering from ALS. She has a daughter who tries to connect with her and spend time with her, but Katherine is hard to love. Then in 19th century Austria, Beethoven is experiencing the denouement of his own career and health. He grapples with his own demons and his musical genius.
I am enjoying working on this show, even though it has its challenges. The director, Natalia Gleason, has a big vision for it. A unique vision, and I think it will make the show work beautifully.
The show opens Friday, February 27th (with pay-what-you-can previews on Thursday, February 26th) and runs through March 21st. There are two Sunday matinée performances on March 8th and 15th at 2:00 p.m.

What’s your role in this on-stage drama?

I play Clara Brandt, Katherine’s daughter. She wants to love her mother, but her mother pushes her away. This role is particularly challenging because there are some moments that require me to be emotional. I haven’t really had a dramatic role before, but I appreciate the challenge, because it stretches me and helps me become a better performer.

How can we get tickets to see this enlightening performance?

Tickets are $20, and you can get them online at ssstage.org. You can also buy them at the door. Goldstar.com has discounted tickets for $10.

Moving forward, what future acting gigs are you preparing for?

I am working on a TV pilot about Capitol Hill. I’m praying for success with that. I am looking forward to Season 2 of DC Yuppies. I’d like to participate in Monologue Madness this year. I do want to go to an acting conservatory, so I’ll be preparing to apply for programs that begin next year. Other than that, I don’t have anything lined up for the moment. I’ll just keep my eyes peeled for auditions and other opportunities as they come. I want to do more film projects, so I’ll be auditioning for those. Oh, and I will prepare for the future unknown acting gigs by taking classes to help me become a better performer.

What is your dream role. What character, if it became available to you – anywhere in the country – you would just have to be there to audition for?

Well, one of my dream roles is to play Grown Nala in the Lion King on Broadway. Last year I could’ve auditioned for that, but I’m not a singer or much of a dancer, so….However, I’ll risk making someone’s ears bleed to audition for the role of Carmen Jones. I would love to have that role.
If there is a reboot of A Different World, I’d definitely be in the number for that! I’ll audition for any character—especially one like Freddie Brooks.

How do you view the local independent film industry?

I’m learning more about the industry itself, but I love independent films. I’m excited about those filmmakers who churn out masterpieces on small budgets. To me, some of the stories told seem more substantial and genuine. Also, there seems to be more opportunities to see people who doesn’t fit a particular aesthetic. I aspire to be in independent films someday.

Do you have a favorite local independent film?

Sons of the City, directed by Marcus Richardson.

You’re a very creative individual who also pens scripts for others, personal monologues, and so much more. Do you have plans to write a film, documentary, stage play or other?
There are a couple of plays I want to write, one of which I’ve been wrestling with for years. Maybe when I finally sit my hind parts down I can churn them out. I have an idea for a web series that I’m working on.
I do write some scripts and monologues for skits at my church, as you know 🙂 . I enjoy using my gift in that way.

Yes, we work on video and stage performance scripts together at The Bridge DC. Now, please share your ultimate dreams and aspirations as an actress, and writer.

I would like to win a few Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, and Golden Globes, but overall, I desire to create awesome work. I want to be the best actress I can be, and bring such truth, talent, and power to the roles I have, that they resonate deeply with anyone who watches. Same with the plays I pen. I want to tell powerful stories that create a positive force in this world.
I would love to work with Ava DuVernay. I heart her work.

Now to a more national focus; as the 2015 Oscar Awards approach this coming Sunday, do you have a favorite film, or actor, or actress that you are rooting for?

Oh yes. I’m rooting for Selma. It was fantastic. I love Birdman, and I hope Michael Keaton and Emma Stone walk away with the little golden man.

There has been lots of controversy around “Selma” director, Ava DuVernay not receiving the best director nomination for this film, although the film was nominated “best film”. As a woman in “The Biz”, what is your opinion on the full matter?

I wish I could let my facial expression answer this question.
Selma was a great film. Ava is a fantastic director—I’ve seen some of her other films. While an Academy Award is a great honor, it is not the only honor one can receive.. I think her talent speaks for itself. Just because she’s not in the running for best director doesn’t mean she’s not a great director. It doesn’t mean she won’t stop making great films. There are other spaces where she can win an award like that.
Furthermore, there have been talented directors, actors, crew members, and great films that didn’t get nominated or win an Academy Award for whatever reason. They don’t need validation from the Academy to prove that their work is magnificent.

Well said! Karen you are a fascinating young woman with immense talent. It has been such a joy speaking with you. Any final words?

Thank you! I am humbled that you wanted to interview me. Even though I am not where I want to be in my acting career, I am grateful for the journey, and I look forward to what’s to come!

That is what Local Independent Film Spotlight is all about! How can we keep abreast of all the remarkable work you’re doing as an actress, and writer?

You can follow me on Twitter–@actrizkarenelle. I also am in the process of setting up a Facebook Page, Karen Elle and a Twitter account. I will launch a web site later this year.

Thanks again Karen! It’s been fun, and enlightening! 

There you have it everyone; another remarkable Local Independent Film Spotlight individual. You wouldn’t want to miss more stories about other phenomenal talent residing, and creating, right here in the DMV area. See you next Wednesday!

Karen Elle

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