Sunday, May 26, 2013
Quiet Desperation Productions presents "Boogie Shoes", written and performed by Marcie Schwailm and directed by Tara Corless in the Red Venue. The red venue this year was in a rehearsal space on the second floor of the Shakes. Based on posters I had seen around the Fringe Festival, I expected to see a goofy comedy about a dancer with little coordination. Marcie walked on stage and began talking about how she loved to dance as a small child. Her mother told her that she could be anything she wanted to be when she grew up. "I want to be Wonder Woman!" "Well Wonder Woman is a pretend character, you can be anything real." "A shark?" "No." The next best thing was to become a ballerina.
Her mom supported her dream and enrolled her in a ballet class. Unfortunately some snotty ballet student told Marcie she was too fat to be a ballerina. Deflated, she dropped out of the class. Bulimic girlfriends told her she should barf up any food she ate to stay thin. She couldn't do it. Bitchy adolescence set in and she resented her own body. She took to cutting herself. The razor's edge was one thing she had absolute control over. Thankfully, she eventually put that behind her. In her 20's she met the man of her dreams and she read endless brides magazines to plan the wedding. When she tried on a wedding dress and looked in a mirror, she didn't like what she saw. Depression set in for years because she didn't see herself as a Cinderella ideal.
Then she discovered belly dancing. The teacher had students isolate upper body movements by asking the students to imagine they were washing a window with their breasts. She had students move their chest as if then were writing a word. Marcie demonstrated for us. Amazingly someone in the audience guessed the right word. I was too modest to venture a guess although she wrote 5 letters. To isolate hip movements the teacher suggested students imagine they had a pencil in their vaginas with which they wrote on the floor. Those would be some long pencils!
After a quick costume change Marcie came out in a belly dancer's outfit. She sparkled and a thin gossamer blue veil flowed around her as she danced. Now when she looks in a mirror she knows she is beautiful. The audience clapped and shouted their support. I was glowing, happy to have heard this story of overcoming the odds imposed by society, and rediscovering a child's joy that can always be rekindled. Some people go through their whole life never finding that innocent passion again. This show was a life affirming miracle. Some dreams do come true as long as you keep searching and never give up. This was without a doubt the most inspiring true life story I've heard at this year's Fringe.
A portion of the sales for "Boogie Shoes" will be donated to the non-profit organization, "To Write Love on Her Arms". This organization is dedicated to presenting hope and find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. They encourage, inform, inspire and invest in treatment and recovery.
Sunday May 26 at 5:45PM
$8 plus a Fringe button.