– by guest writer Sam Simon –
It turns out that The “Actual Dance” has been inside me for nearly 13 years – and maybe longer. I just did not know it until I began to write it, and then it just poured out. It is as if the show itself existed inside of me and needed this time and place to appear.
The Actual Dance began as a brief monologue developed as part of Carol Fox Prescott’s acting class in New York City. It was the first time I felt safe to begin to tell this story. I was afraid because, even as I wrote it, I thought it would make me seem crazy. The surprising, strong positive response to the monologue stimulated me to write “the rest of the story.” In April of 2012,with the help of Gabrielle Maisels a dramaturg and talented solo artist, I finished the script.
You see The Actual Dance is a true story. But did it really happen? You must decide as you wander through the mystical world of spirits, out-of-body experiences and a love so deep it seems tangible. Susan, my wife of 33 years, is finally diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer after years of false alarms. The Actual Dance is the story of what happened after that diagnosis.
But let’s step back a moment. My first career was as one of the first lawyers to work for Ralph Nader. I went on to create a company that pioneered in building winning coalitions for public advocacy in Washington for 25 years. In my “third age” I served as a Senior Fellow at Intersections International in New York, a multi-faith initiative of the Collegiate Church devoted to justice, peace and reconciliation.
The Actual Dance represents a “fourth age” for me. As an Actor, I trained and worked with Artistic New Directions in New York for the last 15 years, as well as training in Gary Austin Workshops, with acting teacher and coach Carol Fox Prescott, and most recently with Gabrielle Maisels as Dramaturg for The Actual Dance and as my solo show and acting coach and with my director, Jessie Roberts, who is an accomplished actor, and playwright as well.
by Sam Simon
at Fort Fringe — Bedroom
612 L Street NW
Details and tickets
The Actual Dance has been in development for just about a year. Each reading and then each developmental performance provokes incredible audience reactions. Everyone is touched in some way. Indeed, even though I wrote the play and am the solo performer, I learn from the audience something new after each performance.
The Actual Dance has not only changed me, it has now become my calling. Indeed, the risk is that people may be changed forever by their engagement with this show.
This production is presented as a part of the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe
— Sam Simon, a 40+ year resident of the DC area, is now writing and performing in New York and Washington. He has trained with Artistic New Directions, Carol Fox Prescott, and Gary Austin. He has performed in local theaters and improv troupes for the past 15 years. The Actual Dance is his first solo show. —
Part of Fringe Peeks, our “in their own words” series