From the heart of the GCP Writer’s Group President. 

Written shortly after Friday, April 13th. 

It’s just absolutely crazy to even think about how our brand new writer’s group just finished our first ever performance on Friday. A dream of mine that’s been in the making for years. A dream that I never, ever thought I would ever get to accomplish.

And, I’ll forever be amazed at how [we] have a ‘things happen for a reason’ story behind how our group was formed. I will never stop mentioning it. I don’t really want to think about what would have happened if Patrick didn’t offer that one-act writing class, in return, then we wouldn’t have even been out to eat together discussing what a shame it is that it’s over….which is the very conversation that started the future of our writer’s group. It’s just still so unbelievable.

Looking at my original proposal to the board, I pretty much stuck to it with the exception of a few things because I ended up having to just go with the flow of the group to kind of see where things would be going. That’s why the first show was called “The Experiment” — literally, it was. I had an idea but didn’t know how that idea was actually going to work.

I also had in my mind how each meeting would go and how our first show would go. I will be quite honest, when I had several who said yes they were interested in joining the group from the original class, but didn’t end up joining… I was at a certain level of disappointment. And there were times when there was only up to three of us (due to other obligations, sickness, etc). That was a scary moment for me because I was wondering if I should just let it go if that was the way it was going to be… but then, something magical happened the last few weeks and everyone started showing up or we added members.

Two Sundays before our evening performance, I asked everyone if they could bring their work in so we can time everything as we read through it. When the meeting was over, I was amazed, and proud, because we were actually going to have a full program. I couldn’t believe it. It was really going to happen.

Many weeks ago I started planning party details in my head. I wanted to do a lot… and some of those ideas were so very unnecessary for the first show, so I scaled back… and scaled back my ideas some more… and changed some things, and worked on really knowing what exactly I wanted.. and what I wanted I did do for our night… but everything—and I mean everything—turned out so much better than I could have ever imagined. It was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything better for our first show.


For weeks, I was ridiculously nervous about the show approaching. I mean, this was the first ever that could make or break the program that I wanted to keep going in our theater. I wanted it to work. That last rehearsal was stressful: we worked on time, I cut some of the original work I was going to do and switched it around, and still had one thousand things left to do. My blood pressure was sky-high.

Since I was still running around until the last minute, I had to get dressed at the theater. That was a first for me, because since I haven’t acted there yet, I didn’t know what it was to have to change into performance clothing… and well, I got a quiet moment to experience that.

Everyone from the group showed up around 6pm and they focused on getting the food and chairs set up. It wasn’t until people started coming in the door early and then two mentions of “WE NEED MORE CHAIRS” — that’s the moment I looked up and realized… we were going to be okay, and I took a deep breath… just knowing… we were really truly about to put on a show… and all of my butterflies went away and the stage was mine when it was mine.

I never got to finish what I was trying to say above, but I think that’s all I really needed to say, anyway. Yesterday (Sunday May 6th) we (GCP Writer’s Group) had our first meeting back after taking 3 weeks off. Some of the original members and attendees were there, and so I asked them what was a success and what we could do better… there wasn’t much to add to ‘better’ other than let’s improve on the lights, have a tech rehearsal or a couple of rehearsals beforehand. And the major success was…. people really did show up and even though this was my first show it didn’t look like it. I am so happy. I still smile then tear up just thinking about it. I still can’t believe it actually happened. A major dream of mine was checked off. Pinch me?

My group is growing and so are my ideas. I have so many ideas that I know I need to keep it toned back until we get stabilized enough that we can do some crazy things. All in due time, though. I am so happy with all of the writers who joined the first semester and I am so happy to have them and newer members joining me for this next semester.

Trial and error will be our teacher…and I am so looking forward to our next masterpiece.

Letting Go of Phantom Tollbooth 


It’s really hard to believe that this past weekend was the end of Phantom Tollbooth, our first JRs production at the Back Door Theater (Gulfport Community Players).

After working backstage for several main stage shows {SOA’16, OTR, PAR, MODI, SOA’17), and really stepping up at Summer One Acts ’17 when J was gone, I was asked to be the stage manager of PTB. After some thought (and realization that I couldn’t work main stage because of my work schedule), I said yes to the JRs program, and I am really glad I did.

Since I had never heard of PTB before, I read through the script twice. Watched several versions on YouTube and then finally watched the movie. Sorry, but after seeing live performances, I could barely make it through the movie. I think I turned it off after 10 minutes.

In the time of this show, I had one absence due to the Tampa boat show and I felt like I missed a years worth of work. I got to put my creative (and scared) hand to work for designing some of the letters on the posters. I used what knowledge I had been given by J, and also learned a whole new set of things that I will use in future kid productions. I also watched in awe about how much some people can give and do for one show.

The biggest thing I learned was that the kids and adult shows are completely different. You never really know what’s going to happen with the kids… I’ve learned that the key to anything is practicing beginning to ending a few times… but given our situation (hurricane, timing for rehearsals during other uses, etc.) we really lost time to practice. So that was out of our hands, but I thought that Saturday’s show was amazing. At the very end Ms Director turned around to me and said, “Are you crying? That’s my job!” Oh yeah, I definitely was.

Anyone remember how emotional I was during the Summer One Acts of 2016? My first show ever with GCP after a 12 year absence of theatre? I think I knew at that point I had become involved in something so special that I would do anything and everything to continue. That’s how it felt at the end of Phantom. An ending to a beautiful and successful beginning.

Many of you know I’m not really a kid person, just because I’m not around them much, but these kids were awesome and they didn’t bother me at all. I really loved working with all of them, and getting to know some of the parents too. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this group, and I really hope I can work with all of them in the future… bright things are ahead for each and every one of them. I know that for sure.

PS: I am eventually going to write a play about the magic pencil. That thing was wicked cool.

PSS: WORDS WILL ALWAYS BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN NUMBERS. (Except for number 3, 7, and 13…. now you know where I stand. Ha!) 


It was really weird working a show that was coinciding with main stage, but I did get to watch it, luckily. Like I wrote on my Facebook page, I loved it. I loved it times a million zillion. The message was beautiful, and I knew that I was meant to be there at that very day just for the last song’s message. I loved the music and the lyrics and just everything about this original musical. I really do want the soundtrack. Oh and must mention one more time that B’s outfits were amazing. The whole thing was just beautiful. I really hope Letting Go makes it big.

Other things while I am here 

Holy cow it’s been busy.

  • I never reported on how awesome the writing class was from a while ago, but it was awesome.…. and I have another finished play, plus some exciting news when I can share.
  • Helped with Breaking the Code auditions. That was very fun, as always!
  • I was given a couch from the theatre (I practically asked the universe for this last year during Parfumerie when I fell in love with the set and wanted to take it home. Finally, it was my turn.) This couch is like magic… it’s the center of the room’s attention now. I’ve moved my entire place around just to suit it. It completes the place.
  • Finally went to a film society meeting after about 3-5 months.
  • I am leaving my 2nd job to become full time at the marine company at the end of this month.
  • My brand BoatShowGirl has been hit/miss the last few months… I’ve had some opportunities to pop up but haven’t had a chance to get to them yet. That’ll change soon.
  • I haven’t had the chance to work on my Pirate Gypsy Soul brand but look for it the next few months. There are several things I want to do—including finding my way of Wicca/etc, meditation, universe/dream boards, and studying/practicing/learning to be more of a clairvoyant psychic. I have jewelry projects that go along with this as well.
  • I’m also doing some serious gravitating towards becoming more 1920s gypsy pirate woman… wanting to dress like, the taste, the music, and just wanting to give up everything except that. It’s going to take a while, but there’s something magical about magick.
  • We’re gearing up for Peter Pan to start the first of December!
  • The St Pete Boat Show is also happening that same weekend. I’ll be there as BSG.
  • I’m sure there’s more, but I cannot think of them right now.

I hope all of you are doing good, and hopefully it won’t be months before I write again!

Love Always, 
Karen Maeby 

Summer One Acts 2017

[ note: part two will come after the show is actually over] 

Aloha Everyone! 

It just doesn’t seem real that we’re nearly two weeks away from the ending of my favorite show of our theatrical calendar. I’m trying my best to not dry heave some heavy tears that I’m sure will fall the last weekend, just like last year, but this year…. is a little different.

Today was that normal Saturday of hell week where the backstage people meet at the Backdoor to put all of the stuff on the truck and take it over to the Catherine Hickman. Walking in the green room–it just felt so big for a moment–and walking out on stage… here we go again..the heart – pitter patter pitter patter and a moment of happiness calming my soul. After not having worked two shows (which was about 2-3 months maybe), it felt great to be back, and I had my usual strong sense of ‘I really do belong here.’

Another amazing feeling was also to be able to quickly put things where they needed to go, do what needed to be done, and be done…until tomorrow’s tech day where I’m sure half of the things will change. Last year I was just too new to know any of this stuff. (PLUS! It helped me to pretty much say let’s get everything packed after Wednesday’s performance, pushed near the door, and ready for Saturday instead of putting it off for another day!)  

I don’t think I actually mentioned this at all on my blog, but back in May–during the auditions–it was my one year anniversary with the Gulfport Players. [By the way, I still think there needs to be a party. Can we make that happen? haha cast party…and yes, I do make a big deal of anniversaries for things I am extremely passionate & care about. So there.] 

It doesn’t feel like a year at all but what an incredible one it has been starting with SOA’16 then hopping into Over the River, Parfumerie, Modigliani, then taking a break for two plays and now we’re at SOA’17. Each one of those plays have had some significance to me, and I’ve written about all of them on my blog.

At SOA’17 auditions: I knew almost everyone walking in the door, and it felt super comfortable to work the front desk after getting experience from a few  other plays. (That’s one of my favorite jobs there. Auditions are literally a way of life…. it’s a large family reunion that’s for sure.) 

At SOA’17 house rehearsals: I remembered props from previous years, so I was able to suggest those, or find them to use. I knew where a lot of things were to go and get it ahead of time. I also created a no-nonsense plan on how to keep tabs of everything in each show, and it deemed successful.

I have learned so much throughout the year by working the shows and working around who I have, and that’s just the technical part. Not to mention, some of the personal things I said last year as we were setting stuff back up on stage–I made those changes in my life, and I’m working on even more.

Last year I worked SOA’16 with only weeks away from my 30th birthday. It was such an I’m-working-the-show-as-29-years-old-but-almost-30th amazing 30th year for me: I met my favorite person and allllllllllllllllllllll of my favorite people (not people, MY THEATRE FAMILY) of which I love very, very, very, very, very much! I’ve drawn so much inspiration from all of this and all of you (in poetry, writing or art), learning what I did with the shows, and just every experience in between. The cast parties, meeting outside of the theatre, hanging out together sometimes – all of that – just fabulous! I’ll never forget!

Did I mention SOA’16 was my first year back after being out of the theatre world for 12 years?


That’s why it was so special. That’s why I was so emotional by the end, because–even though there were goals throughout the first half of my 29 years and down–nothing has ever compared to what happened after I joined GP.

Once I crossed ‘join theatre once again’ off my goals/dreams list, I went on and marked up to 100 more off my list in this 30th year! That’s the fastest I’ve ever hit goals and that many! We’re even talking about crossing some stuff off my high school dreams list that were still open, too! It was my returning to theatre that helped me advance my life to try to take control and make it exactly what I want it to be no matter what. I knew I belonged, it just took me 12 years (and that exact perfect timing) to make it all happen. Goals are so much easier to obtain, I’m no longer shy about getting what I want and putting myself out there to try all the new things. There are words and then there are no words… that’s exactly how I feel…and I’m not often speechless.

I want to shout out to everyone I have met because of the players. YOU GUYS are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and I cannot wait until we work more shows together. I’m so grateful that I came to the Gulfport Players “ONE YEAR AGO” and started helping out. I have never met such an incredible group of people who claim each other as home, and I mean that in a way that never will you ever find a group like this one. I am thankful. 

PS – I’ve been taking walks every night that we’re not at rehearsal late or that I’m not doing anything. This photo I took one evening of the sunset just gleaming over the Catherine Hickman. I nearly screamed out, “It’s like the world knows we’re going to be there next week.”

next week’s secret 7.1.17

the “atmosphere, world, sky” knows a secret
and Mother Earth said that it was okay to tell me…
i was in the middle of the road–

and the music stopped in my headphones,
that’s when i heard a whisper
‘look over here child’ and i did

” we’re going to be here next week!! ”
i smile, as i took a picture,
and continued walking down the street

i think we’ve been blessed,
nothing is as holy as having a sunset
light your place on fire with ten thousand colors

magic was dropped off somewhere inside,
get ready for that ride
our show will be creating stars at night

Love Always, Karen Maeby 


An Ode to Modi (the blog entry + poem)

Normally I would wait until after the play is over to write something up, but I feel as if I need to do it right now–at this exact moment–as my feelings are very present.

I don’t know if it’s because of the way we have three stages set up, or that it’s at the Gulfport Player’s home base, or that it’s a different kind of play (about art with nudity and language and just different), or that we almost break a 4th wall in there somewhere, but my gawd, I am so glad that I ended up working this backstage!!!

There is just something magical about Modigliani being performed at GP’s Backstage theatre. I just can’t express it enough.

I’ll be truthful here–I’m very much into art but I’ve never really been into artists, per se. I know what I like when I see it, but I couldn’t really name some artists if my life depended on it. But I can appreciate the hell out of a play about an artist that I didn’t really know much about, if anything. It’s almost like watching one of those old PBS TV shows a looooooong long super long time ago about composers when I was very much into music. And, I LOVED THOSE! So much! Which isn’t a surprise when I say I love a good play about an artist!

We artists (painters, writers, creative folk, etc) we go through lots of crazy things and crazy feelings and chaos and just everything in the world to become good, to become something, to get noticed, to live life the way we want to before life just takes over and all the craziness ensues. This is exactly this play, regardless if it really happened or not–this is how it usually ends up. And the person ends up going half batshit crazy right before something magical happens that they get noticed, or they’re noticed after they’re dead. Unfortunately. It is the life of the artist.

I took in watching from the audience’s point of view a few nights–before I had to be backstage–and the liveliness of the play (and the characters being put to life by our wonderful actors) is just pure magic. I just can’t say it enough. I love the three stages set up, and being so close to the audience. When I sat in the audience, I sat in the front row and I felt like I was a friend to the characters, or I was someone at the park just watching all of this happen.

Pure crazy, I say! I don’t want to say what happens in the play because I want to encourage EVERYONE to come out to the Backdoor Theatre in Gulfport and see this…

THURS, FRI, SAT @ 8PM AND SUNDAY AT 2PM. Tickets $18 online, $20 at the door.


Oh, and a poem:

An Ode to Modi
by Karen Maeby © 2.1.17

chaos ensues
at the rupture of color—
thin lines, thick lines, painting, sculpting. 

a sick individual’s soul
dies within his own art,
as he never lets a bottle leave his hand.

an apron:
finding the need to be draped around
his neck, her neck, someones.

his friend:
withholding a chicken
to squeeze a little art out of his cheeks.

he’s no longer suited
to be the one who represents
and he sets himself up for—

truth be told
in the midnight hour of two a.m.
a song bursts out in flames.

emotions emerge from the dinner
where a proper gentleman sits,
interrupted by the king.

art is art is art!
but his—it takes an eternity—
to only be bought to be replaced.

she packs her bag
and leaves,
blowing his last candle out.

chaos ensues
leaving him to nothing
but himself, a masterpiece within.

I bid farewell to Parfumerie.

At last, there will be no more Christmas music, no more mention of Christmas, and no more looking at Christmas anything (except for the fact that my tree is still up here at home). I will explain later why I am severely glad that part is over.

The cast/crew of Parfumerie are all beautiful people–made up of new faces, same faces from Summer One Acts, and ones I’ve just never met but everyone else knew. Everyone’s very talented and I am so happy to have been a part of it. OH and since this was my 3rd time to help backstage, I finally got my GP Tech shirt that I lovelovelovelovelove soooooooo much! 

The stage design–if I had a house–that is exactly how I would want at least my parlor to look like: pink, with a poof seat, shadow box, lots of glitter, perfume bottles, a chandelier, and the like. Perfection! Needless to say, I LOVED IT.

The story itself is a sweet story. Most people in the millennial age would know You’ve Got Mail to be the 2nd rendition of this story with Shop Around the Corner being right before that one. I’m glad I was introduced to Parfumerie in this way as a play. It has two overlying stories about the shop owner and then about two shop clerks but at the end it’s a love story. That’s as much as I want to say without giving it away.

If you had no idea about Parfumerie but you’ve seen You’ve Got Mail you would definitely pick it out at the end just like I did. I’m like, “I SEE IT. I TOTALLY SEE YOU’VE GOT MAIL!”

And now… is the part where I explain that this play just isn’t a play to me, it’s a little piece of life. 

It’s funny–that. This same weekend nine years ago I was still working at my first job in retail and we were completely closing the store down. I often referred to You’ve Got Mail — big bad Fox books large retailer taking over the mom&pop ‘shop around the corner’ — and I would look to this movie over and over for answers about my future… of where I was going to go, what I was going to do, and so on once our store closed.. and oddly enough, this same week THIS year, I have been asked that again in a different circumstance, and once again, I am so up in the air. None of this is by coincidence. It’s the universe sending signals of some sort, and I need to figure out out. I need to actually have answers this time. It’s all too funny that the same message comes back around nine years later but in a totally different way. 

The director of Parfumerie had a talk with everyone prior to opening show and he said that “everyone has a story”. I keep seeing that everywhere. It’s a sign. I need to run with this. It’s relative to what I’m trying to do in my life, and for my projects, especially my BoatShowGirl stuff. Now, he was actually talking about the characters but it’s for real life too. When I think about our characters (customers) in this show, I remember my favorite customers when I worked at that job before I left, and what ever happened with them. There was this cute little Jewish couple that would come in late and try on shoes, there was a lady with long gray hair, there was another one that always wore skirts, there was one crazy lady that gave me her phone number, and the one guy that came in to buy a shirt. There were several others but those memories have since faded. Some of our decorations in this play reminded me of our themed Christmas one year of “Shake Your Goodys” of which I still have some of the souvenirs at my parent’s house.

And, if anyone wondered what happened to me after our store officially closed, I got another retail job inside the mall and then left that for another job a few months later in the outdoor mall just down the street. I never had any regular customers after that, I never saw any of them again, and there was never another “staff like family” like there had been at my first job. At least I knew in my heart of all hearts that those were the good days and I took it all in before it was gone, but I also knew it was time to say goodbye.  

I finally introduced my Eisenhower to theatre last night, and must I say, he really truly enjoyed meeting everyone and listening to the show from backstage. For those who didn’t see him, his shell was raised up the entire show, and that’s how you know he’s paying attention. I know that he appreciates the kindness that came everyone because he didn’t hide and wasn’t scared. And I appreciate all of you for acting kind towards him, and asking questions. I’m extremely proud to be raising a hermit crab with experiences in the human world. 🙂

I’ve said very little to anyone about this but it was incredibly hard to work a show that continued with Christmas 4 weeks past when it should’ve been boxed up and a love story unraveling right in front of my face. This Christmas someone that I trusted, knew on a soulful level, and loved very deeply shoved the largest knife right into my heart straight down to the core where I am bleeding for all eternity, cut my heart into little tiny pieces and spit me away just like I never meant anything to them. I am still hurting, and will be hurting for a really long time. Some people were meant to be loved, and some, well, are like me.

Thank you to everyone in Parfumerie for making my third show amazing. Thank you also for the weird mental picture moments today because it’s well worth it to remember. Until the next show, I bid thee farewell my sweets. 

Always, Maeby

The Theatrical Art of Boat Shows

For my BoatShowGirl readers, there’s one thing that you should know: my life is split into two–the marine industry and all of the arts. Tonight I helped out at the front desk with auditions for our next upcoming play, and upon leaving those auditions, something donned on me. Boat Shows are purely an art form set up in theatre mode. It’s not that I didn’t already know, but I just didn’t know how to put it into words until tonight. Then, it all made sense.

I mean seriously though, think about it.

What do you need in a play?
{writing} Time. Location. Character Description. Plot.
{acting} Talent. Practice. Stage design. Props.
{performances} Audience.

The time and location is when the boat show event is going on.

The web presence online or in paper form explains your character description prior to the boat show.

The plot is selling boats or our merchandise, making new connections, and having new experiences.

We–the industry employees–are the talent.

Doing your job every day at your normal job site is the practice you need to prepare for the show.

The stage design is how you set up your booth visually.

The props are what you’d bring to sell (boats/merch), marketing material and freebies.

And, your customers are what would be the audience.

When a customer walks into your booth they are instantly reading your story. When you interact with that customer you will learn their story. It is pure dialogue–an exchange of words–and the entire experience can be written into an art form of some sorts. And, when it’s all over, there’s the last celebratory dinner before going home (the cast party) not to mention to mentally prepare for the next boat show (when you go to auditions once again)

I bid farewell to Over the River and Through the Woods.

Last night we closed out Over the River and Through the Woods at the Catherine Hickman Theater. This is the first play that the Gulfport Players put on for this season. I wasn’t in it, but I helped backstage, so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks or so. Easy set and small cast, not anywhere close to the Summer One Acts (the first production I helped out with).

If you didn’t see the play, I will share an “almost spoiler” synopsis.

Basically, (the remaining) grandson Nick lives close enough that he sees all of his Italian grandparents every Sunday night for dinner. The play is based around news that Nick has to share about him getting a dream job offer—of which—will move him away from them. His grandparents try to keep him there by inviting Caitlin—a single woman—over to meet him, in hopes he’ll change his mind. In the end, he leaves anyway, and he eventually has what his grandparents call a great life. However, he did it his way, instead of their way, and all of the feels never escape their extra warm, toasty house.

There were many funny moments, and some really sad moments. There’s a line in there that Caitlin says about the grandson being grown and being able to sit down at dinner with all of his grandparents. Like Caitlin, I have no grandparents left. I lost my last, best and most closest grandma when I was 16. Even though I’ve always been an old soul, and appreciated my time with her when I had it, I know that the memories I made then wouldn’t be the same ones I’d be making today if she were here. I’d see it from a different perspective. I’d learn things. I’d have history. I’d have a role model. I’d have so much. There would still be a staple in my family, something that ties everyone together, like it had been before everyone grew up and went their separate way miles apart.

Over the River is just such a great play to put on these days due to the message that lays between the surface. Say, it’s like this — your great or grandparents (before Generation X) might have had their spouses chosen for them and they had to learn to love what they had, instead of who they individually loved and wanted to choose. Depending on how Generation X grew up, it could be they followed their parents footsteps or it began then that they made their own life. And the generations after that (Millennials) we have a totally different take on life—which is where the Nick lands.

There’s a huge understanding that through each generation, the one before wants the next one to have an easier and better life than they ever had. Maybe they didn’t understand at the time what was going on and why, but they later realize. Not only that, but they had what they had in life and that was it. No expectations. If they had a car, home, family—they were doing good—dreams were too far to reach… it seemed.

I moved away from home. I’m still miles away from my parents, who live in the same state they’ve lived in (almost) their entire life. Their happiness is not my happiness and vice versa. Over the River helped me understand where they came from, but it’s that whole part of things change. And some people are so scared of change. I’ll admit, I’m scared of when things stay the same for too long. I fear life becoming so boring and stale when life is so short as it is and there’s an entire world to explore in such a short time. I do wish I could see my parents more than once a year, especially when there’s a grand-crab involved, and a chance for them to see the life I have built for myself.

My favorite scene of the entire play was where the grandparents are playing a trivial game with Nick. The way it came together was genius. The heart wrenching scene is when one of the grandpa’s chose not to let his grandson know his news, so that he could accept his job opportunity, and not have anything holding him back from ‘doing the right thing.’

When the show was over, we tore everything down, packed it up, and we took it back to the Backdoor Theater…. then headed to the cast party where they had Italian food. Just without the crumb cake (a food that was mentioned during act I).

As my souvenir I took a mass card (one of the props that was used several times throughout the show) and the cast/crew were given the comedy/tragedy mask pin. I also believe that those of us who have it MUST wear it to every show in the future for good luck. I’m superstitious now, especially since the director said something about it too!

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to those who came and supported the show! Especially all of the theatre family — it was like a family reunion between running into each other in the lobby and at the new auditions!

I bid thee farewell to a great cast and show. Now, it’s time for the next one — Parfumerie, of which, one of my favorite movies You’ve Got Mail is based up on.

Table read of six
at the Backdoor Theater:
Over the River & Through the Woods


When the words being spoken
by the characters
hit too close to home.

9.12.16  ~ Karen Maeby

Welcome back to the theatre.

If waiting twelve years to come back to theatre meant I’d get to meet everyone who I met, it was well worth the wait. I fully believe that timing is everything, and everything happens for a reason. 

I attempted to come back to the theatre about 3 years ago, but I ended up being way too busy. However, this year I decided it was time. I was on the search for something that was missing from my life. I went to the auditions, stuck around even when I wasn’t required to be there, worked when I needed to and stuck it out every single rehearsal and every single performance. This was certainly the missing piece to my life’s puzzle.

Working with the Gulfport Community Players has easily become one of my favorite things I’ve ever done, especially when a passion so deep has become ignited once again with the most desirable fire. I was a little afraid in the beginning that I wasn’t going to be good enough to help (because of my long absence) but that was far from the truth. I even ended up being the announcer for the cast calls at the end of each act. Saying “Thank you and a final good night” had a deeper meaning than anyone could imagine. I blew out my candle (thank you) / until next time (final good night). 

Everything came back to me from the days in my junior year when I was in Bye-Bye Birdie and helping behind the scenes with The Real Inspector Hound in my senior year. The inside jokes, the whispers behind stage when something doesn’t go right, the little things that tickled our funny bone during the performances, the hard work that goes into making something so wonderful, the crazy cast parties that automatically come with the ending of a show, and last but not least, the family you become during the process.

My heart was porcelain yesterday for the last performance. The sound was like antique tea cups accidentally being dropped after cleaning them. 

All of these years I’ve been sticking with real life because I’ve believe the truth of it being stranger than fiction. But there’s something important that I had forgotten—with “fiction” you can write anything you want. Being in such a creative setting around some amazing positive energy from everyone has inspired me to pick up a pen once again, and I am writing. Hallelujah! The “everyone from my past has called me a writer but I’m still not sure about that” is actually writing.  

A few comments about the plays…

For Catatonic, the cat had two names, and finally, ended up being called Cat. I once adopted an outdoor cat, striped her of her previous names and called her Cat.

Home Again reminded me of when my parents and I went to my grandma’s old town and to see her house years later after she passed away. My mom asked to see the house, but after seeing it the first time when it was changed, I refused to go back in because I didn’t want my memories of the way my grandma had her house to be erased.

Confession time: Immersion Therapy No one knows this, but I don’t really like clowns, either. and NOT for the reason in the play (hahaha)… The only clown I ever liked was Stitches from Halloween in Gulfport. However, Dropo was an amazing clown, FUNNY(!!!) and I give him two thumbs up for a great performance…..and for also not scaring me.

I might be biased, I might not, and I also might be giving a compliment that’ll make someone’s head not be able to fit through the door, but…. I will publicly display my love over and over for Retired Life. Here’s why: it was intelligently written with subtle hints. Point blank.

When I was watching the plays all the way through for the first time, for the ones that weren’t straight forward, I guessed all the way through the plot and at least half the ending. But Retired Life? Oh no. There are very few and far between stories that I don’t guess (also another reason I have stayed away from fiction for many years), and this was definitely one of them.

I was literally screaming in my mind, “Oh. Wow. I can’t. I just can’t. What the hell just happened here?!?! That was so unexpected. I didn’t guess that one. A writer who stumped me AND one who drops hints in things like I do….” 

So, yeah. There you have it. Over as quickly as it began. There’s no business like show business….

I want to say a big huge thank you to everyone for the cards/gifts, for the hugs, for sharing the wing with [us], for the smiles, for pretending to be shocked when you found out I’m almost 30 (ha!), for writing in my dream journal and giving me lots of hope for tomorrow. For everything. And, for making me really, really stable at the cast party—hahahah! 

I love this world, and I cannot believe I left it. I cannot believe that I walked out on something I loved for so much and for so long those twelve years ago. If there was ever a first dream—it would be to be a writer (then music and theatre)—and I’ve given up so much to put myself in another dream bubble for what I thought I needed or wanted, when all along all I had to do to make this move. This weekend I finally burst that bubble, crawled outside it, and I’m peeking in my own window. I’m wondering what took me so long, how much work it’s going to be and what I’ve got to do to stick to my dreams… because I’ve spoken to a lot of you who said you wish you did this earlier.

From someone who has always followed her own path, the road less traveled, I am ready to succeed in this. I am ready for this thing we call show business. I am ready to be a show girl.

Joining the theatre was my last real achievable goal before I turned 30. If I get nothing else, I will still be completely satisfied. 

Love always & forever,
Karen Maeby 

PS if you didn’t read my poem about the Summer One Acts click here.