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My Body is My Home | Post Show Interview | Origin Story

interview real life stories Aug 09, 2022
Karen Wilson
My Body is My Home | Post Show Interview | Origin Story
18:53
 

Before bringing this show to stage, there was a story, and a unique pathway that organically unfolded through the creative process.

We didn't set expectations anywhere beyond doing our best to express the message behind "My Body is My Home"

The debut exceeded our expectations on every level. We are beyond grateful to TotE Festival here in Salmon Arm British Columbia who provided a stage for our debut. With our self written, directed and produced show we showed up, and they helped us design lights in tech, and rolled out the red carpet in every way.

We wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Shuswap theater was the first place Karen stepped onto stage over a decade ago, and Megan also was cast in one of theiir productions several years later, but neither Karen or Megan have ever before this attempted a show like this.

This blog post includes and is inspired by an interview done by Marcus Smith of the ToTE Festival after our first performance of "My Body is My Home"

The first question was- How did this show come to life?

Karen Jan 28th, I'm in my basement riding our Peloton I heard this song and I thought, geez, that sounds like Megan. Oh, but Megan sing that song nicer. That would be a good song for, you know, the, the show I'm building, whatever that is. And then I had just saw that morning, a post about this festival, looking for people. I texted Megan on Instagram, cuz we hadn't really seen each other in two years.

That's the only place I, where I knew to get ahold of her. I said, Hey, you wanna do a show? Um, and she's like, yeah, sure. Let's do it. And okay. So this was, that was January 24th. (Actually it was January 28th.)

February 4th, 2022 was our first initial brainstorm.

We took  a few of the stories that are written in the book. Then I wrote some other originals. Megan had already,  I want you to talk about that song.

Megan, because that's such a beautiful story, but she had already, it's almost like it's her self written songs. just, everything just matched up. Then we learned a little bit late that we were accepted to the festival and she was up in the Yukon. So we've actually had two in person, three in person rehearsals.

Everything else has been on zoom. That's the first time we were on stage together. So it's, it's pretty.

Marcus Wow.

Karen Except for, the one rehearsal without the set and then the rehearsal with the set that, that said everything else has been living room and, and zoom. Yeah. So, um, I'm, I'm really, I'm really proud of you, Megan.

Megan Likewise,

Marcus That's so great. I mean, so yeah. Can you imagine not doing rehearsals together to do an a stage show? That's that's incredible to me. I mean, thank you for bringing that. Like that's damn, I didn't know better. Like, I would've thought you'd been rehearsing that for months on a stage together. Not, you know, through a screen.

Nice.

Karen Yeah, well, she had a track. I, I gave her a track with all my voice and, and I, I knew the songs and I tried to sing them horribly, just so that, so that I could mark them and, um, uh, my wall and my dog and my husband got to receive it all.

Marcus Going back to, you said that, you know, it just kind of matched up. Did you go through like the book, like page by page and see how that felt with songs or what was your process involved with that?

Karen That's a great question. I had, um, I I've developed a, developed a signature story, which was the first piece that you heard and I, and that's kind of what enveloped a whole period of time.

And, and then I took some of the reader's favorites out of the book and then it was just process of elimination of what worked well and what fit well with the, with the show. But when we showed up for the, the first rehearsal, I had written that first signature story with, um, the last sentence being "I'm not done making you proud dad"

And when  I showed up with Megan and I read that story with her and what happened, Megan?

Megan Well, basically I was just like, wow, I have a song that matches that. Um, and it was the first song that I ever wrote ever. Which was the Papa's song. It was a song I had just kind of started making music around the time that my, I guess it wasn't around the time it was later, but the emotion was still there.

So the first song that I ever wrote on the guitar was that first song in the show about, uh, yeah, my Papa passing away. And it just so happened that. Story her signature story ended by saying "I'm not done making you proud dad". And those are the highlighting lyrics in the first song I wrote, I never thought I would get the chance or feel the need to perform that song.

So it almost kind of just really felt meant to be. Synchronicities were all over the place with the themes in my songs and auntie's stories,

Marcus like that is wonderful. Did you feel a special connection to it because it's your aunt? Like, did you feel like that there was like, you had a different, unique perspective that other people maybe couldn't bring to this project?

Megan Oh,for sure. I think, yeah. I think that kind of like, you know, over time it was maybe always like, meant to be that we do some sort of thing together. Like even my auntie was the first one who encouraged me to sing and told me I had a good singing voice after my grandma once told me that I didn't. So I actually didn't sing for a long time until Auntie told me otherwise, I was like, what the heck?

I thought I had a bad singing voice.

Karen Mom is, mom is awesome. My like, I, I wanted to make sure that I highlighted that my mother. A beautiful, strong warrior, but she had a way of telling us that we had the ABEL frame. We have the ABEL voice wasn't wasn't necessarily a compliment.

Marcus but you know that's spelled, as A B E L not A B L E for everyone that's wondering.

That's great. So how did you use, like, how did you use that knowledge of your aunt in terms of the song process and cuz like, did you, you know, like have some secret stories like, oh, I'm gonna use that one in a song.

Megan Actually most of the songs in there. ..there was only one song that  ..okay ..I guess two kind of that I made specifically for the show.

But all that was the cool thing we are saying. It just matched up and like all the synchronicity is like, she would tell a story. I'm like, oh my God, I have a song. That's basically about that exact same theme. So a lot of it,  most of the songs in there are past written songs. There wasn't a lot that was written for this show was just like the themes that we talk and write about matched up and you know, maybe that's cuz we're aunt and niece and that connection

Marcus Full disclosure. The first time I ever heard about Megan was from Karen, Karen and I did a play together a number of years ago when she was around you must have been 14 or 15, like you were talking about I have this niece. And she's playing guitar and it was wonderful again. I mean, like, it's great to watch you grow as an artist as well. I just wanna say that's, that's such a cool part for me as, as well, you know? Cool. Um, I love that you had all of those songs in the bag already, cause that must have made the writing process so much easier in terms of like trying to stage it and that sort of thing.

Right. You guys obviously have had a really close relationship for a long time. How has it changed since you've worked on the show?

Karen Oh, I, I like, I, I feel like the luckiest auntie in the world, like I sometimes I've, I've felt like distant from my family. And, and I remember I had an aunt and she was a lovely person and I loved her and I always, but she was very distant. And I never wanted to be that aunt that was just around on holidays and I felt like that was beginning to happen. And, um, so it makes me quite emotional. I feel like we've. We've stopped that just by getting involved in, in what we both love together.

Megan Yeah. Connecting through art is pretty cool. And with COVID and stuff like we hadn't even seen each other at all in, in a couple years.

So it really, yeah.

Marcus Okay. So hands up, if you have an auntie that's helped change your life. right, right. Yeah. I mean, our Aunts are so important and this is an incredible re relationship to witness taking place on stage too. It's like, oh, great. You're just gonna show that off for everybody. Eh, but it's, it's such a wonderful thing to model and thank you for doing that.

Um, do we have any questions from the audience right now? Wow. okay.

Barry I have a question.

Marcus So from the guy in the back, yeah. .

Barry So from what I understand, um, you know, one of the things that this show is doing is it's actually bringing together so many parts of your family, where people are spread over the country, andnow you they're all coming together.Through your working together and sharing of your personal family journey. So maybe you could just talk about what that means for your family.

Marcus Did everybody hear that? Wonderful. Could you answer the question?

Karen Oh, yeah. Well, you know, like it's, it kind of comes down to what I said about like "what just happened!?"

Megan's always been a great connector and my mom was a great connector and mom lives all the way on the east coast. And she is like trying to fight to get on an airplane to see the show. And I'm like, mom, wait, we'll come to you. you know, at some point we'll come to you. There's only two of us will make it there, Mom. .

We ended up doing,a zoomhearsal. Um, that was just, you know, for family and

Marcus That's a trademark thing, right? You've trademarked that?

Karen I think I should I think I should. We had it for a lot of the family on the east coast, and then we still have it recorded.

So that was really great because I hadn't performed in front of an audience yet. Megan does it all the time. Right. And so for me, I'm like, oh, I need this.

Marcus And when's the last time you've been on stage?

Karen Uh, when I was on stage with you. Except for the times where I was in training with, with a coach and I could not get outta line without bursting into laughter.

Marcus I was gonna say, cause I mean, I know that you have been coaching people and, and here, do you want me to hold onto that? Are you done holding onto the book? Yeah. No, I don't want your drink. You can have your drink. Is it empty? Oh, you're good. OK. You're good. No, it's all good. It's all. Okay. Um,

Marcus I know you've done a bunch of coaching and, and all that. So do you find it different or similar? Like what's the differences and similarities between being on stage and coaching that you find?

Karen Oh on stage I just, I get to let the audience decide. The audience gets to co-create and through the stories, the goal is, is to be able to connect with emotion. And, and get what you need and, and, and feel from the story. I feel like coaching is almost like you , you have to pull pianos up hills sometimes, you know,

Marcus Pianos up Hills. I have never heard that statement before, and I think I'm gonna, I'm gonna use that. That's amazing.

Karen And, and so, I, I love more to just like, get people fired up, to be their own coach, to actually be able to understand that we are resilient.

We can keep building ourselves over and over again. It doesn't matter how many times we're knocked down, or how crappy we feel about ourselves or our life. There is always a way out. When we choose it. And, and so I hope that, you know, whatever just happened there inspires somebody. If it just inspires one person to, to feel that way. Um, then, then I feel like the work is done. It's just, feels like I'm like the luckiest person in the world right now. I feel so great. I'm, I'm so proud of my niece. 

I know it is something that I was afraid to share, but now I'm okay to share. There's there's a spot in there when I talk about how I, I'm sorry, I didn't call you one last time Dad.

That was 15 years ago today. And I had the chance to talk to my dad one more time, but I was too busy packing for that camping trip. And so I missed it. And, I got the news two days later that I had really missed that opportunity and you don't get it back. So it's a very special. Special moment for, for me right now.

And I'm sure for Megan as well that we're here performing on the 15th. Um, my dad left this earth on the 17th of July 15 years ago. and we get, we get to celebrate his life this way.

Marcus Nice.

Karen So I wasn't brave enough to share that before, but now I feel like I can, cause I thought if I did, I would create anticipation and not be able to deliver.

Marcus So do you feel like you're delivering now?

Karen Yeah.

Marcus that was good. I think we all think so. Yeah. Yeah. Megan do you feel that as well that as well? Like what, what is your connection like on stage? I mean, you do the music thing a lot, right?

Megan Yeah.

Marcus And this is like, I mean, we're wrapping up some family stuff. We've got all this that's love that you have between the two of you.

We have all these other little connections we've talking about bodies. Obviously this is literally the theme of the show we have even gotten there. Yeah. Um, How is this different from going out on stage and playing a gig to doing something like this with your aunt? Can you tell me some of the differences in like the way that you would approach that differently?

Megan It's almost different on like every level. I feel like it, yeah, it felt completely different from what I'm used to, and I've never done a show in this style, like anytime I've ever performed in the past, it's just going up, singing my songs, leaving the stage, but like doing something like this, um, you know, it's, it's more intimate, like being on the stage with my auntie, just like listening to the stories and, um, you know, I was a bit, I was definitely more nervous too. Uh, it's more emotional as well. I would say, um, especially the beginning stories. When we talk about my Papa and stuff like that. So, yeah. I don't know. It's it's just, uh, night and day, I guess.

Marcus Did you ever just catch yourself? Just like listening? You're like, oh crap. I'm supposed to do something now.

Megan Yeah, no  you know what I was, I was on it. I'm like, okay, you know what? I need to nail this. Like, I gotta move my capo around if I'm not ready to start picking when I hear my cue line, like, I don't know. Hopefully I was thinking like, I don't, I hope I don't get too relaxed tomorrow. Like yeah....went pretty smooth last night and then miss a cue tomorrow. So I have to be just as on it. Um, yeah, I was definitely nervous about playing the wrong song at the wrong time and stuff like that at at times, but overall, um, yeah, completely different experience.

Marcus What do you do different in your approach coming to something like this? Like what, what was something that helped you do this over? Going to a gig? Which, I mean, like showing up with songs, you know, with whatever, whatever PA happens to be out there on the day cause let's face that's how doing gigs is sometimes.

Yeah. but you know, you plug in, you're just there it's you and your guitar and some songs, probably a Looper for you as well, right?  But you know, what to expect does it do something different to be on a stage like this, where it's just you and your guitar and it's just you and your aunt how do you get ready for something like that differently?

Megan Oh, well, auntie and I have a whole routine

Marcus Can we hear about it?

Megan Auntie should share this part. I learned it from her and it's something I've never done before,

so, well, it was okay. Okay.

Marcus So secrets are coming out.

Karen I've, I've learned from my mentors. I've been working with the Bo Eason Experience.

Bo Eason was an NFL player. He became  a Broadway star, had his play on 19 years on Broadway. And he has this warmup that he's, he's taught us. And one of the things that I've also learned from him is he says, you know, a pro when they show up early and they're prepared at the theater, I can never get here. Before her and I'm showing up early And so I'm like, she's a star already, she's showing up early. And, and I just think that that's funny because the, the, a lot of times we hear that story from Bo when he was showing up in the, in the locker room. And, and he's like, 

Marcus  Sorry, when you were in the locker room with Bo I am I following this correct?

Karen No, no. Anyways, whatever. OK. I'm gonna move on to the warmup.

Marcus That was a secret. Sorry. Was that not supposed to be shared?

Karen That's ...I've only been there.....

Marcus Stop the camera, please.

Karen When he, when he brings his show onto Broadway. Yeah. I've seen his show and he's in the locker room the whole way. Yeah. So I guess I am in the , but storytelling, um, professional storytelling and. I did it for business to learn how to be a better keynote speaker. Right. And then, this whole thing emerged and it's, it's fantastic. I was taught a warmup from him about how to prepare yourself for the theater, you know, your foot on a rock round yourself. make friends with the seats in the theater while it's still empty and then there's some vocal warmups, Megan's the expert on the vocal warmups. So I actually have been asking her to lead the vocal warmups. So she doesn't know she's part of our sneaky routine until this moment until you asked. So we've kind of formulated our own out of some of the things I've learned and some of the things that she's learned from school and experience that's and from teaching she's a teacher She's now she's actually running camps in the morning and racing out here.

Megan Yeah. Earlier today, in fact. Yes. Yeah.

Marcus And, and to do a show. So she's already worked all morning this morning with seven year olds teaching them music and was it Ukeleles today? 

Megan Yeah. Oh yeah. I little of everything. Yeah.

And that was the end of the recording. The interview went on a bit longer as we thanked everyone for being there and discussed more show dates and times for the show in the future. We look forward to more! If you'd like to find out more about Megan and Karen and/or ook a show please visit our show page

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