Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Thursday, May 07, 2009

SOS Players

You may remember my post awhile ago about SOS Players, the theatrical outreach group that Angela is involved with. So far, Angela is the only actor in the troupe who has a disability, but that doesn't stop her from participating! Tonight was their showcase performance. There were kids doing monologues, and others doing skits. Like last year, Angela did a dialog with Andy, the artistic director. I'm so proud of  her!

All of the kid's monologues address social issues. There are some talking about cancer, a pesky sibling, a favorite stuffed animal, or someone's hopes and dreams. Angela's dialog is called "Puzzle Pieces", and was about a social issue that she, unfortunately, has to face on occasion. If you listen CLOSELY, you can hear the audience reaction to that dreaded word.

After the show, Angela was invited by Sue Oberg, the executive director, to perform her dialog at the upcoming open house next week, along with several of the senior troupe. Angela is very excited to have the honor of being invited to this event! 

Sue and I have become very good friends over the past couple of years, even since she contacted me about having one of my dogs perform in a large stage production of "Seussical the Musical", which ended up being Angela's introduction into theater. A couple of months ago Sue wrote a lovely letter of recommendation for Angela, that I'd like to share here. (TISSUE ALERT!

To Whom It May Concern,

I first met Angela when I was directing a production at the Phipps Center for the Arts. Angela attended rehearsals with her mom, Leah. Leah was the dog owner/trainer for the dog in the production. Angela became an immediate favorite of everyone in the cast. She had a sincere delight for every rehearsal she watched. She knew all the music and knew every character by name. With 55 in this production that was no easy task. She was always quick with a smile and a greeting as people arrived and when they left for the night. I was impressed with the genuine kindness and friendship that she gave to all. I often wondered if she would become tired of watching the rehearsal night after night. But her behavior was exemplary. Her enthusiasm was contagious and she became an intricate part to the production staff. After 8 weeks of rehearsal and 4 weeks of performances the production came to an end.

At the time I was also the Executive Director for the SOS Players, Inc. We had recently added a new company of younger children. I asked Leah to bring Angela to an audition. I saw this as a perfect match and hoped it would give Angela a chance to not only support a cast, but be on stage herself. I knew she had a strong desire to be an actor. I thought SOS could help her achieve her dream. Angela was the perfect match. I was excited to see her blossom and grow under the direction of the SOS Artistic Staff and interns. Each child in the company works on their own monologue for a performance at the end of the year. Not being to sure what Angela’s abilities would be, I asked her mom to write a monologue for her daughter. She wrote a monologue on the story of Angela’s birth. It was a beautifully written, simple story that brought tears to everyone, every time Angela presented the piece. Our academic intern had a special connection with Angela. He knew her from the earlier production but also grew up with an older brother who had special needs. There was an instant trust between these two. So to make Angela’s first experience on stage positive, we put our intern on stage, and he told the story with Angela. I have been involved in theatre for over 30 years and never in my life have I seen such a moving performance. Yes, every adult in the theatre had tears in their eyes but every child (age 6-12) understood how special this moment was. It was a big moment for Angela as she jumped up and down with her success and hugged the intern at the end of the story.  Did Angela achieve her dream of being on stage? Absolutely. But the real gift that night was what Angela gave to us. This young girl in a short presentation taught us all about compassion, understanding and that if you are positive and work hard anyone can achieve their dreams. 

Angela continues on with SOS and we look for her every Thursday.


Googsmom said...

{{{{{{ANGELA}}}}}} Super job!!!

Monica said...

AWESOME JOB ANGELA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kimberly said...


(And the performance and Sue's letter was a 4-tissue moment for me, very awkard at the office. But worth it to see such an amazing girl perform!)

Shelley said...

Great job Angela!!!!

Leah, you have to let us know BEFORE the video that we need a tissue!
It is interesting though how you could hear a *gasp* from the crowd when Angela said the word....yet many of them probably hear it all the time from their peers and never think twice about it.

Sheila said...

Wow Angela ... you did a fantastic job on your monalogue! I am really proud of you! Thank you for sharing it!

Stephanie said...

O-M-G!!! I am a blubbering I gotta go get Joey so he can watch it.


Kathie Brinkman said...

Angela--I'm so proud of you and I know you are proud of yourself. Way to go girl! We still want to come see your Pirate room.

Stephanie said...

Joey and his friend just watched it!

When Angela said "Retard" his friend gasped. He totally knew it was wrong and it hit him hard to hear it. He continued to tell me a story about how his sister stood up to someone who was bully another kid and said "I am gonna be like that and stick up for kids, that is not a nice word and people shouldn't say it"

Obviously this 3 minute clip has an effect....who do we need to send it to....maybe we should make a list.
Ben Stiller is at the top of mine.

For the Love of Emily said...

as usual.. it made me trying to teach emily grace about Down syndrome.. its cute to hear her try to say it. GREAT JOB Angela
Debbie & Emily Grace

Courtney said...

GREAT JOB Angela!!!!!!

SunflowerMom said...

Fabulous job, Angela!!!