I can remember going to two slumber parties in my youth. Maybe there were more, but I was a weirdo and I doubt it. At one point I was pretty consistently referred to as “Freak of Nature,” and nobody wants one of THOSE braiding their hair.
Once in 6th grade a few of us went to this girl’s llama farm for a slumber party and we watched “The Other Sister” and afterwards I announced I hated donuts, which was a lie. The next morning we had donuts for breakfast and I had to sit and watch everyone eat them. I’m pretty sure I know why that memory sticks out to me. (THE LESSON I LEARNED WAS TO NEVER TELL A LIE).
The other sleepover was hosted by myself, and I was dared to pull my pants down and turn around in a circle three times while saying “I’m Madonna, I’m Madonna.” After that I went to my bed and read a book alone while everyone watched “Pet Sematary.”
Naturally, I grew up and wrote a play about girls at a sleepover, and one of them flies into a murderous rage, because I have some sort of childhood psychological something to fulfill / repair.
Also, I wrote this play because Alicia Barnatchez was delightfully pregnant and I thought it would be silly to place that beautiful expectant body of hers in a teenage slumber party situation. I feel really weird about that sentence, but seriously, the first time I saw her in the full glory of her pregnancy I was stunned. Never have I seen a woman carry a child so gracefully, so luminously. On top of that, she’s one of the funniest performers I know. I always feel safe with her onstage.
Alicia, Emma, Caitlin and I made up the lady component in the Annoyance NY’s first graduating class. We’ve all known each other for just over a year and we have had a great time growing together as performers, so it wasn’t hard to write bawdy characters for a few gutsy ladies that have faked demon hell orgies together. And then Annie Donley said she’d direct it and it became a real thing. If I ever have a baby like Alicia did, I would like for Annie Donley to direct it. I am obsessed with Annie Donley. If anyone wants to get together and talk about it over coffee lmk.
I thought we were going to do our show a couple times, Alicia was going to have her baby, and we would all move on to the next thing. But, its a fun show and we were asked to expand it a bit, and perform it at the end of April- which was realllllly close to Alicia’s due date.
Due to false labor pains and a case of hobbit feet, we didn’t have a chance to rehearse the new script all together until the day of the actual show. Which was terrifying for me. Everyone else was totally cool with it. How do you people relax? What’s the damn secret? I am so lucky to be surrounded by cool chicks who are not as neurotic as I am.
By the time we all got together to rehearse, around 3:30pm, the baby was fumbling with the keys to unlock the door, but Alicia hauled her pregnant ass all the way up to Times Square anyway. We even choreographed a dance.
We did the show, it was a blast, and Alicia’s water broke in the cab on the way home- just a few minutes after leaving the theatre. Baby Oliver took the stage the very next morning.
People put up shows in unusual and imperfect situations all the time. That’s one of the fun things about a live performance. And you know what else people do all the time? Back out of shit last minute. NOT ALICIA BARNATCHEZ. This lady is the boss. So think about her the next time you “don’t feel like it.”
Back in March, when Alicia was somewhere between 8 and 9 months pregnant, our improv team, Sweet Valerie High, performed at the PIT’s NYC Improv Festival. When Michael Condon inevitably picked her up and began to carry her around the rest of us cleared the sides of the stage like a hockey team. She didn’t bat an eye, of course, because she’s fearless, trusting and unusually easy going.
We got a run of the show, so we will be performing it every Saturday night at the Annoyance in Brooklyn. Our first rehearsal after Alicia had her baby started on the floor, as we laid there and listened to her tell the four of us about the hours after she left the theatre that night. I couldn’t help but think that it felt sort of like a sleepover, this time surrounded by women I admire and love to goof around with.
From the sounds of it, Oliver is just as laid back as his mom. And I’m sure he will grow up to be just as committed, courageous and hilarious as well.