Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 16, Issue 42
Polly Frost shares her past with humor in a one-woman show
By HAYLEY THOMAS
NYC writer/performer Polly Frost knows that her one-woman show We Only Get One Father—So Why Was I Given Mine? sounds like a bit of a downer.
The title alone conjures up thoughts of neurotic hand wringing and emotional naval gazing. Let me assure you, it’s anything but. Instead, Frost’s show is a poignant mix of belly laughs and soul-searching truth: A spoonful of sugar followed by a shot of strong medicine. The performance takes place Jan. 10 at 3 p.m. at Buttonwood Winery in Solvang.
“The question posed in the title is sort of a karmic joke,” Frost said. “It’s really about what it’s like to have a completely narcissistic, self-centered father who put himself before everything—but it’s not about dumping on the audience.”
Frost’s father passed away recently, and since then, the writer has delved deeper into her childhood experiences and most intimate memories. Although there is turmoil, there is also universal humor. Who among us doesn’t know what it’s like to love a difficult person? Who hasn’t laughed in the face of such a conundrum? What else can you do but laugh in your darkest moments of despair and confusion?
“My autobiographical shows aren’t stand-up comedy—there’s a lot of humor in them, but I like to combine that humor with observations about life that are philosophical, sociological, and spiritual,” Frost said.
The show is Frost’s fourth to date, and might be her most personally rewarding and surprising yet. Early in the writing process, Frost’s husband urged her on, suggesting that the “art gods” would be disappointed if she didn’t take her bushel of lemons and make some damn good lemonade.
So that’s exactly what she did.
“Audiences can relax knowing that it’s not a grueling account of a terrible childhood,” Frost said. “In fact, I had a remarkably wonderful childhood and I spent my high school and college years having a blast during the late ’60s and early ’70s in Santa Barbara.”
Before the artist went on to become a successful freelance writer, publishing her work in the The New Yorker and various newspapers, and writing plays and books, she was just a freewheeling kid looking for adventure. Although times have changed since those “free love” days, Frost still finds time to travel between the East Coast and her old stomping grounds of Santa Barbara.
“I’ve performed all over the country, but what I really love are these quirky, intimate venues, and Buttonwood Winery is certainly one of them,” Frost said. The performance will take place inside, and wine will be available for sipping and sharing.
Oh, and you have been warned: If you miss this show, you will miss it forever. Frost doesn’t believe in recording performances for YouTube or even posterity. Every show is a singular experience, and anything can—and often does—happen.
When you ask big, human questions with humility and fearlessness, the risks and the glory are magnified. Frost knows this, yet wades deep into the tumultuous waters of love, forgiveness, resourcefulness, and nature versus nurture with vulnerability and childlike curiosity.
This is where her magic lies.
“Being able to take something that was essentially very difficult and turn it into something that audiences find to be a lot of fun is just amazing,” Frost said. “People come up to me laughing, saying they can relate to the show, and that means everything to me.”
Hayley Thomas is making Arnold Palmers with her lemonade. Contact her at email@example.com.
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