Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 12, Issue 42
Laughing and crying over familyHumor writer Polly Frost takes her insight from the page to the stage in her one-woman show
By SHELLY CONE
Family is a funny thing, no matter what family you come from. That’s the basic premise of Polly Frost’s one-woman show Surviving Your Adult Relationship with Your Family, playing one night in mid-January at Casa Cassara Winery in Buellton—though Frost goes much deeper than witty quips in her humorous look at the family dynamic and how it changes during adulthood.
The evening with Frost involves her sharing her perspective in a no-holds barred—but clean—humorous approach. She warned that her show is not a stand-up comedy bit.
“I’m middle aged. I do sit-down comedy,” Frost quipped.
Her show is about looking past the easy laughs and really delving into family dynamics, which she said change as you grow older.
“People divorce, people marry, sometimes the people you love marry people you hate,” she explained.
Frost comes from what she calls a very “divorced” family, which gives her a lot of material for her show. She said she provides survival tips in a time when the only way people are taught to survive is through lots of therapy. As an aside, she adds that she’s had therapy, but only because she moved to New York where it’s kind of the thing to do.
Frost is a humor writer who grew up in Santa Barbara but now lives on the East Coast. She’s been published in the likes of the New Yorker, The New York Times, and the Atlantic. Her humor was selected for both of the New Yorker’s “best humor” anthologies: Disquiet, Please! and Fierce Pajamas. She’s published two humor books—With One Eye Open and Deep Inside—and her one-act play, The Last Artist in New York City, was selected for Best American Short Plays 2008-2009. Her humor was also selected for last year’s anthology, Humor Me, edited by Ian Frazier.
Most of her humor has been fiction, but when she decided to create her one-woman show, she decided to make it real.
“I wrote my show because I’ve discovered that no matter how much you’ve come to terms with your childhood—no matter how much therapy you’ve had—it won’t prepare you for the surprising ways in which your adult relationship with your family can change,” she said.
Having written for actors and having craved that same audience interaction for herself, Frost decided to pen something she could perform. She presented her show at the same café that was the birthplace of shows like The Vagina Monologues. Originally, the show was something she thought she’d share with just friends, but they encouraged her to go further, so she decided to take it across the country.
“I just feel like we’re in the age of the Internet and social networking,” she said. “I realized that live performance is so important. Now it’s more important than ever to connect with someone in person.”
The experience has been amazing—and a little frightening at times. During her stop in Louisville, she realized the community was strongly Catholic, and she worried about some of the Catholic jokes in her show. Looking out at the audience, she saw a sea of well-dressed conservatives, but they laughed the hardest at the very jokes she thought would fall flat.
Her biggest fears in taking her thoughts to the stage from the written page have primarily been similar to her fears in Louisville: fear that the content would be taken the wrong way. Frost said she’s never been nervous about performing. She said these days she’s used to getting a variety of reactions from audiences.
“People actually cry during it, too,” she said. “They laugh and cry, and they laugh and they cry. The first time I saw people cry in the audience, I thought ‘Nooo,’ but after, people came up to me and said ‘I love it.’”
Frost said she’s excited to bring her show to Casa Cassara because it’s an intimate platform and she can really connect to the audience.
“Also, what goes better than wine and laughs?” she asked.
Arts Editor Shelly Cone has a family and is an adult. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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