Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 15
Family lifeEnjoy some wine and hear a few tips on surviving your family from a veteran who survived hers
BY SHELLY CONE
You may not know Polly Frost now, but after seeing her one-woman show, you will. More than that, you’ll recognize your own family when you hear her talk about hers: the relatives who are dear to you, the ones who are related, and the ones who are there through marriage. The ones who make you laugh, support you, tear your hair out, annoy you, make you hate, and the ones who make you hurt without even knowing it.
If that at all sounds like your family, you’re in luck—Frost has a few tips for you in her one-woman show, aptly titled How to Survive Your Adult Relationship with Your Family.
Frost is a humor writer who’s been published in the likes of the New Yorker, The New York Times, and the Atlantic. Her humor was included in 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.
Frost has been touring, delivering her humorous show to people across the country who need to put their family drama into hilarious perspective. What she’s learned is that while everyone can relate on some level, not everyone takes it the same way.
“At some shows, I’ll get a certain reaction at a certain point and a totally different reaction to that same part during a different show. And I’ll ask my husband, did I do something different this time?” she said.
Frost likes to perform her shows for intimate audiences at small venues, like wineries. She performed her show in January at Casa Cassara Winery in Buellton. It helps foster that act of connecting she was looking for when she took a break from her humor writing and decided to create her show.
And those connections come in various forms, from hearing someone laugh wildly at something they related to, to seeing someone shed a tear at something that touched their heart. Then there are the people who appreciate her show enough to approach her afterward and share their thoughts.
“I had this one lady who came up to me after the show and threw her arms around me and said, ‘I’m going to go up and cry, but then I’m going to come back and I want to talk to you some more,’” Frost said.
Those are the connections that Frost was hoping for—and from the start, those are the connections she’s been receiving. Though her audiences are wildly diverse—she’s back on the Central Coast after having toured the Midwest—and every audience is different in what it likes about her show, everyone seems to connect on some level. It seems that everyone has at least one family member or relationship that fits that stereotypical mold. Frost shines the spotlight on those stereotypes and brings them to life as if she were talking about the very families of each audience member.
On the heels of her successful tour, Frost will teach a class and perform a new show this year called Bad Role Models—What I Learned From Them. The theme being that some of her best role models were indeed not the best role models.
“Everyone asks, ‘Who were your mentors?’ I think about who my mentors were, and you know, I think the people I learned the most from weren’t necessarily the best role models, but I learned the most from them and so that’s what this is about,” she said.
A Santa Barbara native turned New Yorker, Frost said this year she’ll also increase the number of How to Survive Your Adult Relationship With Your Family performances and hopes to spend a lot of time on the Central Coast—with her family, from which she has survived and thrived and whom, she added jokingly, she does not allow at her show.
Arts Editor Shelly Cone barely survives her family. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.