Beautiful Pasadena: A recession fairy tale, writing a new ending and a play about a bathtub...

June 27, 2019

Once upon a time, I was a Disney princess. The spell lasted for seven years. I had a fancy job at The Walt Disney Company. I married a Prince and we lived in a castle. Then I got divorced, the economy collapsed, and my job got dissolved. We foreclosed on our castle. The prince filed for bankruptcy. And this princess was left with a lot of debt.

Ten years later, the debts were long paid off. The divorce papers filed away. But the feelings of anger I’d repressed crept up to the surface. I went to NYU to get my MFA in Dramatic Writing. In a playwriting class, we had an assignment to write a “What If” play.

So I asked myself this question: What if you could go back in time and not marry your ex-husband? What if you could listen to your inner voice and not walk down the aisle?

Beautiful Pasadena was born, first as a ten-minute play. Then it changed, evolved and took shape.

Beautiful Pasadena follows a couple in 2008 who buy an apartment in a historic building in Pasadena, California and begin a remodel just as the economy and their marriage collapse. It’s a searing insight into what appears to be and what is and the lies we tell ourselves. It’s also a play about a bathtub.

The play opened last night to a sold-out crowd in New York City as part of the She NYC Arts Summer Theater Festival

In the play, the wife has the courage to stand up to her husband and confront him about the credit cards and loans he secretly takes out in her name behind her back. In real life, I did not have the courage to confront my ex-husband. Instead, I chose to bury my anger and rage behind my sunny disposition. 

In the play, the bathtub from Bavaria arrives in the final moment before the curtain falls but it's too late for the couple. In real life, our bathtub never arrived. 

In the play, the couple gets divorced and the audience hopes they both move on with their lives. In real life, I am happily remarried. I got to write a new and happy ending.

My play is a work of fiction about a couple with opposing world views. But moments from real life crept into the dialogue. Beautiful Pasadena is a cautionary tale.

Beautiful Pasadena has one more performance on Saturday, June 29 at 3:30 pm at The Connelly Theater in New York City. Click here for tickets. For more information about the play, visit http://www.purpleglassesproductions.com/beautifulpasadena


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