The Circle in action !

Mary Joe Deschanel

Dthnvnc, a one woman show that I have been writing for

many many years came into real world existance when

Laura Day  who I had just met did a ritual in her hotel

room in West Holllywood on my birthday November 25th

2009.  My daughter had met Laura the week before in

New York and when Laura said she was coming to Los

Angeles for a couple of days and that maybe they could

meet and my daughter said ‘oh I can’t on Wednesday,

it’s my Mom’s birthday and Laura said, “oh let’s do a

ritual for her and my daughter said, ok.  They went and

bought some things for it.

I was surprised and excited by the invitation, but I

didn’t know what to expect.

Laura and my daughter and I created a small circle that

contained my desire and wish to make a show of my

monologues.  I didn’t know what would come of it, but I

liked Laura and her son so very much right away that I

was just glad to spend time with them.

Before that I had tried many things but they did not go

anywhere.  That is not to say I did not learn from all the

classes I took and people that I asked to help me before

the work in november of 2009.  But stil I had trouble

telling people about it.  I felt blocked and crippled.  I felt

a kind of shame that I couldn’t figure out how to get this

work out into the world.


When I was a child one of my favorite poems was the


“He drew a circle that shut me out, heretic rebel, a thing

to flout, but love and I had the wit to win, we drew a

cirlce that took him in.”

There was a prior experience of the circle that started

things rolling before meeting Laura.  And that was the

circle that we do in my acting class on Monday nights at

Warner Loughlin Studio.  We do a guided meditation in a

circle and then visualize what we want and also help

person next to us by visualizing for them.  I feel this

circle is a part of the circle that Laura did with me.

After the ritual Laura told me to write a business plan

and I did and I sent it to her.  And I started to be able to

put my show in a context,  I put in a place the canals of

Venice California and a time, early 1970’s.—and I

started to be able to connect the characters together.  It

was exciting.  I felt that I had broken through a wall that

had existed a long time.

I would get up every morning and sit in my meditation

before my yoga and put myself in the circle again with

laura and my show.

I thought of it everyday and it started to have a feeling

of fluidity.   One night I was out to dinner with friends

and someone asked me what I was doing and I suddenly

said, “oh I am doing a show with these monologues that I

have written”.  The couple, Tom and Celeste were

enthusiastic and I told them about it and as I did,I felt

this wonderful strength.  On the way home I was so

elated to have shared with other people what I was

doing and to have them respond in such a positive way.

When Laura did the ritual with me, she said I think you

should do it in an art gallery –it should be connected

with the arts.  And then she also said that I needed to

work on the business aspect, the organizational aspect

that the creative work would be ‘fine’.

That changed my thinking and it gave me a lot of

confidence.  It was as if I had the confidence buried

within me about my creative work, but I needed

someone to say that to me, so the confidence could

emerge and be useful.

Sometime at the end of February I was frustrated.  I

have several close friends and they are all very

successful in their work.  I didn’t understand why none

of them asked me about my monolgues or show even

though I had told them about it and said I wanted to

share more information about it with with them.

One Friday one of these women friends called up and I

told her I was a little angry that she never asked about

my work when I always asked about her work.  She was

apologetic and that encouraged me to talk to another

friend;  this was my friend Astrid, a wonderful painter,

and when I told her I needed her to  ask me about my

show and writing, she said, “oh of course, what do you


And I said, “I need a place to do it; I need a director, a


We talked a few more minutes and hung up.

Two hours later she called,  “I have a place for you. I just

had lunch with a friend, Anne T. who is head of women

in the arts at the Santa Monica Bay Women’s Club.   And

she said you can do your show there and be their ‘artist’

in residence.

I was stunned.  It was to do with the arts, it was a place

to do my work, it was  real help.  I was being taken very


The following Monday I went to the beautiful building in

Santa Monica and met  Anne who was lovely. She

showed Astrid and me around. There were two spaces,

one an auditorium which felt too big and formal and

then another beautiful space where they have dance

classes and art shows and intimate performance.s

I loved it and once again it so resonated with me,   there

were art shows there and the two women – Astrid and

Anne are visual artists.

All a part of Laura’s intuitions.

Then it all fell into place,  I met with the committee of

the club and got a small committee made up of a solo

performer and teacher and an artist/art historian and

Anne T. to help me structure and organize the show.

All along the way my husband had encouraged me, but

with this new energy and real world connection he

became even more involved and helpful.

Warner Loughlin, my friend and acting coach has been a

part of my process all along and continued to be a

supportive integral part of the creative process of

developing the characters and connections between


Chris Anthony, another friend and a brilliant

photographer went with me to the canals and took great

evocative photographs.   My manager, Sarah Jackson

had always been  an enthusiatic listener about my

project   agreed to produce the show.

Out of the blue an old friend and amazing director,

Davida Wills-Hurwin called me and we had coffee and

she spontaneously asked me to write something with

her and I agreed and we started having a great time

writing a story together.

Then my daughter who was the third person in the

cirlce with Laura, said “Davida would be a great director

for you” which echoed what I had been thinking.

I asked her and she said yes.

The other part of working with women in the arts and

the santa monica bay womens club was doing something

to connect  to other charitable groups in the

community.  Davida, my director teaches at Crossroads

School where my children went to school and we were

able to come up with a program to take a few high

schoold students to train as  volunteers to work at 826,

a program that helps kids after school do their

homework and write.  I would then train them in

teaching creative dramatics and we would do a few

workshops at 826 with the students from crossroads

working with kids at 826 as a pilot program.

1 reply
  1. Laura Maher
    Laura Maher says:

    Hi Laura,
    I love that you offer this ‘success story’ section section on this website. I like the essence of the story, and feel it would be more powerful if it was better written. (Please forgive my criticism.) I would LOVE the opportunity to re-write this piece for you, in a a way that would inspire readers. Thank you for the wonderful work you offer the world!
    Much love and kindness.
    Laura Maher


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