The Cast of Second Chances & New Beginnings

It is my great pleasure to announce…

Wow, that is such a cliché. But it really, really is my great pleasure! I’m still having a hard time believing I even co-wrote a play, much less that we have a full cast and recording crew on board!

I suppose it will be second nature next time. If there is a next time. But for now, everything feels new, prickly alive, and just a little surreal.

More details will be coming soon, but for now, please allow me the GREAT pleasure of introducing you to our fierce and imaginative director, and talented cast!

Director: Meghan Daaboul

Larae: Stephanie Crowley

Joelle: Debbie Gerber

The Narrator: John Knowles

Ashley: Jurnee Neeko

Corina: Yolanda Porter

GoFundMe account for 2022 Portland Fertile Ground Festival’s production of Second Chances & New Beginningshttps://gofund.me/072d7484. Thank you, donors!

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

The Heart of Community: What Queen and the Starship Enterprise Crew Have in Common

I’ve been thinking about community a lot lately, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one. How about you?

Maybe it has something to do with spending most of 2020 and into this year dealing with the isolation and social distancing of COVID-19.

I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota and have always been a bit of a loner. I’m an introvert who, while functioning easily as an extrovert, needs plenty of time alone to recharge my spiritual and emotional batteries. Yet COVID certainly showed me how much I appreciate and can miss my friends. You, too? Just this afternoon I met a friend I hadn’t seen in well over two years for a long walk and yummy cup of Starbucks coffee. We could hardly believe it had been that long since we last saw each other.

This last week I re-watched Bohemian Rhapsody and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (the one with the whales) free on Hulu and the theme of community hit me again, both times.

Freddie Mercury, upon “reconnecting with the mother ship” after cutting his only solo album, expressed frustration and regret that the people he hired for the album “unfortunately” did exactly as he told them to. No push-back from Roger, no re-writes from Brian, no funny looks from John. “I need you,” he said. “And you need me.”

What Star Trek fan doesn’t love Captain James T. Kirk? He’s handsome, suave, charming, a natural leader, balanced risk-taker, and all around likeable guy. But where would he be without Spock’s calm logic, Scotty’s skill and pragmatism, and Bones’ cantankerous passion?

I wrote How Abella Found Her Voice, but I also know the story was divinely inspired, and the book probably would have sucked without the help of my two editors, Madeleine and Gina. Would the two plays, Second Chances & New Beginnings, have come about without my writing partner, Jen? Absolutely not! And, of course, we needed a director, actors, and team to bring it to production!

I can sing around the house all I want by myself, but what kind of singer or voice teacher would I be without the instruction of voice teachers who know more than me? Someone to sing to? I teach speakers and beginning to intermediate singers, not advanced, and not those on a classical or professional singing path. So I need to be in community with other voice teachers who do teach those types of students.

And…I’m almost done reading Resmaa Menakem’s My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, which has me wanting to come into community with others to combat the insidious legacy of white supremacy in this country. I’m not sure how I’m going to do my part yet; I just know I want to.

What do you want to do? What kind of community do you want to be a part of?

It’s a good time to ask ourselves these questions. Let me know what you’re thinking on the blog. Perhaps we can help other like the members of Queen or the Enterprise crew.

GoFundMe account for 2022 Portland Fertile Ground Festival’s production of Second Chances & New Beginnings:  https://gofund.me/072d7484. $700 of $1800 raised so far! Thank you, donors!

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

A Really Super Big Deal – Audition Notice for Actresses and Support Request for Theatre Lovers

I don’t know how to say this. It’s like coming out of the closet. But that’s not quite right either, because it belittles what some of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers have experienced.

Uhm…I wrote a play. We. We wrote a play. My co-writer, Jennifer, and I, we…uhm…wrote two plays.

Oh, for heaven’s sake, let me start all over again without being so nervous about it.

Jen and I have written two plays that we are now producing into a “real, live” pre-recorded staged reading for the annual Portland Fertile Ground Festival, a City-Wide Festival of New Works http://fertilegroundpdx.org/.

If you had told either of us we’d be doing this just two short years ago, we both would likely have looked at you in disbelief. Know I will always be your Transformational Voice® Teacher, even as writing and producing are calling to me more and more. The two work hand in glove – the inner voice and the outer voice.

For theatre lovers, here’s the link to our GoFundMe account https://gofund.me/072d7484 with a cute photo of Jen and I with an adorable black lab puppy named Luna. The funds will go to paying our fierce and imaginative director, Meghan Daabuol, our talented and skilled cast (two roles have already been cast), and supplies we need for production.

For actresses, here is the audition notice and background on how Jen and I first started writing the plays. Slots are already quickly filling up! The talent pool in Portland never ceases to amaze me.

Audition Notice: Second Chances & New Beginnings – two short plays that together comprise one full length, world premiere, staged reading for Portland’s Fertile Ground Festival. Directed by Meghan Daaboul. Non-union.

Audition dates via Zoom: October 9, Saturday, 10:00 am – noon, and October 10, Sunday, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Callbacks, if needed, October 17, Sunday, 6:00 – 8:00 pm.  

*Joelle Hanson: 50ish, white. (Her daughter is marrying into a bi-racial family in the second part.) Fiercely protective of her family, and personally a bit lost.

*Ashley Hanson: 20ish, white. Intelligent, kind, determined to follow her dreams while trying to deal with her grieving, controlling father.

*Corina Rivera Garcia Kersey: 50ish, Puerto Rican. Ashley’s future mother-in-law. A wise, solid, loving, (and sometimes surprising) mother figure to Ashley after her mother’s death.

Pay is $100 for the project. The roles of Larae and the Narrator have already been cast.

Auditions will be via Zoom using sides from the script. Forward your resume and head shot to  meghan_daaboul@yahoo.com and info@laurahandke.com and choose your 15-minute audition slot at https://laurahandke.com/. Just scroll down to the bottom of the home page, choose the audition category, and sign up!

The first read-through will be the first week of November. Rehearsals will start the week of November 29th, twice per week, perhaps more as recording time approaches. Rehearsals will all be via Zoom. We are still figuring out how to best showcase the plays in a COVID-safe manner for recording, so will need to ensure people are vaccinated with vaccination cards. 

Second Chances

Sassy Larae Edwards and subdued Joelle Hanson, freshman year college roommates, unexpectedly re-connect 30 years later at an OB-GYN clinic in a different state 1600 miles away. Creative Joelle married her college sweetheart, had four kids with him, and gave up her dream of a career in the arts. Party girl Larae drank her way through college and into her financially successful – yet personally unfulfilling – career in insurance claims management. She’s been married and divorced three times and her best friend, until reuniting with Joelle, was her cat.

Through their reconnection and interaction with Joelle’s youngest daughter, Ashley, the two women – despite their differences – find common ground, conflict, mutual respect, and eventually a united purpose. 

New Beginnings

After her mother, Joelle, died from aggressive ovarian cancer, Ashley Hanson relied heavily on Corina Rivera Garcia Kersey, the mother of her high school boyfriend, now fiancé, Ethan. Ashley’s emotionally unavailable father, a high-ranking bank executive, processes his grief through trying to control his daughter. Ashley is determined to follow her own passions and dreams, while planning her wedding and trying to be respectful of her father. Through the support and love of the biracial family she is marrying into – and a surprise message from her deceased mother – Ashley manages to track down her mother’s best friend, Larae, stand up to her father, and find a hopeful and confident path for her future.

About the Playwrights

Laura Handke is Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher, a vocal coach, speaker and trainer dedicated to helping people bring their inner voices into the outer world.

Jennifer Solberg is the owner of Amber Moon Boutique in Lebanon, OR, and an oracle card reader.

We writers celebrate diversity and can see these two plays being a template for women playwrights of any race or culture to take and make their own in theatres everywhere.

Thanks so much, in advance, for supporting our show.

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

Just a Few Minutes A Day (Although Less isn’t Always More)

Do you sometimes find it challenging to fit everything you need and want to do into your schedule? While I was walking today, I started a mental list of things I’d like to do in the future. I stopped after 1) Have a neighborhood Little Library, 2) Learn how to paint (Aimee Erickson, Ann Schwartz and Heather Ernst are three artists who totally inspire me), 3) Make little quilts, like placemats or wall hangings.

Having a variety of interests is one thing, but falling prey to shiny object syndrome (as I am prone to) is another. I already made a trip to Michael’s for art supplies and will continue playing around with color blending and texture. I shipped my old clarinet back from South Dakota, have been working with a new warm-up routine for my personal vocal practice, and hired a tutor from Mexico to become better at speaking Spanish.

Now probably isn’t the best time to get into quilting. Ya know what I’m sayin’?

Yet I can tell you this. If you’re musically inclined…just a few minutes a day, a few days a week…will make a big difference in how quickly you progress with your voice or other instrument. Truly. This has become even more clear since I decided to pick up that old clarinet again. I’m having way more fun with it now than I did as a young kid and teenager. And that’s the key…decide to have fun and be curious about what you can learn and do.

Aligning with that topic, here’s someone I want to introduce you to. My friend, Stephanie Snow, is the founder of Beauty Revolution, a mind/body/eating coach, and storyteller. https://jointhebeautyrevolution.com/. I encourage you to check out her Flip the Beauty Script podcast. The sound of your laughter is beautiful, so you might want to check out the episode about Snows VS Squirrels https://anchor.fm/stephanie-snow4/episodes/Snows-VS-Squirrels–A-Summer-Story-e155dgo.

Yet even more, you might want to check out the more recent episodes about body types and stereotypes. This is great stuff, friends. Can you imagine a world where “society” dictated only one type of voice the most desirable? That sounds like a very bad horror movie. Yet, history tells us that in the 17th and 18th centuries, when women were forbidden from singing in church, poor families of young boy singers were paid to have their sons castrated at the age of 9 so they could continue being sopranos.

Yikes! Thank God that isn’t happening anymore, in any countries! Perhaps, before too long, women’s body types won’t be so strictly judged either, and more and more women will be able to honestly say not only “I love my voice,” but “I am beautiful.” 

COVID update: I am now welcoming fully vaccinated students into my home studio in limited slots Wednesday and Friday afternoons. We will share our vaccination cards and socially distance as much as possible. ZOOM, of course, is great as well.

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

A Weekend at Bob Hope’s House In Palm Springs

A couple of months ago, I posted my most liked YouTube video, Five Tips to Give Your Speeches Vocal Variety. I hope the tips were helpful for you.

Here’s my least liked YouTube video, How Bob Hope’s House Ruined Palm Springs (and I Was There To See It.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M203PRtvch0

Granted, it isn’t a very well organized speech, but it is an awesome story!

Why am I sharing this right now, you may ask? Because I just finished up a fun-filled week of celebrating my 57th birthday – multiple dates with my husband and several good friends. Jackie and Ginger, who joined me at Bob Hope’s house, are two of them. We had lunch out, a long walk, dinner and a “slumber party” here at my home Saturday night – great fun! The three of us have been friends for over 30 years. These long-term relationships, through different life stages, are precious, regardless of how often you see each other in person; wouldn’t you agree?

Enjoy this “bad” speech – I hope it gives you a few chuckles.

COVID update: I am now welcoming fully vaccinated students into my home studio in limited slots Wednesday and Friday afternoons. We will share our vaccination cards and socially distance as much as possible. ZOOM, of course, is great as well.

My ZOOM Speak Up! workshop for teens in school is “this close” to being ready. This program is probably the most impactful and powerful group class I’ve ever taught. Students receive confidence-building skills that will remain with them for life, and teachers/administrators can either take a break or participate. SO rewarding!

Have yourself a great week. And do some singing, will ya?

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

Memories, Voices and Food

I saw my voice teacher, Linda, last Sunday for the first time since she moved to Holland. She had some complicated personal business in the US to attend to – emigrating is not easy! Linda’s friends hosted a COVID-safe potluck in their backyard and at one point asked if we would share our musical talents. Kent spontaneously broke into Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and many of us sang along. It was only a stanza or two, but what joy and beauty there was in so many of Linda’s students and friends singing together! I’m, by nature, drawn to group and harmony singing. Those few moments scratched an itch I had forgotten I had.

When was the last time singing called to you and you ignored the call? Do you, also, enjoy group and harmony singing? If so, let me know. I’m looking into a couple of pre-recorded mini-concerts and would love to join with other musicians who sing and/or play instruments. Think folk-oriented music like Peter, Paul and Mary, perhaps some Mamas & Papas; that kind of thing.

Shortly after that Sunday potluck, two long-term girlfriends confirmed dinner here at my place, where I’ll be cooking the same dinner, in the same pot, that I did the last time I had Linda Frans and Richard over for dinner: https://laurahandke.com/simply-authentic-your-soul-voice-is-calling-my-soup-pot-has-a-story-in-three-parts/

Perhaps I’ll invite Jackie and Ginger to sing something with me!

How about you? Would you like to make some music this week? If so, put a date on your calendar.

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura