Not Always Happy— A Comedy

Since 2010 I have documented our family’s story on this blog and in other online publications by writing edgy, sharp and funny narratives that advocate for my son, Thorin, who lives with Down syndrome (Ds) in the hope others will think differently about all people with Ds.

I am a more ‘show’ than ‘tell’ writer so that introductory paragraph was painful to write.

For some time I have wanted to share our story in-person with an audience – but I had no idea what that would look like. I sought advice.  I was encouraged to create a knowledgeable presentation for doctors, therapists, teachers and school administrators. Basically, anyone I argued with over the years.

Everyone suggested a ‘PowerPoint’. I might have flinched the first time. I know my throat felt constricted all the times. I wondered can you use F-bombs in a PowerPoint?

None of it felt right and it sounded very, not funny.

How can I be me, I wondered?

Enter Bess Welden, actress/playwright/director/educator/awesome person who 11 months ago asked me if I had ever considered turning ‘a typical son’ into a performance piece.

I said: “No.” And, then I agreed to do it even though I had never done anything remotely like it.

I said: “Yes”because it felt right. It also scared the crap out of me. Bess assured me that is normal for a first-time performer.

I am completely grateful to Bess who saw the intention of my writing and believed enough in it (and, more importantly Thorin) to say I can help you. I’m lucky to have such a collaborator:)

With support from the Maine Arts Commission we have been creating a one-woman storytelling performance piece titled: ‘Not Always Happy’.

Stay tuned for details about our first public work-in-progress reading as part of PortFringe 2016 on June 25th.

When I asked Thorin if he was okay with me doing it he said: “Oh, no! No writing! Too much!”

“I’m writing it.”

“Good! You can do it.”

I hope you will like us on Facebook!

Visual for NAH twp Spring 2016.jpg


19 thoughts on “Not Always Happy— A Comedy

  1. Hi Kari! I just discovered your blog by accident when I was researching teaching reading to kids with Down Syndrome (and found, like you, that nobody knows much about it and most often tend to write kids off, but that’s a rant for another day – gets my blood pressure up – )… and I discovered that you and I have a connection!

    My mom, Christine Nilles, designs costumes for the Colby College theater department, and she also works with Bess Welden! I am so surprised and delighted – what an awesome coincidence.

    I’m living in PA right now while I do my grad work in special ed. My husband and I are really hoping to move to Maine as soon as we can.

    I can’t wait to read the rest of your blog posts. Maybe my mom can watch your performance sometime!

    Best of luck!

    • Oh exciting! Gosh, it is a small world. I hope your mom can attend at some point. I would love the feedback!

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