Miss A Columnist

Mary Grace Rodriguez lives, works and writes in Austin, TX. In her late twenties, she was selected to participate in several creative writing workshops studying with writers such as Pat Mora and Sandra Cisneros. Her poems have appeared in various literary formats including a chapbook entitled Long Story Short, which was published in 1999 by Wings Press.

Review Of Drawing A Paycheck At FronteraFest 2012

FronteraFest, “The fringe theatre event of the Southwest” according to Austin American-Statesman, is a presentation of long and short works that take place over the course of five weeks. The “Long Fringe” portion of the Fest is a 90 minute play or performance piece, in this instance a comedic eye into the world of the multi-talented struggling to authentically get a grasp on how to channel money. Audience participation is encouraged.

“Drawing a Paycheck” begins the night with a short questionnaire:

  1. An art or craft I would like to try: (my answer) painting.
  2. An art or craft I know I’d hate: needlepoint.
  3. My worst idea for a business: fracking.
  4. Please rate the following ….

It proceeds with the actual drawing in profile of two audience members, interspersed with some comical insights along the way. Interwoven is a testament to La Ganga’s boyfriend, Billy, who in a crisis is apparently quick to brew some coffee—not a bad way to address troubles when they come knocking.

Morning finds me considering how happy and blessed we believed we were upon having the good fortune to close on this house. This house, with all of its glossed over imperfections. “Drawing a Paycheck” strikes me like this, pulls on some errant thread. The meaning of it all may escape you at first, but what isn’t true about our united misfortune? Aren’t we all still floundering in some way, whether we’d admit to (or notice) it or not? “Drawing” dances around this point. Never offering up a universal truth but never shying away from one either. Disconcerting in its simplicity, but strong in its undercurrent. What are we drawing on that sustains us, whether we love it or not? Why are we here? What is our purpose?

Annie La Ganga (Photo Credit: Eirik Ott)

A very rude guy used to ask me that same question during production meetings. I was a consultant with a group working with his developmental portal, and I’d been asked by my manager to attend the meeting just so we’d have a presence there. I wasn’t asked to contribute anything, just to sit in, and my mere presence in some way offended him. Perhaps because I wasn’t contributing in any way that he could see. Kind of like a moth. I was always happy when I could go back to my shared office and do more data entry. If I’m not mistaken, that was the highest paying job I’ve ever had, and it demanded the least mental effort. But did I like it? Was it fulfilling? It certainly made my life easier, well, aside from being the object of derision.

The irony, not wasted on me, was that in some small way I was probably making that guy’s marketing job possible. And, now, in some strange way he’s returned the favor.

What did I think about “Drawing a Paycheck”? It was a happening that keeps reverberating. From musing on having been thirteen years a waitress, it’s also a glimpse into Annie La Ganga’s self-proclaimed venture capitalist dive into the sugar skull empire. Now cookie decorator, writer and sketch artist as well as comedienne, she makes “edges, spaces, light and shadow, as well as the gestalt” into “love for the next model’s ear” and takes us where only the yogis dare to go.

The Short Fringe
runs through February 18th at Hyde Park Theatre.
The Long Fringe runs through February 5th at Salvage Vanguard Theater and the Blue Theatre.
Mi Casa Es Su Teatro is Saturday, February 11 (all day).

See Hyde Park Theatre calendar for performance times and descriptions and be sure to catch Best of Week or Best of Fest performances.
Ph. 512-479-PLAY

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