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      Barbara Biddison adds a personal item to her EVERY BRILLIANT THING list. by Barbara Biddion.

      Biddison has been in a number of HG shows and is the coordinator of the HG Women's Project. She has seen all but one (or maybe two) HG productions since its inception in 1991.

      Since April I've been holding the script for Thomas as he memorizes this one person show. He was ready to put the script down and let me "feed him lines" by May. That's when the read-his-mind-and his body-language part comes in. Do I wait while his brain searches for the next word or idea (this play does switch topics abruptly sometimes)? Or do I give him just one word? or a phrase? If he mutters "don't tell me" I must sit quietly and believe that it's right there and will come to him. After a month or so the memorization turns into character development and, all of a sudden, the person whose story it is appears before me. There he is! It is truly a brilliant thing to see that transformation.

      So why do I get to be part of this very personal process. Well, my training ground was with UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL about eleven years ago. I had volunteered to help out with lines for Thomas's first one-man show, and then when I slipped on the ice one February morning and broke both wrists (yes, both) he asked if I would like something to do while I mended. Bill Scott joined in with his tech expertise, and we worked together until performance time. I had lots of practice holding a script and exploring ideas and the character of the Librarian. It was one of the highlights of my life. I didn't know to call it a brilliant thing then, but I do now.

      I think I'm pretty good at this. I've had a few monologues within plays and have developed some techniques for learning them (as in the 20-mnute MADWOMAN morning ritual), such as "hooks" to get from one idea to a seemingly unrelated next idea. And I actually find it interesting to explore something over and over again. This means that I can pay attention to a script that I have already seen fifty times.

      So, back to the current project. First, I find it fascinating to see how Thomas works. I personally believe that an Artistic Director who wants to act should do so, should give himself that challenge. Watching Thomas explore this play, and related issues, and how to relate to the audience, and choose the music, and so much more confirms my belief. So that's another brilliant thing. About a month ago, in early July, I realized what is happening to me. I stood in my kitchen before breakfast looking at the perfect brown egg nestled in the palm of my hand and said, "This is a Brilliant Thing." I see the world sharper, I feel the world deeper. Like the seven-year-old in this show, who says to the sock dog, " You're brilliant, by the way. I really like you. I'm going to put you on my list." Today it is the bird who built her nest in the hanging basket of red petunias.

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