by Houston Robertson
It is almost time for Rogue Festival again–it will be taking place March 6-14 in the Tower District of Fresno. Throughout the month of February we will be publishing many Rogue Festival performer preview articles. This year we have added a special category where you will be able to find all of our Rogue Festival articles. During Rogue we will be reviewing shows as usual, and we also have a Rogue Festival event page with more information!
I call myself The Octobabe, which, in ordinary language, means I’m a sassy, sexy 83-year-old woman. I’m living long and loving it!
I’ve wanted to be on stage ever since I was in my high school senior class play, in 1954. But good girls did not go into Theater in 1954. So when I was 47, I quit my job and became Ribbons the Clown on the streets of San Francisco—my first solo experience. I’m now onstage with my second one-woman show: The Story of a Nice White Lady. The Rogue Festival also hosted my first solo show, Victory for the Recycled Virgin, in 2015. I bring to my solo work my experience as Ribbons, and as a writer and motivational speaker.
The Story of a Nice White Lady is a hilarious and confessional parody of the clueless racism and homophobia of nice white ladies. From churches to jazz clubs, from women’s marches to the White House, I burst the bubble of good intentions, and remind you that “nice” is a four-letter word. Catch the show at Dianna’s Studio of Dance.
I like to challenge people to celebrate Aging as Renaissance—a phrase I coined to describe my developmental view of aging. Most of us are well-versed in the developmental tasks of childhood through mid-life, but we seldom wonder about the developmental opportunities for us as we become older. I believe a wonderful thing happens to us after midlife: ourselves. Living long gives us the chance to midwife the re-birth of the real us. I invite people to explore the freedoms accompanying aging: the freedoms to reclaim our playful spirits, redeem our self-worth, and recover unselfish community values. We then become the presence of wisdom in the world. My personal motto is: Model your life after the oak tree; its most productive years begin at age fifty. Although not a cookie-baking grandmother, my grandchildren often thank me for my freshly baked ideas.
I have been called a “gutsy storyteller” and “an insanely expressive and inspiring spirit,” qualities that inform my memoir, Paper Chain Confessions, which is available through Amazon.com. I am a member of the Storyteller’s Association of California, and I use storytelling from folk traditions, fiction, and biography to trigger reflection and conversation in my motivational Talks and Tales for the Renaissance Years. I have keynoted several conferences on aging and have always been a force in my community. I have received the Solano County (CA) Living Legacy Award for Community Service.
The Story of a Nice White Lady was developed with actor, writer, and director Don Reed, a lead in the show Bartlett on Amazon Prime, and with Mark Kenward, a Bay Area icon of solo performance. Kenward also directs the show. Show times are Friday, March 6 at 7:00 pm, Saturday, March 7 at 6:30 pm, Sunday, March 8 at 3:30 pm, Friday, March 13 at 8:30 pm, and Saturday, March 14 at 3:30 pm. Tickets are $10.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play, and also on Podbean.
Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.