Paullette MacDougal wrote Waltzing the Reaper. I will never forget the phone conversation we had when Paullette called to say she had written me another one-woman play. Five years prior she teamed up with Joan Weimer, PhD to adapt Weimer’s book, “Back Talk: Teaching Lost Selves to Speak” into my first one woman play, “Back Talk.”
Knowing what an excellent playwright MacDougal is I was anxious to hear all about this new play. Imagine my surprise when she said it was about dying. I recall saying something like, thanks a lot. But then she sent me a first draft of the play and I was hooked. Paullette has a gift to see into the characters she creates and understands what makes them so wonderfully human. She celebrates their quirks and their flaws and allows us to see them as they really are.
I’m not sure how many drafts Paullette produced. She worked and reworked fine tuning what she felt was important to bring to the public through her play. I remember the first time I read a draft aloud to her. It was difficult for me to get through the play without weeping openly. I wondered if I would ever be able to make it through the play without reacting to what is happening to my character, Vera. Actors are first human beings responding to the words of the play then we adapt to being the character we create.
Once I asked Paullette what inspired her to write this lovely play about family relationships and dying the way we choose. She told me a story about her grandmother who played a large part in Paullette’s childhood. This play honors that woman. Before every performance, I send thanks to many people who have encouraged and assisted me along my life’s path. I especially send my gratitude to Paullette and her dear grandma.