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Bridget's Edmonds, Washington Performance of
Bronwen, the Traw and the Shapeshifter
(all proceeds from this performance were donated to the Save Our Cabin Fund)
Write up by Carol Benecke
Bridget loved Carol's review so much that she has had it included in the publicity packet that goes out to booking agents!
Once in a while, here in Seattle, a mid-winter day dawns sunny and mild with hardly a cloud in the sky to mar our view of "the bluest skies you've ever seen." When we do have one of these rare days, there are few events that can keep us Puget Sounders indoors. But on Saturday, February 5th, it would have taken an army of loggers to keep me outdoors--for I had a ticket to Bridget Hanley's benefit performance of Bronwen, the Traw, and the Shape-Shifter at Edmonds-Woodway High School.
From the moment that (fellow-Brides-fan) Maryann and I entered the theatre building, we knew we were in for a wonderful experience. We were briefly side-tracked by the tables of items being raffled off to save the cabin and by seeing Bridget's sister Molly who was greeting guests. We then hurried into the theatre to be sure to find good seats. The seats turned out to be more than good; just after we sat down, we noticed our dear Henry and his son Stu seated just two rows in front of us! (Since I hadn't had an opportunity yet to meet Henry, this was an extra thrill for me.)
Finally, the house lights dimmed, the sound cued up, and here came Bridget! I really didn't know what to expect since I was unfamiliar with the play but it took me just a few moments to be caught up in the magic of the story of Bronwen and her mysterious traw. Bridget's uninhibited performance made Bronwen the child believable and Bronwen's squirrel visitors real. After a while, I found myself leaning forward in my seat, not wanting to miss even a word of James Dickey's epic poem. The words may have been poetry, but so was Bridget's performance; she didn't miss a beat as she skipped and twirled and--yes, even cartwheeled--across the stage. (The sheer physicality of the role, including the costume changes and deft prop handling, was incredible; Maryann and I were in awe!) When the story was over (much too soon for me), Bridget returned to the stage for the ovation, to thank the audience for coming, and to push those raffle tickets! She was wonderful to watch; it was obvious that she was "home" in more ways than one. Bridget may belong on the stage but she also belongs to the town of Edmonds and the audience of family, friends, and fans made that clear.
We made our way to the lobby where we met up with Stuart B. and several Brides fan club members (including Kathy R. and her hubby Gene) while we waited for Bridget. In a few minutes, she appeared and was immediately surrounded by a small crowd eager to greet her too. Bridget was delightful--still full of energy even after her highly physical performance and gracious to everyone. By the time we were able to reach her, she was already being called away--yet she still made time for us. She signed programs (how DOES she manage that perfect handwriting even when using her own leg for a table?), posed for pictures and even gave in to my request to make the "squirrel face" from Bronwen. She put everyone at ease and treated us like old friends. I took the opportunity to thank Bridget for the joy she's given me (and fellow fans) over the years. Repeatedly though, she thanked us, the HCTB fans, for all that we have done for the cabin and for her. Bridget says that she wants to find some way to repay us.
I'd say she already has.
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