Twenty Years of RB (and Molly)


Ryan Brown, Gracie, Barb
Gracie and I posed with Ryan Brown for these pictures on Saturday night. RB Productions, founded by RB himself celebrates twenty years in existence this year. Molly would be celebrating as well if she were still here. It is not lost on me that both RB and MollyB were cooked up in the fall of 2002 and spring of 2003 and truly came to life that summer.

The muggy weather has returned and my mood has lifted considerably. While I truly enjoy the fall weather here in New England, I feel strongly that said weather should refrain from making an appearance until October. Needing a sweater for my morning coffee on the porch in August is just wrong.

I am writing this blog from the balcony level at Battle CrossFit. Lexi is running the class, I just finished coaching my class and doing some stretching outside. The noise of the class and the athletes darting about is soothing somehow.

Familiar and safe. My people.

There are no coincidences.

Bessel Vander Kolk, a world renown trauma expert wrote a book called “The Body Keeps the Score”. My podcast editor Jace suggested I take a look at it early on in my podcast journey. I have read it twice now. In my journey for answers to the events in my life I have found that finding said answers can be as painful as the questions they address.  He shares five necessary strategies for moving along with trauma. EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Support Groups and Movement (Yoga or exercise) are the first four.

The fifth one is theater.

Spending time outside of yourself, taking on the characteristics of another provide relief from living in your own reality. Empathy can be developed. You learn that you are not only like your character but that your character is often like you. You can also be totally different and creative. There is a necessary sense of community in a theater production. The lead is no more important than the ensemble behind them.

A working machine where all parts must function properly.

Molly’s people were her theater friends. She felt at home there. She felt like the stage and all its parts were her home. In one of our last conversations, she said that she finally felt a sense of comfort and belonging. I just started crying as I typed that last sentence. That moment in the car with Molly will haunt me forever.

I want her back.

The MollyB Foundation is ready for take off and I am finally prioritizing these tasks. This has not been easy for me. I tend to make myself super busy when I get too close to emotional things. A busy mind is occupied and thus not deep in the quagmire of grief. But a busy mind is inefficient and ineffective. So, I am slowing down.

Along with Clint Klose and Jim Spiegel, local theater gurus, I am well connected to Karen Braz. She directed what would be Molly’s last show. While she is a big part of RB during the summer months, she is best known for her longtime leadership of The Children’s Theater Project which is the youth branch of The Community Players in Concord.

Molly loved CTP as well.

CTP is this week and they are performing Bugsy Malone. Molly did this play with Karen in 2014. My tummy has been a bit wonky. (Molly Molly Molly come back back back). When I drop off Skye each morning, I have my Karen time. I was sharing with her my plans for The MollyB Foundation and how I would love to have a “MollyB Mobile” to bring children to theater and theater to children.

Her immediate response was a hug.

I have been working tirelessly to overcome the inner demons that hold me back when it comes to The MollyB Foundation. I am finally taking steps (likely a thousand tiny ones) toward the fruition of all I want for this organization.

Karen and I will be driving to NYC together to watch Derek perform. We will have hours in the car to talk. We will enjoy each other’s company and catch up on things. We will keep each other awake! I am so excited.

Ryan Brown’s willingness and ability to rally his troops and start a theater company turned out to be an amazing act of selflessness and courage. He did it without hesitation. He is my inspiration and guide as I start an outreach theater program designed to bring the healing reality of theater to children who might never find it.

I picture Molly’s Theater in the Park a nationwide program one day. A program that will introduce the wonders of the performing arts to children everywhere. A program that will connect families. A program that will teach empathy and community while instilling self confidence and worth into its participants.

You want in? Reach out and let me know. It takes a village!

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