Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: The play, Healing: After the Tragedy, will soon be debuting as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. What inspired you to tell this story, and how would you describe your creative process in bringing it to life?
Nesha Wonderland: The fear of not wanting to tell this story is what inspired me to tell the story. Over the past few years, as an artist, I have been seeking the truth within my identity through performing, so in that process I started taking improve classes. While I was doing improv performance, I was learning a lot about the art of allowing. I was so inspired that one day while home alone, I pressed record on my phone and voice recorded myself performing in my living room a "Armando" style of long-form improvisation telling my life story. While I was performing all of these different character versions of myself that I started coming up and all of these different character versions of people in my life started coming up also! After I performed the story, I felt really relieved and liberated. So, I wrote the recording into a script and for months I sat the script aside and I thought maybe one day I will use it, but every time I thought about going into the piece, the emotions that I felt would make me cry. I felt like I couldn't go back into it and face those parts of myself. But then, I started having conversation about healing after tragedy and trauma with women, young girls, and even my mother, and each and every one lit up and said they wanted to heal. So, that inspired me to say, "Okay, I need to perform my testimony. I need use my gift of being able to illustrate on stage and to captivate an audience through character to tell this story." That became my goal. I felt compelled to tell the story in the form of a testimony and mantra, so that it becomes a healing experience for me, as well as for the audience. Another goal when structuring the show was to create it into a source of mentorship for college students trying to graduate even through so much pain, and for young people who have dealt with bereavement and feel like they are not heard, and nobody cares and that they have no voice.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
NW: The goal is for the audience is to take away from the show a sense of understanding that even in the midst of trauma and tragedy that life brings with the many obstacles, you can still have joy, you can have peace, and there is help and hope. I hope they take away a power of inspiration to heal and release their own pain. That is what I really want!
BD: Given that the performance is a one-woman show, how do you balance the workload of the production, and do you feel that the various roles enhance your creative process?
NW: The secret to my balance and my workload is truly my team. Although this is a one-woman show, it is not a one-woman production team thankfully! I have amazing people that have worked with me, making sure this vision comes to life. Each person that I work with is an expert and a real professional in what they do. The quality of work is on a high level from everyone. The balance of work roles within my team has given me the ability to have the balance in focusing on performing and writing while maintaining the production details.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for Healing?
NW: The Hollywood Fringe Festival is ideal for Healing for two reasons. One: because when I attended Hollywood Fringe 2016 and saw the atmosphere of people going to the theatres and people performing at all of these theatres, I just knew that Fringe was something that one day I had to be a part of. And the second reason is the show is all about reaching community and all about entertaining through the arts, so it is ideal for Fringe because it is all about art & community.
BD: The show will be appearing at the Ruby Theatre (The Complex) from June 9-22, 2018. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
NW: Currently, the show is only showing at the Ruby during June. But we are submitting the show into the NoHo fringe festival this fall and, hopefully, will look to tour college venues in the near future. So, we have goals to reach many venues for this show! To keep up with venue updates, subscribe to neshawonderland.com.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
NW: I have a podcast called Why Pray. It is about Christian meditative prayer, and it is a very useful healing tool that I personally use and now share. It is free and you can listen on SoundCloud.com/WHYPRAY, iTunes, and my website, neshawonderland.com. There is also a Healing: After the Tragedy book in the works covering mother/daughter healing.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Healing: After the Tragedy?
NW: If you want to learn more about Healing: After the Tragedy, please visit neshawonderland.com, where you can learn more about the show and the odds that I faced that many of our children are facing each day. The show is bringing awareness for the need of mentorship and the need for healing pain in order for people to grow into healthy adults. I share a lot more about the layers of the story on the website Neshawonderland.com. And you can purchase your tickets for the show by visiting http://hff18.org/5218.