I Love to Turn People On


I Love To Turn People On

The cast of Murder in Munds Park (from left to right:  Lori Prescott, Todd Brown, Donna Lord, Vy Armnour, Annie Weissman (director), Joan Roff and Dolores Lanier

The cast of Murder in Munds Park (from left to right: Lori Prescott, Todd Brown, Donna Lord, Vy Armnour, Annie Weissman (director), Joan Roff and Dolores Lanier

            Last night was the second performance of one of my ten-minute plays, Murder in Munds Park. I directed it for the Cabaret Readers’ Theatre in Munds Park, Arizona. Not only did the audience enjoy the play, but so did the actors. Todd Brown and Donna Lord were newcomers. Todd said he’d NEVER act in a play due to a traumatic incident when he played Hansel in first grade. All went well for the first part of Hansel and Gretel, but he blanked out in the second half. I assured him that in readers’ theater, actors got to hold and read from the scripts. He agreed to be in the play. He memorized his lines anyway, and did a great job. Donna also got into her first acting experience. She found the perfect costume and spent all day getting her hair, makeup, and nails done. They’ve both been bitten now by the acting bug.

I cast one of the actors, Lori Prescott, in the first play I directed in 2013, Sharon Moore’s Fortune, Cookie? Lori had never acted before and she loved it. She’s gone on to star in two main stage plays.

Joan Roff was in my play Brownies last summer. She had never acted before. She enjoyed herself so much that she earned a role in this year’s play. And Dolores Lanier and Vy Armour blossomed in their parts.

This started me thinking that maybe my life’s purpose was to turn people on to new passions. When I was librarian, my mission was to find just the right book that would turn children into readers. I’m still doing that as part of the Intermediate Committee of the Grand Canyon’ Readers Award. Our group reads third to fifth grade novels and picks the best ten for the students to read and vote on for the award. And I’m always turning friends and acquaintance on to my favorite authors and books.

When I was a teacher, librarian and primary principal, I worked at turning students and teachers onto the joy of writing fiction and nonfiction as well as the thrill of the search for information.

I’ve discovered Pickle Ball this summer and have already turned friends on to the sport. It is a bit disconcerting that each friend was better at the game than me after only a few times playing.

A few years ago I learned how to make Oreo truffles from my daughter-in-law Shelley They are very easy, fun to make, and extremely popular. Of course I had to turn friends, grandchildren, and colleagues on to them.

I also love traveling with Global Volunteers, an organization out of Minnesota. They have projects in forty-two countries. Participants pay for their transportation to the country and a fee, about $2500 for two weeks. (Most of this is tax-deductible as a charitable donation.) That fee includes all of your meals and your stay at a hotel. What you get in return is to know the local people in a way you can’t as a tourist. You make friends and gain a greater understanding of the world. I spent ten weeks in Shanxi province and Xi’an, China teaching conversational English. Most of the volunteers were NOT teachers. The only stipulation was that you be a native speaker to teach English. There are all kinds of other volunteer jobs. For three weeks I was in a rural village teaching high school students, three weeks I taught second graders, and then I taught adult in an English language school. I took myself on a week of vacation to Shanghai. Another time I visited Cusco and Machu Picchu before volunteering at an orphanage in Lima Peru, entertaining sick kids in the infirmary. On both trips I had plenty of spare time to see the sights and shop. You can read all about my trips if you go to my website www.annieweissman.net and click on the travel blogs. Global Volunteers’ motto is “Making peace one person at a time.” Visit golobalvolunteers.org and get turned on!

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