I was lucky enough to see this solo show last year in it’s previous incarnation as “Bloom Where You Are Planted” at the Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest and was so impressed with her story.
It’s now called “Life on The Rez” and is based around a time when she took a teaching job in Montana on a reservation. With the help of a friend she drives to Montana from LA, with her entire life boxed up in a U-Haul.
It’s a fascinating show, full of life lessons, revelations, humor and a good deal of gratitude on Luella’s part for being a part of the life journeys of these precious, beautiful and brilliant Native American people.
The show has developed somewhat from its original version, but it has lost non of it’s heart and certainly retained all of it’s humor.
Luella is preparing for an encore performance very soon, with the wonderful people at the Whitefire Theatre Streamfest. We will let you know as soon as we know when that is happening…
I’m always so curious why and how solo artists create such gorgeous work and I wanted to know a little more about Luella and how she created “Life on The Rez,” so I asked her!
Hi Luella, What made you think of creating a solo show?
When I came back from Montana, many people were interested in my time on the reservation, so I started telling my story at conferences, seminars, and retreats, first at the local level then state and national levels. A few years ago, an actress encouraged me to dramatize my story and write a one-woman show.
What was it about this part of your life that you needed to share? My time on the reservation was a very difficult time in my life, but I am so glad I did it. I hope that my experience encourages and inspires other people who are going through a difficult time. While it was difficult, it was also a very transformative year and it changed the trajectory of my life. Sometimes an event can happen in your life and it might seem like it is the worst thing that could happen and then you find out later that it was the best thing that could have happened. It’s funny how life works out like that.
How has this show changed you? What have you learned? I learned how to write a one-woman show. Prior to the show, whenever I told my story, I would refer to bullet points. When I wrote the show, I mused over each and every word. The show has allowed me to continue to tell my story in a new way. I hope to tell it over and over again and reach as many people as possible. In addition to writing, I am also learning the craft of acting. As a teacher, I directed plays and musicals, but I never thought I would be on the stage! I learned that you can always try new things, no matter how old you are!
Any tips for others considering creating a solo show? I highly recommend reading The Writer’s Journey by Chris Vogler. I didn’t know I had a story until I read Chris’s book. His book is based on Joseph Campbell’s A Hero with a Thousand Faces. In it, he outlines the basic elements of a good story. After reading Chris’s book, I reflected on my time in Montana and then I put all the pieces together to create a lively and entertaining story. Prior to Chris, I really didn’t understand what I had gone through. After reading The Writer’s Journey, my time on the reservation all made sense to me and then I was able to share it with others, knowing that it would be funny, entertaining, memorable, and thought provoking.
How has the solo world impacted your life? One of my goals in life is to work with smart, creative, and talented people and I found that in the solo community. I have met many wonderful people in the solo world, from actors, writers, directors, publicists, graphic designers, and tech crew. It is amazing all that I have learned from them. I hope to keep growing and learning from the solo world, but I also hope that I can influence others in a positive way as well.
You can find our more about Luella and all she’s up to here: https://luellawagner.com
Luella is a wonderful writer and performer, full of honesty and imagination. I saw her show in this years solofest, pre shut down, “Rudy Get Up,” which was absolutely hilarious!!! Hopefully 2021 will allow all of us more chances to see every kind of theatre and maybe even some more from Luella!! Here’s hoping!
Here is link to my review of Luella’s show “Rudy Get Up” https://www.nohoartsdistrict.com/theatres/theatre-reviews/item/7143-the-whitefire-theatre-solofest-presents-rudy-get-up
Directed by Bryan Rasmussen
Musical Accompaniment bt Joe Vasquez
Performed as part of the Whitefire Theatre’s Streamfest, 2020