The Whitefire Theatre Presents “Fertile,” Written and Performed by Heather Dowling.
Directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.
One night only during Whitefire’s Solofest Wednesday, January 29 at 8pm.
The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
I was fortunate enough to see Heather Dowlings brilliant solo show “Fertile” during last year’s Hollywood Fringe.
Heather developed this play around her own misadventures with infertility and she has managed what few can, to take something deeply personal and challenging and make it into an hour of entertaining hilarity, honest and profound.
Since I’ve already reviewed the show, I thought it would be fun to hear from Heather herself. So we asked her a few questions about herself and the show.
What inspired you to create a solo show?
During the two-year run of my debut solo show “Unemployed. Finally.,” the five minutes that audiences responded to most was when I shared about my personal challenges with fertility. Driven by that response, I felt I had to share my story more completely, but not JUST my story with this show. I interviewed dozens of women (and men, too) to discover, uncover and encourage a conversation about procreation that I could then bring to an audience, to keep people talking about this complicated issue of creating family.
How is this issue important to audiences?
What I went through personally with infertility and family planning opened my eyes. I was shocked to discover how many women, how many couples had been through some version of what I went through…and they weren’t talking about it! People have the experience of shame, failure and doubt dealing with this issue and when they don’t talk about it, they are forced to struggle through it alone. I felt like writing this show, sharing my story and the stories of the people I interviewed would support people, encourage them and even give them a chance to laugh about it – and maybe cry a little, too.
Were you always dreaming of writing and acting?
I am an actress and a writer who has been impersonating someone who wanted a “real job” since the age of 14. I never thought being a writer/performer was a “realistic” profession. And it’s not, it’s a dreamer’s profession. But I surrendered to my passion for performing and my creative call to write in January 2012, and have been full steam ahead ever since.
What advice would you give others?
On the personal side? With the issues of family planning? for that I would say… trust yourself. As you get bombarded with expert advice and endless feedback from EVERYONE in your life. Let yourself get quiet – pray, meditate, run – and trust yourself. Trust what you feel is the right path, the right LIFE for you. As for advice for writing and performing…SAME! Just start…with a writing class, and improv class, reading books about it. When I finally just STARTED moving toward what I wanted, the people and places best for me started to show up. There is no “right way,” no matter what anyone tries to tell you. And if you’re interested in solo-storytelling, I can’t recommend Jessica Lynn Johnson (.com) highly enough. She was my first writing coach, and I am clear that the huge success of both of my solo-shows could not have happened without her – in fact, they would never have been written!
What’s next for you?
I am so thankful and humbled that Fertile. has been selected for the 27th Annual Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival (LAWTF), March 26-29. This is an incredible, curated festival of female solo performers from all around the world and 20 minutes of Fertile will be featured on stage as part of it.
How can we see “Fertile?”
No tour right now. The SOLOFEST Performance is 8pm Wednesday, Jan. 29th at Whitefire Theatre. Tickets at FertileConversation.com for your readers, I’ve created a discount code ‘noho’ for $5 off tickets.
My performance at LAWTF will be part of their Friday night program “Boxed In” at 8 pm, at Theatre 68, at 5112 Lankershim Blvd, North
Hollywood, CA 91601.
I am now going to quote myself from my review of “Fertile” from Hollywood Fringe, 2019.
“Masterful is a term I would apply to Heather Dowling and her miraculous and heartfelt soloist abilities. She is comic and moving, honest and profound. This is solo work at it’s most meaningful and excellent….loved it!!! If you are lucky enough to get your mitts on a ticket you will be eternally grateful to have done so.” Samantha Simmonds- Ronceros
See you at Solofest!!
Find out more at HeatherDowling.com.
Watch a preview…