Oral History: Jump Off A Cliff

On Friday evening, November 3, over 220 people filled every seat in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House to christen Oral Fixation’s return to the Metroplex. After a year’s hiatus, we kicked off Season 6 with “Jump Off A Cliff,” a special all-women show headlined by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. From sisterly love and saving a marriage—to conquering a climbing gym and floating into faith—to standing up for oneself and taking a stand—#JumpOffACliff spanned the spectrum, sold-out, and pleased the crowd galore.

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Share Your Story: Close To Home

kləʊz / tə / həʊm

What does it mean?

– Affects you deeply and emotionally because you can strongly relate to it (Source: The Free Dictionary).

– Causes you to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed because it is likely to be true (Source: The Longman Dictionary).

– Is within close proximity to your home or dwelling (Source: The Urban Dictionary).

– Involves someone directly (Source: MacMillan Dictionary).

Example Sentences:

Because I was bullied as a kid, I teared up when my son told me he gets teased at school—it’s just so close to home (Source: The Farlex Dictionary of Idioms).

That remark about their marriage hit close to home (Source: The American Heritage Idioms Dictionary).

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world (Source: Eleanor Roosevelt).

The bombs hit close to home last night; they were only a few miles away (Source: The Urban Dictionary).

This problem hits particularly close to home for many parents (Source: The MacMillan Dictionary).

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Meet “Jump Off A Cliff” Storyteller Tereze Gruntmane

From age 18 until now, Tereze Gruntmane has learned much, including how to save a marriage and start an internationally successful clothing line. On Friday night, November 3, with a story that spans decades and embraces all emotions, Tereze will take us on her own “Jump Off A Cliff” journey.

Tereze Gruntmane came to the US from Latvia in 1996 with her husband and daughter. In addition to having two more children—each nine years apart—she is the founder/designer of ZAZA couture, a boutique children’s apparel line. Currently writing a book about being present in relationships and avoiding affairs, Tereze speaks her mind, even when unpopular.

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Meet “Jump Off A Cliff” Storyteller Rachel McEnany

When Rachel McEnany was a child, she dreamt of flying. At the same time, her waking life was often filled with fear. On Friday night, November 3, Rachel will step onto the Oral Fixation stage and take us along on her transformation from anxious little girl to fearless woman who loves jumping out of planes, a lot.

Rachel McEnany has an insatiable curiosity about the world at large. She grew up in the hills of Arkansas and would almost always rather be hiking. She loves skydiving, her puppies, and her husband, Paul, not necessarily in that order. Her credo is, “Be brave and be kind.”

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Meet “Jump Off A Cliff” Storyteller Emma Vrabel

High school is hard enough, but for 14-year-old Emma Vrabel, who has albinism, moving cross-country and starting at a new school meant self-advocating all over again. On Friday, November 3, Emma will step onto the Oral Fixation stage and bring us along with her on her odyssey of discovery.

Emma Vrabel is an avid reader, writer, listener, and performer. She first heard spoken word live about a year ago. Since then, performing and hearing spoken word stories and poetry has become one of the biggest elements of her life. Emma is a martial artist with 2 black belts. She lives in Keller and is a freshman in high school.

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Meet “Jump Off A Cliff” Storyteller Dawynn Edwards

After a childhood of body shaming that included awkward P.E. and a girdle, Dawynn Edwards embraced herself and stayed active. Having already conquered tap dancing and hula hooping, she decided to raise the stakes. On November 3, she’ll take the Oral Fixation stage in “Jump Off A Cliff” and share some momentous moments from Rock Climbing 101.

Dawynn Edwards sporadically writes poetry and short stories when not maintaining the facade of a gainfully employed adult. She hopes to share her musings with a larger audience while traveling the world. Dawynn lives with her partner in Bedford, Texas, where they enjoy planning adventures and exploring local entertainment.

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Meet “Jump Off A Cliff” Storyteller Amy Pengra Button

Dashing through an airport, Amy Pengra Button received the worst news imaginable: the untimely death of her brother, Moss. Missing his presence, she makes a bold choice in dealing with her grief. On Friday, November 3, in “Jump Off A Cliff,” Amy takes the Oral Fixation audience on that journey with her.

Amy Pengra Button’s stories have appeared in Marie Claire and the Los Angeles Times among others. After nine years with Warner Bros. in LA, she returned to Texas to be closer to family and queso. She writes for Freeman, an event experience company, and holds degrees from USC and TCU.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Lulu Ward

Lulu-Ward-Headshot_483x599

Lulu grew up in a place and at a time when sex education was nonexistent. Her experience directly relates to her upbringing and also informs the next several decades of her life. Hear her story in “Out From Under The Rug.”

Lulu Ward is an actor in Dallas. She was voted “Best Actress” in 2004 by the Dallas Observer, named Actor of the Year by the Dallas Voice in 2011, and named Outstanding Acting Performance in 2015 by the DFW Theatre Critics Forum for her performance in Tennessee Williams’s The Two-Character Play. Lulu teaches theatre at Collin College in Plano, TX.

 

Fixated Facts:

What would you name the autobiography of your life? The Misadventures of a Late Bloomer

What’s your favorite part about Oral Fixation? Theatre’s origins are in storytelling. As an actor, I am definitely drawn to the storytelling aspect of plays. My favorite plays all tell a great story. I think it’s fantastic that storytelling as an art still exists.

 

What do you want to be when you grow up? Patient.

What is your favorite smell? Puppy breath.

Sneak peak: “In the fall, at school, I told no one. I attempted to cleanse myself of the shame by being ‘The Perfect Little Girl.’ I didn’t date. I went to church every Sunday. I made straight A’s. I represented my town in Mississippi’s Jr. Miss Pageant. I became anorexic. I was 54 before I stopped trying to be “The Perfect Little Girl.'”

Don’t miss Lulu on the Oral Fixation stage on Wednesday, Sept. 21

“Icing On The Cake” featuring Jacob Longoria

Theme: “Icing on the Cake”
Storyteller: Jacob Longoria

With both hilarity and sweetness, Jacob Longoria entertained the audience with a tale about how his 28th birthday went wildly awry. Fired, rejected by a sexy neighbor, and then physically assaulted, he was “bleeding like a 1970s pro-wrestler!” That night, however, everything changed. Spotting the girl of his dreams, Jacob boldly asked, “Are you a single lady by chance?” Indeed she was, and today, she’s his wife!

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