A Writer’s Retreat and Girls’ Night Out

Tonight’s 10 p.m. wish: That I am able to carry the joy and calm that I get from live theatre with me through these busy weeks ahead.

I’m less than two weeks away from the official release date of my book, “Know When to Run: Lessons from the diary of a Gen X mom.” I’ve been more than a little bit consumed by the final publication details, press releases, event planning, interview opportunities, etc. Since I’ve never done this before, I want to do it right! And that adds a lot to my already full plate. Today, I have taken a complete “time-out” from life, and I’m holed up at a state park lodge, alone, on a little writers’ retreat. I have never done this before. It feels amazing!

If there is one thing I know about myself, it’s that music, theatre and time with friends and loved ones are the best antidotes I know for stress. Last weekend, I indulged in a girls’ night out to Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre to see “Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming.” My daughters and I had a fantastic date for the night, my friend Devan. She is a talented actress and singer who is also a Beef and Boards alum, and was one of my fellow “Lovely Ladies” in last year’s Les Miserables production at the Civic Theatre.


Getting two little girls through a buffet line is always kind of like an Olympic event, but Devan sweetly and patiently helped them heap their plates with the weird assortments of food that kids pick when it’s left up to them. When I got busy chatting with another friend during dinner, Saint Devan brought the little darlings back to the buffet for round two (which, I think, was mostly pudding. Oh well.) We took silly pictures, laughed a lot, and managed to work in a little bit of girl talk between mopping up spills and running kids to the restroom and gift shop.

The show was a sweet, funny escape into a different world in 1945. Watching such a multi-talented cast of actor/singer/instrumentalists made me very proud of Indy’s thriving theatre scene.

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The cast was fantastic, serving as their own band for the bluegrass/gospel score. We loved Sara Hund’s hysterical attempts at “sign language” as the sincere but always awkward June Sanders. And my buddy John Vessels was on FIRE as usual with his larger than life characterization of the Rev. Mervin Oglethorpe. We couldn’t take our eyes off of him. (Even when the girls didn’t understand the context of the jokes, they were laughing – John just oozes “funny!”) I send big congratulations to everyone involved in the show – it was a fun night for all of us.

There is something so magical about sitting with a child on your lap after the house lights go down, and the spotlight on stage takes your imagination so far away from reality. I am so happy to have a great theatre family in Indy, and two little girls who are as mesmerized by this great storytelling medium as I am.

I’ll be doing my best to carry that magical feeling with me as the next few very busy weeks unfold!

Trisha Lawless
Trisha Lawless
Trisha Lawless is an Indianapolis-based corporate communications advisor and freelance writer who began her career as a television news journalist. She enjoys performing in local theatre productions as her schedule permits, and has appeared in roles with Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis Civic Theatre, and BobDirex. Trisha and her husband Ben are proud residents of Indy’s Historic Irvington neighborhood where they live with their children (middle school through college age) and Golden Retriever.

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