We’ll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning

A Love Letter to May and A Farewell to Fool for Love

This picture was taken during a “down” moment on set. In this picture, I am not playing May, yet when I look at this picture I don’t see myself: I see May. And I miss her. May is hard to say goodbye to and dangerous to hold onto.

In the blog I wrote when we started work on this show, I talked about how little of myself I saw reflected in May and how I didn’t see her as a “feminist character.” Over the run of the show, my sentiments almost completely reversed.

May’s brutal honesty and fierce desire to break away from the dysfunctional patterns she’s inherited from her addict father are qualities I admire and know too well.

In my favorite moment of the play, May believes the woman Eddie has been cheating with is on the other side of her hotel room door. This woman has already shot at May and blown the windshield out of Eddie’s car, but when Eddie tells May to hide, May’s brazen response is, “I’m not gunna hide in my own house. I’m goin’ out there. I’m goin’ out there and I’m gunna tear her head off. I’m gunna wipe her out.” She believes she’s invincible. She is invincible. It’s intoxicating to inhabit her skin in that moment. I know I’m not invincible. In fact, I suffer from pretty severe anxiety, so May gave me the gift of being totally sure of who I was and what I was capable of accomplishing; it’s something I will relish and go back to for the rest of my life.

On the other hand, I see the darkness in May. The danger is in relishing too much her reckless way of living and loving.

The love she feels for Eddie is the same love that killed her mother, the same love that led to the whole mess between her and Eddie, but as much as she wants him to stop hurting her, she loves loving him. And she loves hating him.

So, it is with very mixed feelings that I say goodbye to May, but mostly I owe a great debt of gratitude to her and to Sam Shepard for penning her. I hope we do Shepard again soon. If I ever get to play May again, I’ll absolutely jump at the chance.

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