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Wednesday, 4 September 2019

"To Free a Mockingbird" ...My thoughts on the show.

“There’s no need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.” Unknown

Grace Aki is a storyteller and one you don't want to miss next time she's in Atlanta performing her show To Free A Mockingbird. The above quote says it all. I was inspired among other things. My review is a little overdue but my thoughts are the same as the day I saw her show. So let me tell a little more about it...

I smiled, I laughed, I cried, and I reminisced. I attended Grace Aki’s To Free a Mockingbird show back in June at the Atlanta Fringe Festival. I’ve known her a few years and seen her performed in a few shows in Georgia and have always admired her talent of singing, dancing, and acting. She’s quite funny too! This show was different from the ones I’ve seen her in before because she wrote it, and it was a solo show. I didn’t quite know what to expect but I was anticipating a show that tugged at my heart and tickled my funny bone and she delivered.

I smiled …because I got to see Grace perform in a show and not just any show, but her show. She wrote it directly from her heart. It was a dramedy which is by far one of my favorite genres.  As usual, she had her incredible and fun energy while performing, and she came on the stage to some music from a famous film based in the South. An author was talked about in the show along with with bits and pieces of her parents' lives and a brick. The brick piece, well, you really had to be there to understand.

I laughed… so hard until I snorted…out loud. Yes, I snort…laughter that is. Grace has this knack of storytelling where she weaves in sad moments of her life with bits of humor. To me, that’s a gift to be able to do that and from what I can gather is that she has learned to cling to hope and love in spite of the dark moments. I laughed also because she has some of the best facial expressions by far!  There’s a story in them!  If you didn’t see her show, go follow her on Instagram, and you won’t be disappointed.

Grace Aki Pic credit by Mindy Tucker

I cried…because the way she shared about her father. The man who encouraged her dream of acting by showing all kinds of films when she was a little girl. Later in her life, she discovers a painful truth about him. I also cried in how she spoke lovingly of her spouse Damon and how they met.

With  Jennifer Jones

I reminisced…after the show. It was the ending of the show that really hit me hard...that caused me to reminisced and well cry too. On my way back home with my friend Jennifer, we talked about how much we enjoyed her show.  We also talked about our dads too. Her show sparked a conversation that for me can be hard to talk about but at the same time healing each time I share. At the time I’m writing this, I am crying and wishing I had a different story that I could share about my dad.

The show may not be exactly as she wanted it or perfect, but it didn’t have to be. “Perfection is shallow, unreal, and fatally unrealistic,” quote by Anne Lamott. I love that artists like Grace are willing to bear their heart and soul to an audience and share. It takes courage to do that and not know what the reaction will be from the audience. In sharing her stories, she’s able to liberate some of the pain and be relatable to others.  I was touched in a range of emotions from attending. It was an hour of storytelling with heart and soul poured into it with wit, fabulous sense of humor, and vulnerability.

"Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage" quote by Brene Brown. In my opinion, Grace showed up courageously. I look forward to seeing her perform again.

After the show with Grace

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About Maria Rochelle

Maria is a writer of multiple genres, and author of the popular children's picture story book series Jasmine Dreams.
Find out more about Maria here →


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