I am, but I’m retiring after
the last play. We just finished “A Few
Good Men,” which we played in
Friendswood and then in a small theater
in Houston. That ran for 11 shows.
We did the play at the EaDo Playhouse
in downtown Houston on a thrust
stage and at the Purple Box Theater
in Friendswood on a proscenium
stage. The different stages made a
huge difference. I had never been in
a play on a thrust stage, which means
the audience is on all sides. It’s very
intimate/up close to the action onstage.
Q How did you get into acting?
That started right after law
school. I knew I wanted to be a litigator,
and I was living in a small town in
Louisiana where I had more time, and I
wanted to hone my public speaking
skills. I was somewhat shy as well and felt
being onstage would be a way to force
myself to be a little less shy.
The first play I did was called “The
Women.” I played Miriam Aarons,
who was a chorus girl/mistress,
which was so completely far afield
from anything anybody would expect
from me. It took me out of my box
and forced me to be less shy.
Q Did it take more than one play to achieve your goals, or did you
break through it in that first play?
The first one did it. Wearing
a blonde wig and ball gowns, etc., that
one helped me quite a bit. I did other
plays after that, but I was a lot more
comfortable with those.
Q Is there anything else that people who only know you professionally
might be surprised to learn about you?
I think my participation in
the theater is the most surprising to
people. I had done some comedy once
as well, and because most people
encounter me being somewhat serious,
I think that took them by surprise that
they would see me being funny onstage.
In “A Few Good Men,” I was crying in
one scene and was told that took people
by surprise, too.
Q You said you were retiring from community theater?
It’s a huge time
commitment, so I don’t think I’ll be
doing too many in the future.
Q How many plays have you done?
Probably seven. There was
a huge amount of time in between. I’d
done it when I was in small towns and I
had more time. Then I was on the
Friendswood City Council and a theater
had just opened, so I did a play there
just to give them more attention.
Nobody knew there was live theater in
Friendswood, so I did it to try to
promote the theater. Then the second
one I did in Friendswood was “Steel
Magnolias.” I did that because I had
lived in Natchitoches, where it was
based, and had met all the folks. So the
plays I did in Friendswood always had
an emotional appeal for me. “A Few
Good Men” is obviously a legal drama,
so that’s why I did that one.
Q You mentioned you had been a runner at one time.
I’ve done over a dozen
marathons, and I could do one tomorrow
if I had to. I don’t think you really need to
train for them if you don’t care about
your race time.
Q How did you get into running marathons? Were you just looking
for a personal challenge?
I had never paid for a race. I
Christmas Festival. So, the first paid race
I did was a 5k in Natchitoches. Then I
was challenged that I probably couldn’t
do a half-marathon, so I went ahead and
did that in New Orleans. And since I’d
done the half, my first full marathon was
in L.A., and I did that just to prove that I
could. I thought I’d be done after that,
but somehow when you start doing
marathons, you just don’t stop right
away. You forget the pain, and you do
Q I saw in your biography on your firm’s website that you attended the
U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate
School at Quantico, Virginia. How was
I did the PLC-Combined
program (a 10-week program that
covers the Marine Corps’ Officer
Candidates Course and the Platoon
Leaders Class). My officer selection
officer (OSO) was from Michigan State.
Since my family was in New Jersey, I
was shipped out of there as a courtesy.
I arrived at Newark Airport, and
everyone but me—including the other
women—were wearing khakis, polos,
and docksiders. They wore no jewelry or
makeup, and had duffle bags for luggage.
I, on the other hand, wore a nice rayon
Limited summer jumper, cute flats, gold
jewelry, and makeup. My luggage with
wheels was heavy because I brought all
kinds of books to read, including study
material for the LSAT. Needless to say,
I never opened a book during OCS.
When we landed at the airport in
D.C., I was an easy target as we were
initiated into OCS. But to the instructors’
amusement, I was the only one who had
a copy of my orders on me. Everyone
else had their only copy in their luggage.
I had read you had to have your orders
on you at all times, so I had copies in my
pocket, wallet, tote bag, luggage, etc.
Our platoon t-shirt was “Pain is
Temporary, Pride is Forever.” I preferred,
“It was the best of times, it was the
worst of times.” I went into OCS sorrier
than Private Benjamin but improved
and advanced in our squad rankings.
The first time we had to march was
hilarious. My only reference point was
“Hogan’s Heroes”—not quite Marine
Corps style. It took no time at all for the
platoon sergeant to yell, “Candidate
Brown D., stop that duck marching!”
My hair was at an odd length, and I was
chided by the platoon sergeant every
day during the first week about my hair
being unset as it frizzed up in Quantico’s
humidity. I had spent months growing
it out. The first time they took us to the
exchange, I had the barber cut my hair
super short so that I could last the 10
weeks without more complaints about
my hair. I had enough things to worry
about and wanted to remove the things
I could easily control. When I got back
on the bus, the platoon sergeant was
shocked that I had cut off all my hair.
That experience probably contributes
unconsciously to why I get Keratin
treatments nowadays to tame the frizz.
As we rehearsed for “A Few Good Men”
in the last couple months, a lot of my
USMC OCS experiences came back to
me. At the time, I struggled with my
decision to decline the commission,
especially after all the top brass comes
to talk to you to try to convince you
otherwise. I sometimes wonder what
may have been if I had accepted. J