Showing posts from September, 2023

Riding the Tiger with Ellen McLaughlin

"When rehearsals for King Lear started," friend, actor and playwright Ellen McLaughlin told us our first night on the river, "Just ride the tiger. That's what my director told me."   Ellen had been starring in King Lear as King Lear, a female actor portraying one of Shakespeare's most demanding and tragic male characters. The director didn't tell Ellen to hire a voice coach and learn to speak like a man, or to dress like a man (which Ellen wouldn't have done anyway). She told Ellen to ride the tiger.   The show opened and closed to packed audiences and critical acclaim. A day and a half after Ellen's final exhilarating performance, and after a brief reunion with her husband who had driven two thousand miles to celebrate their anniversary, I whisked her away for an all-women, 6-day rafting trip on Utah's Green River.      Our trip leader Brenda had been with me for nearly all of my river writing journeys over the last twenty-six years. She app