Thought Provoking Stories at Word NOW!, Fremont Centre Theatre

By Alisa Hayashida

Word NOW storytellers from L-R, Will Link, Sam Shaber, Lynn Ferguson, Jill Remez, Betty Goldstein, Bill Brochtrup, Marni Ayers, Parker Mills and Keri Dearborn.

There’s been buzz around town that something exciting is happening every other month on Sunday evenings at Fremont Centre Theatre and indeed it is. Word Now is the brain child of actress/producer Jill Remez and Emmy award winner Mike Lawshe in association with Fremont Centre Theatre. Every other month, eight of the brightest, most interesting storytellers in Los Angeles are invited to come to South Pasadena to tell us their stories. The evening is full of stimulating ideas which get discussed boisterously over wine during intermission and afterwards in the lobby, making for a terrific night of shared failures, triumphs, loss and in this Sunday’s stories, independence.

The packed house at the Fremont heard from Major Crimes and NYPD Blue actor, Bill Brochtrup, who told of a hysterical and ultimately enlightening experience of going on a “handshake” USO tour of the middle east. The irascible Will Link told a story of finding a little too much independence when he found himself out of a job. Rogue Machine Theatre’s Marni Ayers told a poignant story of a daughter who despite all intentions of attachment parenting, seeks independence from her mother from the get go. Lead singer of The Happy Problem, Sam Shaber, told her story of personal independence that spanned a lifetime, taking her from her six year old self to her fifteen year old self on her own for a summer in Edinburgh, to her current self and then on to a vision of herself at 80.

Solo show artist Parker Mills was heartbreakingly funny as a child basically left to fend for himself his whole life until one day, recently, due to an illness, finally learned what it felt like to be taken care of….and that he liked it very much. Keri Dearborn took us all on a lovely journey to Independence Lake and the story of how her ancestors came to be there, how they fished those waters and a terrific story of her father’s fishing rules and what they ended up meaning to her. Moth Story Slam winner, Betty Goldstein, told the travails of being flat chested, being a late bloomer and gaining freedom from a controlling Italian first husband. And finally, comedy writer, Lynn Ferguson, told a story of her perceived independence going from a small town to Glasgow to London and finally to Los Angeles and of the text she received from her son that let her know it would all be okay.

A very cool thing is happening in our town, folks. These evenings are quite special so be on the lookout for their next appearance on September 18, when eight more storytellers come to town to explore the meaning of Fall; might it be something that happened in the fall? A fall from grace? Falling in love? Only one way to find out. See you September 18th! For more information about Word NOW! and to listen to this podcast as well as past podcasts go to

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