Elizabeth Lord takes on personal life choices in 'The Swimsuit Area'

Contributing writerJune 6, 2013 

Elizabeth Lord's one-woman show "The Swimsuit Area" runs this weekend only at the Midnight Sun.

AARON BREDLAU — Courtesy of Elizabeth Lord


    What: Storyteller Elizabeth Lord’s new one-woman show tackles the intimate topic of reproduction.

    When: 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday, June 7-9

    Where: The Midnight Sun Performance Space, 113 N. Columbia St., Olympia

    Tickets: $10-$20 on a sliding scale at the door, or $15 at brownpapertickets.com/event/385363. (No one will be turned away for lack of payment.)

    Also: The show is intended for ages 18 and older.

Although she’s been telling stories professionally since 1996, Elizabeth Lord admits she’s pretty nervous about her latest one-woman show.

“Usually before performing, maybe a half hour before the show, you get a little nervous flutter in your belly or your chest,” Lord said this week. “That’s to be expected. But this flutter business has been going on for two weeks.”

“The Swimsuit Area” is playing this weekend only at The Midnight Sun, and as the title suggests, it’s about a sensitive topic.

In the show’s press release, Lord defines it this way: “Those areas on a woman’s body (the breasts and the crotch area) that are socially forbidden to touch, reveal, or even gaze at too long, unless you know the woman, and she agrees to that touch or gaze.”

More specifically, the show is about what Lord is calling “unparenthood.”

“I think there are a number of people who are choosing not to be parents,” she said, “and I wanted to explore why that is, if it was a big deal for them or not.”

Those extra flutters are about the fact that she’ll be speaking very personally about the topic — and to her, it clearly is a big deal.

“It’s terrifying,” she said. “I am really wound up about it because of the personal nature. It’s one thing to say, ‘I worked in a bar, and one night, this funny thing happened,’ but it’s another to talk about my own personal life choices on an issue that’s important to many people.”

She didn’t consider holding back out of fear, though. “Whenever I think, ‘That’s going too far’ or ‘That’s a little scary,’ that’s when I have to say yes,” she said. “That’s usually the story that when I tell it, people will come up to me later and say, ‘Thank you for telling that. That’s my story, too.’ ”

This show has been two years in the making, though Lord usually aims to mount at least one-woman show per year. Not that she has a lot of free time, since she also tells stories in a variety of other settings, and acts, directs, hosts Lord Franzannian’s Royal Olympian Spectacular Vaudeville Show and manages The Midnight Sun.

As if all that weren’t enough, Lord recently performed for the first time at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle over Memorial Day weekend.

“They only gave me 20 minutes,” she said. “I thought, ‘What am I going to do in 20 minutes?’ But I told three stories.”

She told a personal story and two folktales, one aimed at kids. “I got to show them the range of what I do,” she said.

“They applauded me,” she said. “They loved me. I felt like a star. All these people tried to hug me afterward.”

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