Recent performance at Big Picture Theater

This creativity memoir is woven with the first fairytale I knew by heart, is told with 800 projected photographs of miniature sets and is, of course, performed by my favorite cast.  I can’t tell you the name of it as that is part of What’s His Name’s game but I can say that this story was crafted with all artists in mind, is dedicated specifically to one but is for anyone who hears a relentless knocking… those who are dizzy from the spinning and maybe on a quest to know the name of it.  Join us at the Phantom Barn for some hints and maybe you’ll leave giving yourself a new name.

It started with a Google search for Growing Up Skipper.

Because people didn’t believe me and it was possible I made her up in my mind considering how deeply my childhood was steeped in imagination.

I searched for the VW bus for the same reason.

My cousin had the bus and passed it to me along with her Sunshine Family. Who were a better physical and aesthetic fit but I chose to shove Mod Ken in the driver’s seat instead… with his head sticking out the top and Super Star at his side, holding the stolen sunshine baby in bent arms.

When Growing Up Skipper and the VW bus came together with a Growing Up story about a VW bus trip I took in 1991, one idea led to another and I quickly realized that I was bringing all my favorite creative activities together under one roof but each of them left their particular drawbacks at the door. I could write without sitting for hours, create elaborate sets without needing a screw-gun, work in miniature without the royal icing limits of gingerbread and I could bring a story to life visually, in front of a live audience without lugging a carload of props to the stage.

Furthermore, the experience of calling up my oldest cast members, shrinking into a junk drawer in search of prop possibilities, snapping tiny snaps, tying wee ribbons or shimmying Ken’s stubborn thumb through a cuff (it gets caught every time!) gave me access to the exact, playful way I first learned to process what Rainer Maria Rilke describes as “This country called life, you will know it by its seriousness.”

It’s been a busload of fun.


Keryn Nightingale, her husband and Pitbull live in Warren, Vermont. Her three grown daughters orbit close by. She is beyond grateful to all of them for their ongoing support and encouragement.

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