Actress/Playwright Tina Lifford Brings “The Circle” to Chicago

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What other alternative health certifications and licenses have you’ve acquired, and how have they helped you develop/maintain Waking Up Fabulous? I’m a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute, the Master’s Program in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica, and a licensed Spiritual Practitioner of Religious Science. I’m a certified hypnotherapist and have attended over a 100 hours in various alternative health courses. Every course I take is taken to grow myself into being the best leader I can be for Waking Up Fabulous.

How did all of this evolve into you writing The Circle? I have two passions: acting and inner fitness. For years, I’d been mulling the question of how to support people with better navigating life without the answer being religious, or me seeming arrogant. I’d also wanted to write something that would meld my two passions. The Circle is truly a gift.

I’d been trying to write a non-fiction book and kept running into infuriating dead ends with how to structure it and succinctly articulate the spiritual psychology concepts that have so powerfully impacted my life. After trying to write my first book for four years, I threw my hands and decided it wasn’t meant to be. A week later I woke with The Circle on my mind and a very clear way to approach it. I scheduled a ton of interviews with women from every walk of life and age range. After each interview some aspect of the interview would resonate, and I’d go home and write a monologue using that interview as inspiration. I was always touched by what came out. In a very short period of time (compared to the years I had put into trying to write my nonfiction book), I had something good enough to take to a dramaturge.

I worked on deconstructing the monologues and placing them in a story. When I asked professional actresses to do us the favor participating in a reading of our rough draft to see what we had, I was shocked to see how deeply the material touched the actresses. I knew I had something and I continued to work.When I put it up the first time to see how a paying audience would respond, I was not prepared for the enthusiastic way the audience speaks up and out during the show. It was and is exciting. The Circle continues to surprise me at every performance.

Tell us a bit more about the play… The Circle debuted in March 2011 at The Matrix Theater in Los Angeles. It has been used as entertainment at women’s conferences and as a fundraising event for organizations. Waking Up Fabulous has produced at total of 14 shows, including performances in San Diego and Atlanta, and a ‘Circle’ workshop in Uganda.

You feature local celebrities in the play. Who’s joining the cast in Evanston? The Circle was written to be performed ‘on book’ (with scripts in hand) to allow us the flexibility of going into cities and using local talent and celebrities, without intense rehearsal schedules and the time commitment required for memorization. We are excited to be using the talents of Chicago based actors Barbara Roberts, Diane Dorsey, Iris Lieberman, Marssie Mencotti and Joi-Anissa Russell.

What else is on the horizon for you, Ms. Lifford? There is yet another equally profound way The Circle has been a gift to me. It reshaped how I was approaching my non-fiction book. In 2012, I was able to finish my non-fiction book titled The Little Book of BIG LIES. It is written in the form of 14 stories that help deliver the message of the power and practicality of self-acceptance. It was released November 2012 and has been on Amazon’s Top Rated list for the past two months.

The Circle is playing at the Music Institute of Chicago (1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston), February 25-26. For more info, visit, www.thecircleplay.com.

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About Carrie Williams

Carrie Williams is TCW's managing/digital editor. She manages day-to-day editorial operations of the monthly print publication, website and social media outlets, contributes to a variety of feature articles and directs a team of interns, freelance writers and bloggers. In early 2013, she led the redesign of TCWmag.com/restructure of TCW's brand strategy. Her blog, "Carrie On," is a blog of reflection and discovery, discussing how to push through life when you’re handed one too many curveballs. And finally, Ms. Williams is also executive director of the TCW Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting underfunded women's and children's organizations.