Friday’s Interesting People- Mary Aalgaard

(Mary in character as Aubrey before a performance.)

Today, I am fipping out (yes I said fipping) because blogger friend, Mary Aalgaard is here on this week’s episode of Friday’s Interesting People.  Mary has a blog called Play Off the Page and if you’ve spent any time on her blog (or lurked) you may recall that she writes articles, teaches piano, is a playwright and a mom of four boys. But, why am I telling you this when we can hear from Mary herself.

Hey, Mary, thanks for coming by and agreeing to be one of my FIPs. Let’s talk about your writing first.

JW: What do you write?

Mary: I write articles for a local women’s magazine and a few other publications. I write reviews of plays for a couple theatres in the twin cities in Minnesota, as well as entertainment reviews from the area where I live. I also write plays. I love all the writing I do because I meet fascinating people, enjoy wonderful performances, and really stretch myself in all areas of writing.

JW: Since I read your blog regularly (or peek in your windows), I happen to know you’ve had a play produced. What does it feel like to see your own play in production?

Mary: Exhilarating! It was the highlight of my life. I felt like I was the conductor of a creative train, and more and more people jumped on board at each station. It truly was a life changing experience.

JW: What is your daily writing schedule like?

Mary: Ha ha ha ha (sorry, got distracted) Now, that it’s summer, I have no schedule. During the school year, I do most of my writing in the morning, often at coffee shops.

JW: What is the wackiest way an idea (for a play) has come to you?

Mary: I was in a meeting for a group called the Lakes Area Memory Awareness Advocates (LAMAA). They were planning a Forum on Alzheimer’s and dementia that included food. For some reason, I had the idea that “Buffet Line Confessions” would be a hilarious setting. Talked to a friend later who said, “You wouldn’t believe what people will talk about while waiting at the omelet station.”

JW: What are you working on right now?

Mary: Trying to find some creative space. However, two titles that have popped up are “Choir Loft Confessions” and “Kitchen Table Confessions.”

JW: As a piano teacher, how does your profession weave into your writing? Or does it?

Mary: They go together like lyrics and a fine melody. One is the rhythm, the other the notes. My students inspire me. I find that having an understanding of music helps me write my reviews, and I do have thoughts of working with kids on a show called “Piano Bench Confessions.”

JW: Ok, now I want to talk about your childhood. Did you have a dog, a cat or an imaginary friend?

Mary: All of the above. I grew up on a farm, so I liked hanging out in the barn and looking for the newborn kitties. We always had a dog. I had a whole crew of imaginary friends. They still talk to me!

JW: Were you a.) Loner, b.) Leader, c.) Bossy d.) Follower, e.) Shy

Mary: At times a Loner which might seem strange because I’m from a big family, but I did like finding my own quiet space now and then. I have also been a Leader when it comes to performing and playing piano. The other title I claim is accompanist. And, there are times when I feel Shy, like in crowds and meeting lots of new people at one time.

JW: What did you believe, as a child, that you found out later was not correct?

Mary: I thought that just kids learned new things. That adults already knew how do stuff just because they’re older. Not at all true. You can be the kindergartner in a class or learn a new skill at any age.

JW: Because I’m known for random nonsense information, let me ask you, neat handwriting or I should have been a physician handwriting?

Mary: It’s not great, but readable. I tend to write too fast.

JW: Ok, imagine this: You are given a mission to set up housekeeping for 3 months. You may choose your location: camping on the moon, house under the sea or a space station. What will you chose and why.

Mary: Camping on the Moon. I suppose I’ll need some type of potion or device to breath up there. Since it’s made of cheese, I’ll pack plenty of crackers, and I’ll spend my days connecting the star dots. Maybe I’ll come up with new constellations.

Thanks, Mary, for coming by.

Here’s a little more about Mary:
Mary is a playwright, writer, and piano teacher in the Brainerd lakes area of Minnesota. She has four sons, one cat named Leo, and many wonderful friends. Her blog, Play off the Page, is an inspirational blog where she also writes entertainment reviews. Her publicist, Krista Rolfzen Soukup, at Blue Cottage Agency, is the driving force in her play's success and in building up in her career, not to mention, she is a dear friend. Mary’s motto is: Go. Create. Inspire!
Be sure to go pop on over to Play Off The Page to say hello.  

Do you, my friends, go to plays? Play the piano? Wish you were the star in a play?


Welcome, Mary. Thanks for being my guest.
Unknown said…
Awesome interview. I think it would be fantastic to have a play produced and to write with four boys, WOW!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who still talks to my imaginary friends.
shelly said…
This was a very nice interview.

Cate Masters said…
You're amazing, Mary - how do you find time to do everything?
It must be fantastic to see your play in production. Does it make you nervous that the actors won't portray your characters as you saw them?
Mary Aalgaard said…
Good Morning, Teresa, and all your lovely Readers. I believe that we all make time for what we love. I HAVE to play the piano to help me unwind or process things or just because I need to make music. It's the same with writing. I hear those voices in my head, and I know the only way to stay sane is to let them out on paper.

Cate, I was not one bit nervous about how the actors would portray the characters. They were so wonderful, even more than what I imagined them to be. My characters came alive through them.
Lynn Proctor said…
what a great interview--i really enjoyed it-- i used to love to see plays and every time i did--the old acting bug would hit me---then later i was only interested in writing and directing--and yeah i play for my own amusement on the piano
Mary Aalgaard said…
Excellent, Lynn, it's always part of you!
Carol Kilgore said…
Another great interview. Nice to meet you, Mary.

I love to go to plays. I play piano but have no real talent. And I'll never be the star in a play. I'm a horrible actor.
We definitely keep learning when we are older! (Although some people try not to.)
The theme of confessions is really strong - something there we should know about?
Great interview, ladies!
Beth Stilborn said…
What a delightful glimpse into Mary's life! I'm a regular reader of her blog, and appreciate her creativity so much.

I am a pianist who rarely plays (because I'm always playing the keyboard of my laptop instead -- I'm also a writer), an actor whose starring roles are all in her head, and a director whose actors perform in her writing. And I LOVE Mary's motto, "Go! Create! Inspire!"
Mary Aalgaard said…
Carol, believe in yourself and you'll be the star you wish to be.

Alex, so many places for confessions to happen!

Beth, thanks for your support and inspiring words!
It's great seeing everyone today. Thanks for coming by to learn more about Mary.
Jemi Fraser said…
Fabulous interview ladies! It must be an incredible feeling to watch something as complicated as a stage play you've written go through all those stages to completion! Amazing :)
Mary Aalgaard said…
Jemi, every leg of this journey was/is amazing!
Nick Wilford said…
Nice interview. I think play writing would be a great thing to try for any writer as everything hinges on the dialogue - not an easy thing to pull off. I used want to be an actor until I found I preferred lurking behind the scenes to being centre stage!
Betty Manousos said…
such a great interview!
i thoroughly enjoyed it!
mary is really awesome!
Mary is a wonderful person... a breath of frsh air...
She is connected to her inner child and has retained the spirit of playfulness.
Unknown said…
Great interview! Thanks Teresa and Mary. Mary, the success of your play is so exciting. Congrats! :)
Anonymous said…
Hi mary, long time no see! I saw Fiddler on the Roof and Showboat (with Tom Bosley from Happy Days). We saw Mary Poppins last year and a kids play of Alice in Wonderland a couple weeks ago.
Margaret Almon said…
Thank you Teresa for interviewing Mary! She is one of my favorite blogger friends, with great writing prompts for journaling. I am taken with the buffet-line confessions idea, and of course as an artist, I'm thinking "craft show booth confessions" would be intriguing as well.
Mary Aalgaard said…
You are all so generous with your comments and compliments. I take a bow to this verbal applause. Go. Create. Inspire!!!

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