Last month, it was all about being in love, but this month a performance by Melva Houston and Terri Ingalls is focusing on the other side of the equation.
On March 29, Houston and Ingalls will team up to present a light-hearted look at breaking up.
Entitled “Love is a Bore,” the performance will feature a collection of sassy, happy break-up songs like “50 Ways to Leave your Lover” and “These Boots are Made for Walking.”
Houston said she and Ingalls, a storyteller/actor, considered several concepts for the performance before settling on the topic of breaking up.
“Terri and I tossed around a number of ideas,” she said. “We wanted something different and fun, and this seemed to fit in both categories.”
Ingalls said she will be interweaving the works of Dorothy Parker into the program.
“I fell in love with Dorothy Parker’s work in college,” she said, “and over the years have committed a lot of her pieces to memory. This is the first time since college that I’ve done a group of them in one program. Some people shy away when they hear the word ‘poetry,’ but this is poetry unlike any other. It is witty, sarcastic and very tongue-in-cheek.”
For the uninitiated, Parker was an American poetry, short story writer, critic and satirist. Her works appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Vogue, and she was a founding member of the famed Algonquin Round Table. She was nominated for two Academy Awards as a Hollywood screenwriter, but her success was cut short due to her involvement in politics that placed her on the Hollywood blacklist.
“For all her wisecracking, Parker was not a happy woman,” Ingalls said. “She attempted suicide several times and grew increasingly dependent on alcohol. Several folks have asked how we’re treating the dark humor of her works, but as every storyteller knows you can take a negative stance or a positive one.
“I’m choosing the positive one and bringing out the humor in her pieces,” she continued. “After all, she’s the one who coined the phrase ‘men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses,’ and ‘beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.’”
Houston said it was difficult finding songs suitable for the tongue-in-cheek performance.
“Finding I’m-glad-you’re-gone songs has been a challenge,” she said with a laugh, “but I think we’ve got a good batch, and blending the poetry and music has been both challenging and fun. We’re having a good time and I think the audience will, too.”
Houston, a Mount Airy native, is a jazz and blues vocalist whose experience includes more than 20 years of performing in the U.S. and internationally. At age 16, she recorded with rhythm-and-blues greats such as Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Wilson Pickett and Sam and Dave. In addition to her concerts, she also teaches private vocal workshops and has received the adulation of countless audiences around the world.
Ingalls received a degree in theater at the University of California, San Diego, and worked professionally on the west coast for a number of years. Since moving to Mount Airy three decades ago, she has worked with the Surry Arts Council and the Cherry Orchard Theatre. Most recently, she played Frances Allen at the Hillsville Courthouse drama, “Thunder in the Hills.”
One of the founding members of Imagine That! Storytellers, she has been concentrating on storytelling for the past several years.
“Love is a Bore” will be presented on March 29 at 7 p.m. at the Old Jones School Auditorium.
Tickets are $10 and are available by calling Mark Gillespie at 789-2035.