About Kate Phillips

Founder of Total Wealth Coaching, Kate is a holistic life and financial coach, specializing in wealth-building strategies and "prosperity therapy." Creator of Living in Abundance (for women only) and many other workshops, Kate lives in Washington state and is also a professional singer-songwriter.

Check out our latest review in the Pike Place Market Times!

10 Days Takes You All the Way

Market Maven Donna Rae Davidson’s Latest Production, a Comedic Musical About the Wonders of Vipassana, Takes the Audience on a Full Circle Journey

BY MEGAN LEE

Anyone who knows this creative powerhouse, musical mama and outwardly cynical chic smelled something amiss when she began talking about the retreat she was planning, last Fall.

That she’d signed up for a retreat rooted in ten days of “noble silence” and meditation sounded like more than an adventure, even if she heard the (vegetarian) food was good. No reading, no writing, no music, no eye-contact. . . no, no, no.

But, like any adversity the best thing to do is to write about it, to make sense of it, and to evaluate it, and to make it funny?

Davidson does all is as she takes her full audiences on a painfully funny, 90 minute pilgrimage in “10 Days To Happiness: One Woman’s Hilariously Tortured Search for Enlightenment.” The production begins with ‘Day One,’ guided by gongs, coming to the realization she’s thrust herself into a prison term of ten and a half hours, a day, of silent meditation, rooted in Vipassanā.

She autobiographically bounces between pissed-off and peaceful in this one woman show, accompanied by a cleverly shadowing supporting cast of three, as she counts down the days. She tongue-in-cheeky explains her internal quandaries and struggles, such as contemplating stealing a pen from the water cup labeling table, as she counts down the days. She talks about the nicknames for people who stand out in her mind. She sees her influ­ences, and misses her life. Her life which she previously questioned, landing her in this predicament.

She signed a contract to be peaceful, and though wrestling with it violently, she pulls through. We watch how by Day 8 the immersion becomes less painful and she begins to see the light, at the end of the tunnel. Her audio visual aids, including many notable Market personalities and details, add immensely to the produc­tion, pulling the audience through as she pulls herself along by her crazy panties, even posting them up on the clothes-line and daring others to read them.

10 Days to Day to Happiness, continues, Friday and Saturday Nights, at 8 pm, and the Amazing Grace Spiritual Center, in sunny Ballard, through March 15. Unless it is extended. We recommend it to one and all, even a fisher­man could get a laugh on this one! For more information and/or to buy tickets find the website or go to brownpa­pertickets.org.

A theater group in New York has contacted her about using the script, which is all the more reason to see it here first. Davidson is also known for her many musicals from “The North Arcade” to “Claudia Kelly’s 500 Hats.”

Check out our latest review!

Check out our latest review by Jerry Kraft of Seattle Actor.

Review – 10 Days to Happiness

Angel Productions Inc.

February 28, 2014

It’s a simple enough mistake. A woman whose life is a mess finds an ad for a peaceful retreat in the country that only requires a donation to pay for the food and lodging. Her mistake is that she somehow overlooks the fact that a Vipassan retreat involves total silence for the entire time and ten and half hours a day of meditation. Well… in Donna Rae Davidson‘s very funny and smartly engaging “10 Days to Happiness” we learn a great deal about this woman, as well as the silent companions around her, and what this experience changes in her and her understanding of life.

 

As the central character in what is essentially a one-woman show (as the others are silent almost throughout) Davidson has a big job in carrying a 90 minute soliloquy, as what we are hearing is a combination of her thoughts at the time and her recollection of the experience. Much to her credit as a writer, the show never really gets tiresome or redundant, although the daily repetition of the discipline is certainly challenging. At the same time that it has fun with the formality and enforced calm of meditation, she is always pushing her own distinctive, exasperated personality at the same time that she is being internally transformed.

This woman is a big character, loud, brash, assertive at the same time that she is honest enough to know that the way she’s been running her life hasn’t really been working. From the moment she steps on stage it’s apparent that she’s gotten herself into something that she’s not sure she can endure, at the same time that she’s clearly not a quitter. What she will gradually guess about the identities of those students around her will be the markers for the re-definition of herself.

 

Co-directed by Therese Diekhans and Laurel Paxton, my biggest criticism is that the strident tone in which she enters the experience is sustained too long and thus we are not able to see a gradual emergence of the change that she will recognize at the show’s conclusion. Even if that initial, emotional orientation is, in fact, carried too long, the play really requires more variation and modulation in her tone and volume. I think we need to see her gradually moving more deeply into herself to accept the process of changes that are taking place within that interior consciousness.

 

As the others who populate the retreat, all three of the supporting players were remarkably successful in creating distinct and well-rounded characters with almost no dialogue until the end, when they are allowed a “talking” day and we are able to see who they really are, as opposed to who Donna has made them in her mind. Lara Fox, Angela Amos and Katherine Grant play a number of characters, all of whom are much purer meditators (at least in Donna’s mind) and all of whom are unique, recognizable and amusing. I especially enjoyed Angela Amos’ “slow walking woman”, Katherine Grant’s “Teacher” and her “breakfast place stealer” and Lara Fox’s sense of advanced depth and authority throughout.

 

The use of projected images above the stage and a music score by Rob Jones (with clever lyrics by Davidson) and the additional characters added to the scale of the world within the retreat and removed us from the fundamental, self-centered constraints of a solo show. The Scenic design was both practical and quite effective. The costumes, the movement and the overall emotional setting was believable and effective.

 

This production is a re-mounting of a production that was first done in October at the same location, with a different music director and, no doubt, a few changes in the script. It is a fast-paced, worthwhile, enjoyable and smartly realized piece of work and one that will leave you thinking about just how much you might be able to hear if you could silence your own voice, your own mind, long enough to hear the reality of your own life.

 

Jerry Kraft

http://www.SeattleActor.com

 

 

Opening weekend was a huge success!

Opening weekend was a huge success! A cacophony of laughter filled the Amazing Grace Spiritual Center and the attendees thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Opening night found the cast and crew excited, adrenaline pumped, and butterfly filled. They all did an amazing job and the show, aside from a runaway gong, came off without a hitch.

Tickets sales have been brisk and tomorrow nights seat are going fast. Get your tickets at:

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/562873

We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

New Cast, new show, new music…

We are very excited about the remount of this show! We have a very talented new supporting cast, some new exciting additions to the show and new original music by composer Rob Jones.

In the October production of 10 Days to Happiness we featured the music of the very talented James Howard. This time around we have an entire new score by award winning composer Rob Jones.

10-days-rob-jones

Composer and musical director Rob Jones(aka Robinski Jones) brings his melodic talents to 10 Days to Happiness in 2014. A musical theater veteran with more than 20 years experience, Jones has musically directed and conducted many new works, most notably at Seattle Children’s Theatre, Bathhouse Theatre, Empty Space, Crepe de Paris, Village Theatre and the Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland. A tireless and gifted performer, Rob credits his father (whose piano standards were anything but standard) and one whimsical church organist/teacher (who amused Rob by sneaking TV theme songs and jingles into reflective interludes during church services) for instilling him with a passion for creating lively, entertaining music.

Rob and the Spirit of the Sound choir have recorded a number of original (sort of) chants featuring some very familiar themes such as Doo Wah Diddy, Yabba Daba Doo, Wholey Moley and more. These recordings provide a hysterical background ambiance for this new version of 10 Days to Happiness. The tracks communicate beautifully the comedic struggle of Donna Rae Davidson’s Vipassana meditation retreat.

Don’t miss it! Get your tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/562873

10 Days to Happiness – Back by Popular Demand!

After a successful opening run to full houses and rave reviews in October of 2013 at Amazing Grace Spiritual Center, the question everyone keeps asking is, “When will 10 Days to Happiness play again!?”

Finally, we have a definitive answer… 10 Days begins a new run Thursday night, February 20th! Returning to Amazing Grace Spiritual Center in Ballard, performances will be held every Friday and Saturday night through March 15, with Saturday matinees the last two weeks.
Monk-image
The show will feature new music, Buddhist-ish chants composed by Rob Jones with lyrics by Donna Rae Davidson. The chants will be recorded by the Spirit of the Sound choir directed by Amazing Grace Spiritual Center’s Reverend Eric O’Del, also a longtime theatre colleague of Davidson and Jones. The production will also welcome a new cast and assistant director. Praised for both its gentle lessons and its humor, Davidson promises the new production will be funnier than ever.

Find out more about 10 Days to Happiness on our home page.

Learn about the people behind the play.

Read the Rave Reviews from our opening run!

Tickets will be available in early February. Stay tuned for more news!

10 Days to Happiness Opens to Rave Reviews!

Opening night of 10 Days to Happiness

“Dhamma Rae” Davidson meditates as the opening night audience fills the seats.

Award-winning playwrite and actor Donna Rae Davidson’s new play debuted to a standing-room-only audience Friday, October 4th at Amazing Grace Spiritual Center. Earning standing ovations both Friday and Saturday evening, 10 Days to Happiness proved that it could make audiences happy in less than two hours!

“10 Days to Happiness: A One-Woman Play that Offers Laughs”

The first “official” press review came from Peggy Sturdivant of The Ballard-News Tribune. A positive, even enthusiastic review, she describes dragging her “tired self” to Amazing Grace on opening evening reluctantly, to end up feeling very glad that she had gone and had found herself “so entertained, and perhaps even enlightened, without leaving Ballard, because I could see a heck of a lot of Donna Rae Davidson in myself.” Continue reading