Cast Spotlight on Francie Arenson Dickman

by Tracey on April 13, 2016

Let me just say this about Francie Arenson Dickman: she brought her parents to the audition and they sat off to the side, chuckling along the entire time. After she finished her audition piece, we looked at her mother and she said, through giggles and a huge smile, “It’s all true. That’s exactly how it happened.” 

You’ll want to come to the show to find out, TRUST ME. 

Here’s a humorous essay by Francie as is featured on her new blog,

“This Is Me, Off the Books”

I’m having a bad day. Another one. For starters, the coffee table I ordered came unassembled so its parts are scattered around my living room. The dog won’t stop barking at them. Also, due to recent surgery (related to a treatable case of breast cancer), I’m on my ninth day of wearing a bra, an underwire, 24/7. On top of that, I need to find something for dinner tonight which can’t involve chicken or eggs, pasta or bread or dairy because my husband, my once overweight husband, the man whose every food order was adjectived by the term “loaded,” no longer eats the building blocks of the meals I know how to make. He’s now a vegan. Or maybe he’s Paleo. Or maybe, he’s cheating on me. I’m uncertain. But I look at him as he counts out his almonds—one of his 6 trillion snacks per day—and I don’t recognize him.

For years, he’s been contending that he’s the same size that he was on our wedding day. And now, low and behold, just this morning, before the coffee table delivery, he announces as he comes out of the bathroom with his jeans wrapped double around his body that he’s down 27 pounds. “I’m back to where I was at our wedding.”weddingpic

Instead of congratulating him or issuing the same encouragement or praise I’d be so conscious to bestow upon my children, I say, “I told you so.”

He says, “No you didn’t.”

Even as my mother’s words of wisdom to us at our wedding, to treat each other with kid gloves, come floating back to mind, I say, “I’ve been telling you for years that you are not the same as you were at our wedding.”

The reality, which he is either too kind to point out or as it strikes me now, too busy having an affair with someone—possibly the nutritionist—to point out, is that neither am I. I’ve got wrinkles that I refuse to treat with Botox. I have hot flashes that I refuse to treat with Paxil.

And, beat this, up until last week, I only had one nipple. This is in addition to being crabby. And may I add, old. Suddenly, I’m making people (my husband and kids to be specific) take off their shoes when they come in the house. And, I’m accessorizing. Fresh flowers are now in our powder room. The thermostat, set to 65, is not to be touched. A whole downhill slide in a matter of months.

“It’s hormonal,” I hear.

“It’s all the surgeries, you’ve been through a lot,” I get that response, too.

But it’s not those things that have aged me. I know it. It’s my book, which, ironically, for ten years, a decade, my husband has been asking in various backhanded ways, when I will finish.

No matter how backhanded, my reply has been straightforward, “So, you don’t think I can finish it? Are you saying you think I should do something else with my time?”

He’d claim that wasn’t it, he was just so excited to see what would happen next with it.

Now that it’s finished I can tell him that he should have been less concerned with what will happen next with it, and more concerned about what would happen next with me. Though I have no idea what will become of my book, I have, lickety-split, become my mother, or at least a version of her, an adult who has an organized desk and window treatments which she claims, if you look carefully enough, are not perfectly aligned.

Jokes on them, it turns out, ‘cause my novel, which everyone was so eager for me to finish, was the only thing standing between function and dis as far as marriage and family go. I wasn’t just writing a book. I was keeping the peace. I’d created an alternate universe. One to which, when marriage and motherhood got too defining, I was happy to go. As happy as others were for me to be there.

Now, instead of disappearing to the Florida of my youth and putting words in the mouths of people I made up, I hide out at the top of the staircase and wait in watch for people I actually made to slip up and walk with shoes over the rug, this much too costly, much too colorful rug that I planted in the main thoroughfare of our main floor. Then when they do, like a cop in a speed trap, I nab’ em. “You’re on the rug.” That’s the kind of shit I pull now.

I guess, in the back of my mind, I’ve always known it would come to this. Not that I’d end up hovering over a rug, I never imagined that, but that one day I’d be done. I’d look up from my pen and paper and not know where I was. I’ve written about it before, but always in the future tense, the hypothetical, the somewhere out there timeframe. It was always “when” and “will be”, as in, “When I finish my book, my kids will be grown.” Now I speak in terms of it is and they are.

And, it’s not only they but we. Or at least me. My husband, as I’ve mentioned, says that he has never felt better.

I tell him that’s because he’s sleeping with the nutritionist.

“I only wish,” he says as he crunches on the almonds.

I tell him to chew more quietly, the sound annoys me.

He crunches louder and tells me to go start another book.familypic


Tickets on sale NOW to hear more from Francie and all of the cast!

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