When 9-year-old Sarah Maria Everett asked why she was different, her mother said she was an eagle. Most people are more like ravens and crows, her mother said. There’s nothing wrong with being a raven or crow, of course, they just tend to flock. Eagles soar alone.
Everett has flown her own path ever since; a path of individual pursuit culminating this weekend in “Calico: A Collection of Original Skits.” Six skits will be presented at the Gold Town Nickelodeon. Everett has either produced, co-written, directed or is starring in each of them. She’s energy incarnate; a walking power plant.
Lately, be it pollen or actual age, I have felt old. My knees ache, my nose is taking over my face, and I regularly snip ear lobe whiskers. But at no time did I feel older last week than interviewing Everett. She would answer my slow, glutinous, gloppy interview questions with earnest, quick and darting thoughtfulness. She’s like a hummingbird to my slime mold.
And her mom is right. Though my brain may be as nimble as cold peanut butter, I managed to recognize Everett for what she is — one of the most unique people I’ve ever encountered writing for the Empire’s Arts section.
Everett grew up in Juneau. She has always been a performer, acting in a number of student productions. In high school she performed in Roblin Gray Davis’ show “The Passage Inside” and was “hooked for life!” (This was a helpful connection to make, as Gray Davis has been providing guidance for her efforts with “Calico.”)
Also in high school, Everett discovered our fourth president, James Madison. She fell “literally head over heels for him, as a role model, an inspiration, and a dream.” Indeed, when it was time to go Outside for college, Everett left UAS and majored in Arts at James Madison University. Since 2009, she has been a scholar, interpreter and impersonator of James Madison. Today she visits local schools as James Madison, “bringing history to life.”
I understand that Everett in costume, as James Madison, is James Madison. She never breaks character. Never. If you are like me and stay up at night wondering how Madison might order a cheeseburger, hanging out with Everett-as-Madison could be very informative. So should an urgent need to speak to James Madison arise, check out Everett’s website, www.sarahmariaeverett.com, for contact information.
Everett has a wonderfully eclectic group of favorite actors. Each one inspires her in a different way. From relatively unknown voice actor Michel Michelis in “Cars 2,” to well-loved character actor Christopher Lloyd, to brilliant comedian Eddie Izzard, and especially to Michael Caine.
“Michael Caine, as all who know me know, has been my biggest inspiration,” she said. “His charm, his on-screen image as someone who performs in ‘being’ instead of ‘acting’.”
She knows their ages and career paths. For example, Caine is 82.
“He’s unstoppable,” I suggest.
“I knoooooOOOOOOOwwww!” Everett screams and I crack up.
There is much more to Everett than slightly obscure Founding Fathers and celebrities. I would be remiss not to mention her faith.
“(O)n top of all these people, it is to Jesus Christ, and my faith in God, that all credit and glory goes,” she said. “I would not be who I am or be as passionate about life without the grace and favor of God. My faith is everything to me.”
If you’re Facebook friends with Everett, or just chat with her for a few minutes, you will notice. I’m guessing her faith, this powerful force in her life, is the source of her incredible energy.
“Gosh, I just want to do something! To do something new! Get involved!”
“Calico” came about last November when Everett decided — by gum — it was time to do something. She brainstormed a showcase of skits. Her parents encouraged her. She already had a couple of skits from a James Madison University playwriting class. She put the word out on KRNN and Facebook if anyone had any skits they’d like to contribute. Enough family and friends responded to where she could set up a show.
“Calico” has no theme. There is no planned creative link between the skits. They are random excerpts from the minds of Juneauites. The title suggests black, white, amber, brown and yellow coming together into a nice ensemble. Even the age and experience of the actors suggest variety and differentiation according to Everett. Actors from age 9 to 51 will perform. Just a handful have acting experience, most are newcomers.
Everett believes there’s a performance niche in Juneau that “Calico” can fill. The production could position itself as a proving ground for new writers, actors and directors to try stage production.
“It’s an opportunity for writers, actors, directors to see (their work) come to life,” she said.
There is not the same intense time commitment for rehearsals with “Calico” as is the case with other theater venues in town. It’s a chance for interested folks to wet their toes in theatre.
Also, very important to Everett, it is an opportunity for adults and children to come together and work on family-friendly theater. She just hopes enough people come to “Calico” to justify more performance throughout the year.
Everett is an apostle of self-produced art. She wants “Calico” to be an encouragement to others. If you just want to do something, with a little bit of legwork and encouragement, it can happen in Juneau. She’s happy she doesn’t need to join one of the more established theatre groups in town to act. “Why join when I can produce my own stuff?” she said. “I have the capacity to do that. It’s where ‘Calico’ came from. Just an intense desire to do something. Whether I fail or succeed, I’m going to do something … And here it is seven months later and it’s about to happen.”
Some day, on a joyous buzzing cloud of electrons, Everett will leave Juneau for larger markets south. Now is your chance to watch her work so you can say you knew her when.
"Calico" showtimes are 5:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Gold Town Nickelodeon. Admission is pay-as-you-can at the door.
• Clint J. Farr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.