Single-Minded Entrepreneurs: 2 Hopeful Spinsters
By Dellany Towne Peace & Heather Olt
A long time ago (well, not THAT long ago – you know, the 1970s), in a galaxy far, far away (Jamestown, North Carolina and Dayton, Ohio to be exact), there were two little girls (Dellany Towne Peace & Heather Olt ) who grew up in loving, yet non-traditional homes. It was those non-traditional elements (agoraphobic mom, loss of dad, toilets in the driveway, sister with special needs, saving pennies to go to the DQ), that shaped them into the trailblazers they are today.
From there… both growing up in small towns, missing dad, birthday parties, pets, lack of boyfriends, high school plays…knowing that we needed to move to the “big city” to reach our goal of someday seeing our names in lights. So, still having no idea about each other, we both set our sights on New York City and lived there at the same time through 9/11 (Dellany studying acting & dancing at the American Musical & Dramatic Academy and Heather performing in musical theatre after graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University) but – strangely enough – we never crossed paths. Until…
INT – RESTAURANT – DAY – SHERMAN OAKS, CALIFORNIA
Five years ago –
DELLANY, in her restaurant blacks, walks over to Heather, who is standing by the bar.
The place is dead.
DELLANY: (warm smile) Heather, right? Hi! My name’s Dellany. I’ll be training you tonight.
HEATHER: (smiling back) I was hoping it was you…
DELLANY & HEATHER: (in stereo) You look so familiar…
Then… more auditions, life’s ups and downs, restaurant jobs, missing mother, TV jobs, breakups, church, black-box theatre, trips home, headshots, agents… slowly realizing that together, we are super heroes who can save the world…one comedic bit at a time! (#serendipity), and NOW… we. are. here.
And Here is Now.
And NOW is: 2 Hopeful Spinsters.
A lot of people ask us about our title; what does “Hopeful Spinster” mean…? It’s an oxymoron to begin with – which is always interesting; not many people put these two words together naturally – so from the get-go we are already courting a level of “conflict”; and it is this very “conflict” – between these two words – where most of our show’s humor and emotion comes from… Which make sense – since the whole way we got the title was by flipping the script, if you will, when Heather was cast as a HOPEFUL SPINSTER on Up All Night back in February of 2012. We had coffee later that same night and Dellany said – I wonder if I’m a Spinster, too? And we looked it up right then and there and found out that – a Spinster is defined as a “woman still unmarried beyond the average age of marrying”; and then we looked that up – and found out that, YES, we both are SPINSTERS, since the average age of marrying in the United States is 27, which we surpassed a LONG time ago. Well, at least we’re not in Kuwait, where the average marrying age is 15.
And then – that same night – it was kinda like this little light bulb clicked on over our heads like you see in the cartoons (aside: we like cartoons a lot; we already have an animated-2HS concept percolating), and because great minds think alike, we both exclaimed – in eerie unison: let’s use this term SPINSTER as a vehicle to get out all of our ideas about what it’s like to be single women in 2013; let’s take this word and REdefine it; bend it into a shape so that it is NOW empowering (instead of negative) – without stigma – a NEW way of looking at an old precedent… Which really should be a NON-issue, anyway; as in, what’s the equivalent term for a single man who is over the average age of marrying? We’ll wait… Yup, it doesn’t really exist (at least not in the same way that Spinster does); the director of our PILOT, James Parris, has an answer to this quandary that always makes us laugh: George Clooney.
The idea exploded from there – and always centers on this idea: being single (whether by choice – or for whatever reason) is not a lessER lifestyle than being a member of a couple; it simply IS not…
And we aren’t even saying – at all – that we won’t someday seek/choose a partner and explore that journey more deeply, also; it’s not about comparing the two and saying “which one is better”; it’s about fighting for the space to allow the word SPINSTER (which can be a stand-in for all “patriarchal, double-standard type words used against women”) to be looked at differently, without the negative connotation that it has had to bear since its inception; it’s kind of a transferring of the power of the word back to the women whom it represents – infiltrating the system from the inside-out by changing the meaning of “their” words, so to speak… We could go on, but we don’t wanna go too deep – too soon. We know y’all (Dellany has all of us – including our fellow producer/writer Matthew Sidney Long, saying and writing this wonderful expression all the time now) really wanna laugh. And so do we! All good comedy comes from a true (and often conflicted and painful) place – at least that’s how we’ve come to understand it.
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past (thanks
Fitz) – to come out the other side in the NOW with our sights set on breaking through that spiderweb-cracked (shout out to all the #womenwhocamebeforeus) GLASS CEILING that still glimmers and leers at the edges of our brave new world…
Onward & Upward,
Dellany & Heather
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