Tag Archives: Marjorie Watt

Positive Parenting Postcards

Parenting is hard.

Everyone knows that. It’s like saying “I-95 sucks.”

But every Westport parent has gotten that reminder 3 times in the past 3 weeks. Colorful postcards arrived in local mailboxes. They bore our “06880” zip code. They began, “Parenting is hard….”

Then they offered tips, to make talking with your kids a bit lest difficult.

The cards come courtesy of the Westport Prevention Coalition. A subcommittee of Westport Together — the collaboration between Positive Directions, Westport Public Schools and PTAs, and the Department of Human Services — its current charge is to raise parental awareness of teenage behaviors around alcohol and drugs.

That’s particularly important now, says Positive Directions prevention director Margaret Watt.

As Westport opens back up after the pandemic — with proms, graduation and other rites of spring looming after 15 months of unprecedented demands on adolescent life — parents may not realize what the “new normal” is like.

“Westport has sometimes turned a blind eye toward teenage drinking,” Watt says. But recent focus groups revealed that during COVID, some youngsters held Zoom drinking parties. Marijuana use may have also increased during quarantine.

The front side of one of the postcards …

Each postcard bears a different message.

One assures parents that teenagers value their opinions, and learn from observing priorities and choices.

It advises parents:

  • Talk about your expectations and rules.
  • Be open about your own stress, and model healthy ways to handle it.
  • Make fun family time a priority.

Another postcard reminds parents about Connecticut’s “Social Host Law.” Anyone over 18 faces arrest and imprisonment, lawsuits and legal fees, loss of homeowners insurance, and fines of $2,000 — one for every underage youth — if alcohol is used on their property. That’s true even if an adult is not present.

A third postcard notes that “new” marijuana — not the kind they might have smoked years ago — has been engineered to be “many times stronger than nature.” The card covers vaping THC, and the effects of the drug on brain development and addiction.

… and the back.

Each card includes a QR code, to scan for more information.

Four more are planned. All 7 end the same way: “Talk early … talk often.”

Feedback has been excellent. The postcards are seen as eye-catching, concise and informative. One parent contacted the Coalition immediately after receiving the first card, grateful for the info and conversation starters.

Future mailings may also include residents without school-age children. After all, it takes a village — not just a parent — to raise a child.

And it’s hard.

(For more information, click here. To volunteer with the Westport Prevention Coalition, email mwatt@positivedirections.org.)

Costumes And “Curtains”

There are many reasons to see Staples Players’ production of “Curtains” tomorrow or Saturday.

There’s the usual, of course:  Great acting, fantastic music, compelling choreography, Broadway-caliber sets.

And one that’s little-mentioned, but key to any show:  costumes.

The cast is big:  around 60.

But the costumes are even bigger.  Director David Roth estimates there are 400 different costumes in the black comedy/murder mystery/show-within-a-show.

“It’s the biggest costume show we’ve ever done,” he says — and that’s saying something.

Carmen Bernstein (played by Eva Hendricks) sings "It's a Business" -- and so is costuming the cast of "Curtains." (Photo by Kerry Long)

Though seldom noticed, costumes are vital to a show.  “Performing is about taking an audience to a completely different world,” Roth says.  “Costumes do that.”

It’s not just audiences though.  Roth sees a major transformation when actors finally put costumes on.

“They walk and move differently,” the veteran director explains.  “They even think differently, based on what they’re wearing.”

Priscilla Stampa and Marjorie Watt adjust Michelle Pauker's headpiece. (Photo by Kerry Long)

For the past several years, Players has been blessed to have had 2 superb costume designers.  Marjorie Watt and Priscilla Stampa — parents of former Players — spend countless hours most of their lives helping students create costumes for each show.

“Create costumes” does not do the process justice.  They find impossible-to-procure items.  They sew, alter, trim.  They accessorize, adding scarves, hats, ties and wigs.  They even make sure married characters wear wedding rings.

“Unless it’s a really splashy show like ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ audiences are not always aware of costumes,” Roth notes.

“And audiences definitely don’t appreciate the incredible amount of work that goes into making costumes.”

When you see “Curtains” this weekend, enjoy the acting.  Applaud the musicians and dancers.  Gawk at the set.  See if you can figure out who killed Jessica Cranshaw.

But don’t forget the costumes.  The designers, costume mistress Kathryn Durkin and her crew will not take a bow.

But “Curtains” would never open without them.

(“Curtains” concludes its run this Friday and Saturday [Nov. 19 and 20] at 7:30 p.m.  For ticket information, click here.  Tickets will also be sold this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Staples’ main entrance, from 12:30-2 p.m.  For more details, call 203-341-1310.)

The cast sings "Thataway" -- in one of their many costume changes. (Photo by Kerry Long)