The stars aligned in May 2011. After graduating with a BA in Theatre, I landed a contract in the teeny tiny town of Boiling Springs, PA, that would forever change my life. I was an acting intern, and my future “other half”- a phrase Kate would later coin as she noted we were like one page out of a book split in half- was the fiercest production stage manager I had ever met. She was tough yet extremely compassionate, smart and vibrant, and likely the main reason I survived a brutal yet educational experience working in professional theatre in my early twenties.
I have about a million and one epic stories with Kate- and even the really bad or sad ones still make me smile or laugh because of who Kate is. Kate Wilson is unmatched in her ability to turn a crappy situation into a hilarious one or a scary situation into a solvable one.
One of the greatest gifts Kate gave me that I continue to share with everyone is the gift of “The Napkin Plan.”
At the most perfect dive Italian restaurant in Pennsylvania, Anile’s, Kate and I grabbed dinner on our one night off. I had been having a tough time, and Kate is one of those beautiful souls that will let you talk through the good, the bad, and the absolutely embarrassing without judgment. After narrating my stream of consciousness for a while, Kate looked at me and said, “I think we need a plan. Yeah, let’s make a plan together to fix it.”
She grabbed one Anile’s napkin and handed me a pen. Kate said, “Okay, what’s step one?”. I wrote, “1. Face my inner deamons”. Kate read what I had written as my first step and then said, “That’s great! So let’s make step two ‘Learn to spell demons'”.
I got 10 steps written down that night, and it helped me find peace and a new direction. The napkin plan method has carried me through the past decade of my life and career. When I start to lose my grip, making a napkin plan to do the next right thing and take life step by step when it starts to feel too big keeps me grounded. And in 2020, when I felt lost and worried like so many others, guess what my other half sent me in the mail? One bright, beautiful, blank napkin.
The universe always gives us what we need. 10 years ago, it brought me to a tiny theatre in the middle of nowhere. Kate took me stargazing, and that night started a friendship that has been so deeply impactful and important in my life.