Arts and Entertainment

Zelda's journey: Snoqualmie actress Denise Paulette’s signature portrayal heads to Fringe Fest

Denise Paulette portrays Zelda Fitzgerald in a performance at Snoqualmie’s Isadora’s, now known as The Black Dog. Paulette brings “Zelda” to Scotland’s Fringe Festival this spring, and seeks financial help from the Valley to get there. - Photo courtesy of Mary Miller
Denise Paulette portrays Zelda Fitzgerald in a performance at Snoqualmie’s Isadora’s, now known as The Black Dog. Paulette brings “Zelda” to Scotland’s Fringe Festival this spring, and seeks financial help from the Valley to get there.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Mary Miller

People she doesn't even know are helping to fund Denise Paulette’s dream. It's part of the magic of Zelda, if you ask her.

“A lot of the people have seen the show,” said the Snoqualmie actress, in explanation of why they’re helping her fulfill her goal, to perform her one-woman show 'Zelda' at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.

“It's just a fascinating story that's not very well known,” she said.

Zelda is the story of Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and accomplished artist. Like most of her audience members, Paulette  was unfamiliar with Zelda's illness and struggles.

“I didn't know her,” she said, until she read William Luce's script. “That's what blew me away," she said.

In and out of sanitariums for 17 years, Zelda Fitzgerald was diagnosed as schizophrenic, and later as having bipolar disorder.

“The strength in who she was in dealing with that, regardless of fame, and the fact that she was still dealing with the normal things of life, a difficult marriage, and getting older,” Paulette said, were the aspects of the character Zelda that appealed to her.

Also,  she said, “the playwright uses her illness to allow the actress to go back and forth in and out of memory… sometimes I'm 5 years old, sometimes I'm 18.”

After three years of playing Zelda throughout the Valley and the greater Puget Sound area, Paulette still adores the role, and laughs when people call her by her character’s name.

“Some people do call me Zelda,” she said. “It's cute, and it's not a problem.”

Her affection for her character is one of the reasons she’s hoping to bring Zelda to Scotland in August.

"I wanted to bring Zelda to an international stage, because she's not as well-known as F. Scott,” she said.

Edinburgh’s Fringe was a logical choice. “The thing about the Scotland fringe is that's where it all started,” Paulette said. Edinburgh’s festival, opened in 1947, was intended “to give performers of all walks of life a chance to perform.”

Paulette has raised more than $3,400 of her goal of $8,000 for the trip in August, but she has two critical deadlines coming up. She has reserved a theater space for a six-day run of her show, with down payment, and has until the end of May to pay in full. She also must register for the festival by the end of April.

Her fund-raising efforts include an e-mail and regular mail campaign, along with a website (www.indiegogo.com/Zelda-by-William-Luce) taking donations until March 20, and word of mouth. She will also discuss her project on 1150 AM KKNW's “Walk the Talk with Kim” Wednesday, March 14 at 3 p.m.

She's not sure if she'll make her goal in time, but adds that the fund-raising is not just about trying to reach a specific donation amount.

“I'd like to be able to reach as many people as possible,” she said.

• To donate by mail, send to P.O. Box 1853, Snoqualmie.

For information on the festival, visit www.edfringe.com.

 

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