My mother was a Quaker, my father a soldier.  I guess that makes me passive/aggressive.

Jill Dalton

I developed and performed my solo play, MY LIFE IN THE TRENCHES, from 2001–2006. In the beginning, I didn’t have a director so I hired my friend, Joan Cappello to work with me.  She wasn’t a director, but as a writer herself, she had good insights into the work.

Dalton reenacted her life with panache and vigor, and it was an interesting story.

Jenny Sandman, OOBR

Set of Law & Order: Criminal Intent

TRENCHES poster hanging backstage on the set of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

In 2002 my friend, Jack McCullough, came on board and began directing the play.  Jack is a 1982 graduate of the Trinity Repertory Conservatory in Providence, RI and was the recipient of the Peter KaplanActing Fellowship for Trinity Rep’s ’84-85 season.  Because we spoke the same theatrical language he was able to help develop and guide this ship and I am forever grateful to him for this.  He believed in me, which made me believe in myself. The show went through many incarnations.  Each one was about going deeper, peeling back the layers, and getting to the marrow of the bone.  Jack McCullough and I worked on this piece for five years.  Such a labor of love.

This play changed my life in huge ways.  Because I played both my parents and actually wore my father’s uniform I was able to literally experience things through their eyes.  And through this experience I was able to heal my childhood wounds.  I believe this play came into being to heal me.  And I had people express to me they were healed as well, including a Vietnam Vet who said, “I had no idea I was suffering from PTSD until I saw your show.”  Performing this piece was terrifying, exhilarating, and so rewarding.  I got so many wonderful emails from people who saw the show.

Continue forward in life even when the path was so unclear.  The message in your show . . . your perspective on life . . the tenacity I saw in you . . . all contributed to my next steps.  So I say to you, THANK YOU.

Carlos, Los Angeles

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2006

Dalton has funny observations . . . shows her acting chops as she shows the various people in there life: a good job creating her scumbag of a husband and her (Quaker) mother’s death bed scene.

Ron Cohen, BackStage

I played 18 characters including:

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

My ex-husband. “Sure is noisy in New York City.”

I just wanted to let you know how much it meant for me to see your show yesterday.  It touched me on such a profound level, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

Margaret, New York City

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

My chain-smoking therapist, “That’ll be $95 dollars.”

Portrait by Julia Dalton. Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

My mother, “Sometimes I wish you’d stayed in the Pumpkin Patch.”  My mother was an amazingly gifted and talented artist.  I used to say she was Martha way before Martha.  She painted this portrait of me.

Powerful and deep….your strength, stamina, courage, love and yes indeed . . . FAITH.  You deserved a standing ovation.

Spelman, New York City

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

My Colonel father’s words of wisdom on his departure to Vietnam,

And I’ve left you my personal copy of ‘The Valley of the Dolls.’  After you read that you won’t want to be an actress I guarantee-ran-damn-tee-ya.

Colonel Charles H. Dalton III

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

The Reverend Mary Green, “You will have a proposal of marriage before the leaves are off the trees.  He drives a two-toned car,  never wears a watch, but always knows the time.”

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

“No more war!  No more war!  No more war!”  As soon as my father left for Vietnam I became a protesting, pot-smoking hippie and began dating a rock ‘n’ roll musician.

The show was phenomenal, amazing.  I really laughed and cried.  It was so captivating.

Dianne, New York City

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

“There’s no such thing as anger management, man.”

I loved your show.  You made us laugh, cry and cheer.

Jodi, New York City

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

My father stopped speaking to me for an entire year because I was “living in sin.”  Not Hello.  Not good-bye.  Not even Marry Christmas.  And so I got married.

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

When I moved to New York City I managed Macy’s Santaland.  By the end, the elves had lost all their Christmas cheer and I had a full elf mutiny on my hands.  “I don’t think Mr. Macy would appreciate it if he knew his  elves were smoking dope in the dressing room.”

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

“And so I temp.  I temp all day and word press all night.  They call me Wang woman!”

. . . funny and enjoyable . . . the story has a lot of heart . . .

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

“I was so unhappy I even bought myself a full-length Coyote fur coat.  Unfortunately, I. bought it the day before the anti-fur movement began.”

Congratulations on an incredible performance.  You were brilliant. 

Sheila, New York City

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

“It’s time to celebrate love.  Oh, I feel so Jackie O.”

All I can say is Bravo!  You know when something’s good when it stays with you, and it has.  

Meg, New York City

Photo by Jack McCullough c. 2004ish

“Okay, my little cheese puffs.  I’m walking you up Eighth Avenue to see the ‘King and I.’”

I just had to let you know how much I enjoyed your show.  It’s not everyday a cynical, jaded New Yorker is impressed, but I was!  You made me laugh and you made me cry and that’s great acting!  

Billie, New York City

The Kitchen Theatre

In 2006 MY LIFE IN THE TRENCHES went to the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY as part of the Kitchen Counter Culture series.

. . . a hilarious look. at an embattled personal history . . .

Katherine Klein, The Ithaca Times

c. 2006

The Ithaca Times c. 2006