Los Alamos Resident Carrie Classon was working and living in Lagos, Nigeria when her life, as she knew it, screeched to a halt. Her marriage ended along with her job and company-owned housing.
In this situation, some might choose to panic and run back to the U.S. but Classon elected to take another route. She continued to live in Lagos for three-and-a-half years, deciding this was a “good opportunity to stay and figure out what had happened in my life.”
Now, she is taking her chronicles to the stage. Her one-woman play, “What Happens Next (Or I’ve Been Waiting all My Life To Be Middle-Aged),” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. March 18 and at 2 p.m. March 19 at the Santa Fe Playhouse. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at SantaFePlayhouse.org.
The play is about Classon’s own personal reinvention. Through the course of her time in Lagos, Classon learned was she no longer wanted to continue doing her current work, which was in infrastructure development for a private company, but rather write. Also as part of her reinvention, Classon moved to New Mexico in 2012 and enrolled in the master of fine arts program at the University of New Mexico. Then she said she inched her way to Los Alamos, arriving into town in 2014. “I love it here,” Classon said.
Her play is a series of stories based on two memoirs Classon wrote about her experiences and her reinvention at middle-age. One is titled, “What Happens Next,” and is currently being marketed for a publisher by the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth agency. The second book, “I’ve Already Told You More Than I Know,” is still being developed.
While the play showcases Classon’s experience to redefine herself, Classon added that it is also very funny.
She said everyone talks about life getting thrown upside down “but my thesis is in order to do a real life makeover you have to be ridiculous. It’s a humbling experience. You have to take it with a good dose of humor.”
On a more serious note, Classon said, “It is a message I love sharing and I feel I need to share because others are doing some variation of what I am doing.” She added her reinvention has been a remarkable experience. “I think the big take away is this process is important, possibly even necessary and I feel enormously grateful to have the opportunity to do something new.”
Classon said she has had prior experience in theater. She said she founded a professional theater outside the Twin Cities in Minnesota and worked as the managing director.
She also authored and performed in another play, which featured Classon and her cat, titled, “Letters from Lagos” in 2009. She hopes to take “What Happens Next (Or I’ve Been Waiting all My Life To Be Middle-Aged),” on tour. But first, Classon said she encourages Los Alamos residents to check out her play in Santa Fe. “I would love for folks in Los Alamos to make it.”