Breaking Proscenium and Airing Out My Dirty Laundry For The World to Read

Comfortable in My “Daughter of a Bipolar Father” Skin

My beloved High School theatre teacher, Mr. Johnson, taught me about breaking proscenium. Essentially, the proscenium is an imaginary screen that separates actors on stage from the audience. Mr. Johnson was hell-bent that no one in his cast would ever break proscenium. That meant during dress rehearsals and performances, no one left for the night without removing their stage makeup and costume, went to the cafeteria to buy a Coke, or did anything that would shatter the illusion the proscenium created. If anyone violated this rule during a rehearsal, Mr. Johnson could be heard on the other side of town screaming, “Don’t Break Proscenium!”Learning this rule was important for theatre students and helped us “stay in character.”

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Me as “tree #2”

As an adult, I’ve learned the concept of maintaining proscenium extends far beyond my role as Tree #2 in a high school play. How many of us spend our lives trying not to break proscenium? How many of us are in physical, or emotional pain, but desperately attempt to maintain the illusion that we’re doing great? How many of us would do anything just to appear ‘normal’ to the world? How many of us keep toxic secrets in an effort to be accepted by society? How many of us go to great lengths to give the impression that we are just like everybody else? How many of us live like an actor on stage because we just want to fit in and be accepted? I think we master this charade in the seventh grade, and some of us never outgrow the habit.

I created this blog primarily to elevate awareness for scleroderma, but it has evolved into so much more than that. It’s my hope that by spilling my guts and “breaking proscenium” on this blog, I might inspire others to do the same. With this objective in mind, I recently had a piece published on Parent.Co entitled, “Surviving My Mentally Ill Father Helped Me Become a Better Mother.”  If you have a moment, please read and share it. I personally believe we would all be a lot happier if we broke proscenium more often.


  • As I’ve mentioned before, when my pieces are published elsewhere, I do not create the titles (or the creepy images yikes!)- please don’t judge me for either.
  • I miss the days where I would just write something and post it directly up on this blog. Now, I feel annoying writing a post just to let my readers know that I have an article up somewhere else. I know this means an extra “click” and who has time for that? Here’s the thing though, when I get a piece published elsewhere it broadens my readership and I actually get paid (the getting paid part is sort of important if I want to keep writing).
  • Here’s the most annoying request ever: If you do like the piece on Parent.Co enough to like or share it, please do so from the article on Parent.Co’s site. WTF is the difference you might ask? If Parent.Co sees that people are liking and sharing my work, they will likely feature my article more prominently and be open to accepting more of my pieces…blah blah blah ….  If you’re reading this ,thanks for getting all the way to the bottom of this shameless request 🙂




  1. Lisa — you are a remarkable young woman and I am so glad to see you are still writing. We Hartmans are also good. Keep going!!!!!!!!!


  2. Hope it is okay to leave a personal note here, course that sounds like I’m writing ‘Hey Lisa. I may have left the iron on and the water running, Can you stop by and check? Make sure to be careful opening the door, as we are cat sitting the Loman’s pet cheetah while they are away. Oh and as long as you are there anyway can you make a stew in the crock pot and set it so it is ready when my family gets home? All the ingredients and recipe are on the counter, though you may need to borrow an egg from our next door neighbor. If they bring up the lawn mower I borrowed last year, you may want to pretend that you do not speak English.” Actually I am writing to say it was great seeing you the other day,and I really enjoy reading your articles. Take care. – Hillel


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