By Constance Strickland
We know that when there is cultural and racial equality in theatre, it makes room for artists of all walks of life to contribute to the history of theatre. It is vital that we make room, make way for women from all backgrounds to have a chance to be included in the future of theatre. It is with great esteem I present Crystal Bush! In her #HFF19 show CHRISSY METH we discover a woman who has come out of the dark into the light. A woman who found her way to herself and shares her story to remind us all that we can rise above our deepest battles and thrive. Crystal, you’re a powerful example of never giving up on oneself.
Constance: How long have you’ve been sitting with this work?
Crystal: I went into recovery in July of 2003. So I wanna say somewhere around 2001, when I was right in the thick of my addition, I was trying to capture it. But I found it very difficult to talk about or regurgitate what was happening as it was happening. And besides, I was in it… so I just couldn’t. I remember I was living in Oakland, and I did a short stand-up about losing so much weight at the time – I went from a size 14 all the way to a size 0. But even then it was still very difficult to tell the story; I was so in my addiction, that I really could not think clearly.
Constance: The work is now out there, you’ve given it away. How does that feel?
Crystal: Oh, wow. After leaving in a clean and sober house for three years, group therapy, individual counseling, years and years of yoga and prayer, my healing has been profound. Sitting down and writing my story, acknowledging it and letting it go has lifted a weight that is indescribable. I feel so free, I feel love, I feel peace. I feel like there is so much more to come: a book, a film, a series. This has definitely been a wonderful surprise.
Constance: What has been the biggest surprise or discovery, doing your show?
Crystal: It’s been so freaking amazing!! My last show, twenty-six people were in the house; twenty of those people stood in line to wait to embrace me afterwards. It was so deep; I was stunned at how impactful my story has been for others. It’s so difficult to know how other people are going to think and feel, so I was really nervous about putting my story out there.
Constance: What’s been your biggest challenge in terms of the Fringe?
Crystal: Gurrrrl…THAT’S MONEY! You know, I remember at times when I would always say, “Oh, I can’t do that, I don’t have the money, wow, that’s too expensive, I ain’t got no money,” etc. Not receiving one of the Hollywood Fringe scholarships was definitely devastating. But I knew this story had to be told. So, despite my own fears, my worry, self sabotage, procrastination… I just put one foot in front of the other, I asked the Universe to please guide me, and some really beautiful angels showed up and helped me financially. This has never happened to me ever in my life so, needless to say, I am in awe of the entire situation. It has been a magical journey. But to be clear it was ALL challenging: Writing, directing, and self producing ain’t no joke, but I did it, and I feel so blessed.
Constance: What do you hope audience members take away from your show?
Crystal: My whole life people have made assumptions about who I am, and where I come from. I’ve had some very humble beginnings in my life. I talk about this in my show – I was abandoned by my mother as an infant, raised by my father’s parents, my father was a heroin addict. And so I was set on my path in this life and world and I did the best I could do with what I had. You never know what people have been through, so it is so important to not judge people. And you never know, you could help save somebody’s life if you just open your heart, and have love and compassion for the other person. I want my audience to walk away with love and compassion, and the will and courage to make an impact and change this world in their own way.