Every family has drama, actress and author Carrie Fisher says. What makes hers worth recounting and putting up onstage is, of course, that she's the fabled daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher whose father walked out of the marriage when she was two so he could be with Elizabeth Taylor, and Carrie herself grew up to be Princess Leia when she was only 19 years old.
Well, and there was a lot of other stuff, too, and Fisher has put many of those memories -- candid and unrestrained -- into her one-woman show Wishful Drinking, which is coming to the Hobby Center in May, courtesy of Gexa Energy Broadway Across America.
Houston will be where she closes out the show (which started in Los Angeles) so that she can move on to write something else, Fisher says. She has a lot of family on her mother's side in Texas and the only other choice was her father's family in South Philly. "So which would you pick?" she asked (we assume rhetorically).
"The set gets crushed down. They send the furniture back to my house; the Princess Leia doll. I put it in the yard for the crows," she said in a phone interview from Ohio, where she's been performing.
Over the years, Fisher has written autobiographical novels about her family, her long struggle with addiction and being bipolar. She credits electroshock therapy with making her better.
"I talk about being bipolar and everything that goes with it. Drug addiction goes with mine, extreme happiness, extreme unhappiness, shopping. Creativity. It makes your life very interesting, which is the Chinese curse. "
What she most enjoys about the show is that when it clicks, it's an interactive experience with audience members asking questions along the way.
"Certainly I've never performed like this before," she said. "I never wanted to perform when I was younger because that was what my parents did, but now I see what they liked about it."
Asked what she was like as a child, Fisher responded: "I was very serious inside. I was serious and then I joked outside. I was brought up by people who were extroverted or what I call 'focus pullers.' So I didn't want to be that and I didn't think I would be necessarily. "
Her show is different from audience to audience. "I always change it up because otherwise I would kill myself onstage like an opera," she said. "Some of it's the same because I can't change my history."
Despite the airing of family laundry, Fisher said her daughter has seen her show several times and likes it, is proud of her mother "and also she wishes I would write about fiction"
But when Fisher did write fiction, "it was autobiographical fiction." Right now she's reading Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer).
"I want to write like Henry Miller, so I think I'll move to Paris and start having sex with whores. I don't know what kind of fiction, but I usually have to identify somehow within it. I'm not someone who goes that far out of myself. I'm more an archeologist than a traveler."
Fisher said she's never seen anyone stomp out in anger at one of her shows, even though "sometimes my language gets off color. And here in Ohio they really seem to like it and I like doing it. The audience's interaction here is intense. Keeps me very present. At this point in my life, I really accept myself more and that's a lot of what the show is about, a celebration of what is bad and good about life."
And she's still discovering things, still keeping busy.
"I met the Doolittle Raiders yesterday. In Dayton they had the 70th anniversary. The Doolittle Raid was when they bombed Tokyo, so they have the flyover of all those fucking planes from the '40s. It was awesome. I got to meet these guys in their 90s. They had no idea who I was, which was great, fine. They would know who my mom was so I just kept saying, 'I'm Debbie Reynolds's daughter.'"
Wishful Drinking, written and performed by Carrie Fisher, will be at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, May 15 to 20, presented by Gexa Broadway Across America. For ticket information, call 800-982-2787 or go to the Broadway Across America website or the Hobby Center website.