It’s all true.
No matter how silly, sad, cartoonish or crazy the stories may seem, Bridget Young wants to assure audiences that every word of “Wild Orphan Baby” is factual.
Even the parts she sometimes wishes were not.
Born in Italy, raised on Bainbridge Island, and now living in Indianola, the local Realtor first burst onto the performing arts scene with her one-woman stand-up show “Realtor Lady,” sharing stories both trying and triumphant from her day job, and is now returning to the stage to recount the joys and horrors of her childhood with “Wild Orphan Baby” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Treehouse Café.
Tickets are $75 each, with all sales supporting Housing Resources Bainbridge, the island’s only independent, nonprofit affordable housing provider and advocate.
Admission is for those 21-and-older only. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. (Visit www.treehousebainbridge.com to learn more and purchase tickets.
It is the third time Young has performed the show on Bainbridge, which is, she said, the perfect venue for its multi-layered message.
“I think it’s wonderful to be able to do this material on Bainbridge,” Young said. “I know so many people that I love on Bainbridge, close personal friends.
“It is much more diverse than I think a lot of the rest of Kitsap County would imagine, but there is a lot of money there. When I was a kid, the have/have not dichotomy started when I was in school there,” she added. “I went away to college and when I came back five years later I remember Bainbridge Bakers had opened and there were kids buying $5 lattes, driving Beemers and I was like, ‘What happened? What happened to Bainbridge?’”
Response has been varied, but universally positive.
“I had like three different kinds of response,” Young said. “I had people who never experienced adversity say, ‘Wow, I look at you and I have this image of you and I would not have thought that that would have been where you came from’ — which is good.
“And I had people who had gone through adversity say, ‘Thank you for sharing that, it makes me feel better about my story.’
“And then I had young people saying, ‘Wow, I really needed to hear that, I’m kind of in the midst of that right now with a step-parent or a difficult situation.’”
Young, whose son is a freshman at Bainbridge High School, began life with an artistic bent, graduating with a degree in ceramic sculpture from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University.
Years later, with a successful career in real estate, it was a kind of simmering desperation that drove her back to creative pursuits.
“I was actually losing my mind,” Young said. “It’s kind of a funny leap to go from fine art to real estate, but it’s kind of similar. It’s problem solving and it’s fascinating and lots of stories, as you can imagine — happy stories, sad stories, a lot of stressed-out people.”
People, including Young herself.
“I thought to myself: I am about to burst,” she recalled. “And to a person, every client I was working with kept saying, because you have to entertain people, you put strangers in your car and you have to make people feel comfortable and get a sense of who they are and help refine their search criteria so that you can find them the right thing — it gets very intimate very fast — and part of the way that I would try to ease the tension is that I would tell funny stories or I would crack jokes. And everybody kept saying, ‘Oh, you missed your calling.”
Then, around her birthday, Young gave herself a very special present.
“I remember one day thinking: If I don’t give this a shot then I’m going to be really pissed at myself,” she said. “I was turning 40 and one day, a particular difficult day … I drove to the Admiral Theater in Bremerton and I rented their downstairs theater for two days.”
So was born “Realtor Lady,” also a fundraiser show. And it went so well she took it on the road.
“I would say I’m probably more of a humorist than a comedian, because I don’t really tell jokes. But I do riff on just how crazy the world is and the job and, as in all things, I think good stories are timeless and everybody can relate to them,” Young said.
Though the new show is a different crop of stories, one drawn from earlier days of her own life, Young said she worked hard to maintain the same tone that had made “Realtor Lady” so successful.
“I grew up on Bainbridge and then I finished high school at North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo; my family moved my freshman year of high school from Bainbridge,” she said. “We had a farm on Bainbridge, we had a horse farm, and it was the ‘70s when everything was going belly-up.
“It’s a story, in my mind, that I think a lot of people can relate to,” she added. “If you have always lived a life of privilege and have never wanted for anything, it’s a story about how easy it is for people to fall through the cracks. It’s a story of hidden poverty. If you’re someone who has experienced domestic violence, or you have experienced poverty, of feeling ‘other,’ whether you’re trans or whatever, it’s a story about fighting to fit in. It’s a story about redemption and the idea is, I wrote this not only as an outlet for myself, but also to be kind of inspirational.”
Raising money and awareness for Housing Resources Bainbridge, Young said, was an ideal cause for this specific show.
“It’s very good material for this particular nonprofit because I think it’s very easy when you live in our area to feel that everybody’s affluent and that there isn’t a lot of need. But nobody knew what I was going through when I was in high school. I hid what we were going through at home remarkably well. But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t suffer, that it wasn’t stressful.”
But that also doesn’t mean it’s a downer.
“It’s not a sad story,” Young said. “It’s a story about strength and resilience and choices — and it’s funny. There are really funny moments just because, like all, I think, a lot of comedy and humor has to do with tragedy. They go hand in hand.”