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A Conversation With Cindy Pierce

Feb 20, 2010 09:56AM ● By Erin Frisch


Bolstered by the regional and national success of her one-woman show, Finding the Doorbell, Cindy Pierce continues to develop her career from the Etna inn she and her husband purchased from her parents in 2002.

Today, the couple and staff at Pierce’s Inn produce a popular dinner-and-show night featuring her latest material. “People are desperate for humor and sex information disguised as humor,” Pierce explains. Juggling her commitments as wife, mother of three, and innkeeper—while constantly honing her performance—Cindy found time to answer some questions we had.

The material in Finding the Doorbell is geared towards mature audiences. What do you provide younger audiences? Younger audiences are dicey terrain for me because I can’t really help myself. I am quite open with my own children about sex, but I do not seek opportunities to talk to other kids. I have noticed that educated people are reluctant to reach out for help with parenting skills and sex education. Therefore, media, Internet porn, and peers are the front line of information. Scary.

How do gender stereotypes in the Upper Valley play out? I think there is a lot of support for stay-at-home dads and working moms in this area. There is strong support for women who stay home, work full time, or work part time in the Upper Valley. The lifestyle up here makes it more possible for parents to both stay involved. In the schools, teachers are sensitive to talking openly about stereotypes of all kinds. Gender stereotyping is still out there every day, but it is subtle.

As a self-professed New England Patriots fan, what do you think the team needs to return to the Super Bowl? I could fill pages with these thoughts. I love this team. Most importantly, they need to get back to the power vibe of trust in the philosophy that was so effective. They have taken risks on people that have really worked out, but they need to rally the guys who are true leaders as human beings—putting the team first and emulating the worthy veterans like Tom Brady and Kevin Faulk. While talent is needed, I don’t think it is worth compromising the values of the team.

How do you deal with criticism? I have tough skin. As a kid, I was really small, loud, and non-stop energy. I also was putting out some feminist ideas starting at a young age. My parents really encouraged all of the kids to be respectful but to be true to ourselves and not worry about how people judged us. It is funny how I can take criticism about my shows, our book, aspects of our inn, and about myself, but if someone mentions a dirty toilet that I was responsible for, I dwell on it. Pathetic. I could probably do some time on the couch for that one.

Where do you attend performance art in the area? Northern Stage, my kids’ schools, Dartmouth College, Lebanon Opera House, and Higher Ground in Burlington, Vermont (worth the drive). I saw a play called Parallel Lives directed by Brook Ciardelli at Northern Stage. They always have great shows there. The two women who wrote and performed it [gave] brilliant performances. Truly inspiring to watch these women change their whole personality with one prop combined with a shift of body position, facial expression, and accent. I learned a lot from watching their performances.

What is the secret to a happy and successful marriage? Communication!!!! I mean working through the junk, the conflict, and the differences. If you avoid these, they fester and grow. With humor, honesty, communication, and making the effort to maintain a sex life, there is hope. It is work. Great work but worth it. A fair number of people prefer a low-grade fever of halfway decent rather than diving in with the work to stay connected.

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