“I’ve been humbled by the awakening that I can’t do everything at once.”
From a young age, Drew Barrymore has been one of my favorite actresses. I admired her passion, charisma, and positivity in the films E.T., Ever After and Never Been Kissed, to name a few. On the night of October 28, I sat in the Michigan Theater with a copy of Barrymore’s new memoir, Wildflower, anticipating her arrival onstage.
“Actress. Producer. CEO. Singer. Golden Globe winner. Mother. Business-woman.” Barrymore’s résumé is thorough and impressive. She lives a life that many admire, though few achieve. Her graceful, charismatic arrival onstage received a standing ovation from the audience. Initially, Barrymore exclaimed how much she missed Ann Arbor after filming the movie Whip It in Detroit. She noted that the Michigan Theater marquee’s sign, “Coming Home,” was indeed accurate.
Ann Arbor was the second stop of her ten-city book tour. To begin, she read an excerpt from her memoir, a book of short essays. “We all have stories to tell,” she said, “these are mine.” Barrymore’s love of storytelling fueled her dream to one day become a writer, though she had originally never found the time to dedicate to it. Taking a break from acting to raise her two young daughters, she discovered that time is valuable and precious. “I’ve been humbled by the awakening that I can’t do everything at once.”
Barrymore grew up in a West Hollywood single-mother household. Prior to auditioning for Stephen Spielberg’s E.T., she performed with her mother in theatrical productions. Barrymore’s formative years instilled several lifelong core values. “I will never take anything for granted in my life,” she recounted. Her acting motto is simple, “Make it personal.” Resultantly, this creates a “jarring” and “intimate” performance. She accredits her outlook to Spielberg’s advice, “Don’t act your characters, be your characters.”
Captivated by Barrymore’s sense of humor, charm, and humility, I was both surprised and delighted to realize her mannerisms and speech were familiar. I frequently forgot that I was in the presence of a famous Hollywood actress, but rather, a friend. Audience members connected to Barrymore’s stories in one way or another. Her advice was relevant and true, whether through raising children (which she describes as “beautiful chaos”) or coping with the death of a pet. Though the lives of Hollywood actors and actresses appear glamorous and mysterious to the general public, in actuality, they are similar to our own. It was a night full of laughter, as well as a few tears. I hope to see Drew Barrymore again, though next time, on the big screen.