Dear Megan Penn,
You are ballsy and fearless.
Many hats can be tipped to a woman coming into the Hollywood scene with a 1 act theatrical play hell bent on crafting a statement, making her audience embrace her message and her talents. You were more than aware upon taking on challenge that the theater scene was not as well received in the glitzy glamorous Hollywood “industry” compared to the likes of Broadway, yet you were determined to be original. You put forth a valiant effort to do something that expressed not only your prowess, but also your knowledge and vulnerability to your creativity. “Bygone Girl” is your love letter to your craft; a non premeditated body of work that flowed organically from the bowels of your intuition “about a girl in love with men and eras that don’t exist.” One might feel inclined to think by choosing to produce a 1 act piece that you chose to cut corners and prevent obstacles, however you are understanding of the times and genre in which we live. Not only did “Bygone Girl” give you the sensation of completion, in an era where attention spans are limited to the length of a 10 second snap chat video, you challenged yourself to captivate your audience organically where they can be reached. You understood the additional effort that was needed as compared to your previous film productions and the multiple roles that were required of you i.e. production management, writing, publicity, and marketing, in order to see “Bygone Girl” through and above expectations. You did so successfully all while loving the ride. As you said best; “there is no play, pause button in live theater” instead you keep going and “enjoy the madness of it.”
You embody the ultimate creative.
As a jack of many trades yet a master of your own truth, you did not allow outside nor self limitations to put a stop to your creative evolution. Raised in a suburban conservative corner of CA by a means of Long Island NY, as would be expected of any super creative, you were liberal, artistic and rebellious. Your passion for creating superseded everything else and as you proved to your more conventional upbringing, you were willing to fight for your artistic self expression. Acting was your very fist love and who can blame you? Once you were familiarized with the greatness, elegance, strength and beauty within actresses such as Gena Rowlands, Anne Bancroft, and Katherine Hepburn, it comes as no surprise that you would see yourself in them and the many characters they dedicated their talents to. All you knew was that you would be a great actress. And yet, you were also confronted with your gift for storytelling. Must have been exhilarating yet somewhat confusing when your teacher told you “Megan Penn would look good on a book jacket one day,” but at some point in our journeys we learn that our gifts have the ability to choose us and for good cause.
You are virtuous.
Being a woman who doesn’t disappoint the rudimentary Hollywood standards of beauty, you also possess a righteous amount of intellect, pride and integrity; an unwanted juxtaposition that is often overlooked and comes at a cost. Not one to settle for the burden of being typecast and exhausted with the limitations offered by the industry, your natural gift of writing manifested into something greater and more impactful. Being influenced by the surrealism of David Lynch films your writing and acting became harmonious; forming a beautiful union that birthed masterful art works allowing you to play characters that are “relevant, important and real.” Your advocacy for women in television, film and theater is commendable and inspiring. You celebrate the complexities of every woman, applauding freedom, empowerment, and artistic unity. You speak highly of the “100 Naked Women” photography project by Nadia Lee Cohen featuring you and 99 other liberated women who are showcased in their truest form tastefully and artistically. You are inspired by the beauty in women who seek their purpose and go after it. As you quoted the iconic Maya Angelou, you
“love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.”
To understand you Megan Penn is to know the level of passion you have for art and your obsession for freedom. Being synonymic with artistic empowerment and profoundness, you are ahead of the curve in the creative industry that is answering the call for providing less superficial means of entertainment but rather something deeper and with more bearing. I’m looking forward to one day reading your book of poetry and seeing “Bygone Girl” on the big screen along with your other projects giving you the ability to bring forth your creativity and message across the globe. Thank you for always remaining true to your art and never giving up even amidst obstacles and road blocks, for manifesting positivity and empowerment for all women in the arts, for not being ashamed to express your deep love and passion for theater, a nearly extinct art form in Hollywood, and for breathing life into the creative culture that surrounds it. May you continue to elevate and prosper further making you and those who love you delighted and proud.
Photography: Lamont Robertson ll