It could be worse, it could be you

Barre-Montpelier Times Argus — Feb. 6, 2014

By Mary Gow
Arts Correspondent

“It seems like my purpose on this planet is to make people feel OK and be able to laugh at themselves,” said Cindy Pierce of Hanover, N.H. “When people hear my stories, they feel grateful not to be me.”
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From her ingenious oatmeal application for an inconveniently situated poison ivy outbreak to buying appropriate “lady clothes” for a full weekend of wedding festivities, Pierce’s new one woman show, “Comfort in the Stumble,” is chock full of her stories. While, fortunately, most of us have been spared first-hand experience of such ill placed poison ivy, her stories resonate. Besides laughing with her, Pierce’s audiences are also inspired and even empowered by her resilience.

Pierce will be performing “Comfort in the Stumble” in Stowe on Saturday, Feb. 8, and in Burlington Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 14 and 15.

Pierce’s career as a comedian and college speaker started quite unexpectedly 10 years ago — 10 years ago this month, in fact. With her husband Bruce Lingelbach, Pierce was already running their hotel, Pierce’s Inn in Hanover, and raising three children. Always a storyteller, Pierce was pressed by friends to bring some of her anecdotes to the stage. The first show was at the inn, but soon she was at other venues — and very warmly received.

“None of this was planned,” Pierce recalls. “One thing kept leading to another.”

Besides her comedy shows, Pierce has also developed and performs a parenting show, and girls’ leadership programs. With Edie Thys Morgan in 2008, Pierce co-authored the book of “Finding the Doorbell: Sexual Satisfaction for the Long Haul.” She is also often on college campuses around the country with her storytelling and social research presentation on sexuality. With lots of humor, in an era of Internet porn, her show educates young people to have more realistic expectations about their own sex lives.

Resilience is at the heart of “Comfort in the Stumble.”

“It is about stumbling and falling, picking myself up and getting going,” said Pierce. “These are stories about how I got to where I am. People ask, ‘How did you have the courage to do that?’ I’ve been taught through my life and as a ski racer that you’re constantly hitting obstacles, but you have to pick yourself up. I have incredible resilience and I have a sense of humor about it all.”

“Comfort in the Stumble” was inspired by a book Pierce first read last year — Brené Brown’s “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.”

“The book and Brown’s ‘Ted Talk’ really resonated,” said Pierce. “I felt like that is my gift — I make myself vulnerable and share. I know that I don’t follow all the expectations of society, but I realize that I live life wholeheartedly. I have to keep sharing my stories. ”

Comedian Cindy Pierce brings her new show, “Comfort in the Stumble,” to:
– Saturday, Feb. 8: Stowe – Akeley Memorial Building (Town Hall), 8 p.m.
– Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15: Burlington – Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, 8 p.m.
Tickets are $25, available at the door or online at cindy-pierce.com/tickets.

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