By Rachel M. Drummer
One day in the early 2000s, I met a young woman by the name of Rori Nogee. From the first time I met her, I knew she was going far and she didn’t disappoint. From performing on stage with her to singing songs with her in her living room that she herself wrote, I’ve been a vulture. I’ve been HER vulture.
Let me explain what I mean. Rori’s first theatrical piece that I’m discussing here, Siren’s Den, is, as the website states (with a small revision few of my own), “A dark and modern mythical [musical] twist on the myth of the ancient Greek Sirens who lured sailors to their deaths with their songs. Here, the turbulent sea is the music industry and the siren is Skylar Cole, a seductive indie rock singer in NYC. Skylar's biggest fan is Remy Morgan, a young, aspiring singer who finds that her songwriting is fueled by her time spent with Skylar. Soon, Remy finds herself drawn into a world of drugs, lust and empty promises, where some idols don’t deserve pedestals and some dreams come with dire consequences. The question is, will Remy find success? Or will she fall prey to Skylar’s siren song forever?”
Sprinkled throughout the beautiful story is music that is even more beautiful, and written by the one and only Rori Nogee. Earlier, I mentioned that she and I used to sing her songs while we were at her piano in her living room. Needless to say, when I got to Siren’s Den last June 2nd on a small off-off-broadway stage, I was very pleased and surprised to hear that some of the songs Rori used in the show were ones we sang at her piano! You can’t imagine how excited I was, both to hear those songs again, and to see them being used in such a wonderful story!
Within this rock musical, there are characters that are called the Vultures. They’re the ones that stand outside the stage door and follow Skylar Cole anywhere she goes. Though I can’t be everywhere that Rori is, let me tell you, I’m there as often as I can be —just like a vulture— and she knows that I have her back in everything she does, whether it’s her own works or works done by others that she’s acting in.
I’ve even traveled to different states to see her perform. I’ve taken off work a number of times and each time (spanning over a decade) was well worth it to see such talent, such an amazing person, and a good friend.
This was why that when I discovered Rori had written another show I knew I had to go. This one, Aftershocks, wasn’t a musical like Siren’s Den was, but that didn’t deter me. In fact, it made me almost even more excited than I was when I went to see Siren’s Den, because I’d only ever seen Rori do something with music. And just like with Siren’s Den, I saw her work hard with both the writing and the performing, and I was more than proud of her, and of all of the cast too.
Aftershocks is a story which asks if a “cracked foundation could ever heal.” When I spoke to Rori about this work, I asked her for a small explanation of her piece, and she told me that, “It follows a woman with a troubled past and a history of casual relationships, falling for the one man she cannot touch, due to his own childhood trauma. Together, they attempt to heal from the lingering effects of their early wounds, but in pushing the boundaries of their comfort zones, they are met with unforeseen challenges and dangerous consequences.”
While I watched this from the front row (as usual) I found myself extremely proud of Rori and the cast as a whole. They showed a story that could change lives, if only it was watched around the world. And I don’t just mean mine or people who may well be vultures of others they look up to, I mean the whole world. If people saw Aftershocks, they would see how trauma truly affects those it happens to.
BOTH Siren’s Den and Aftershocks are important stories that need to be shown across the world, and it isn’t just because I’m Rori’s vulture. It’s because she’s talented, and beautiful inside and out, and the stories she writes are so important and so vital in the world around us.
She told me she’s inspired by those whose careers she admires, and they motivate her to work hard and be an inspiration to others. And let me tell you, it works, because she IS an inspiration.
And I’m proud to call myself her friend, and her vulture.
(Image by Amara Nogee.)