Cowan Palace: Ashley the Actress Versus Ashley the Bride

Ashley’s her own Bridezilla.

I hadn’t really planned to document any of the marriage process here in Cowan Palace, but alas, it’s consuming me at the moment. At least until The Bachelorette starts up again on Monday. The good news is that the big day is just over a month away. And I only have two more blogs after this until that time! So I promise not to bore you too much with all of this nonsense!

As I’ve mentioned before, the reason I moved to San Francisco was because of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. My first show in California and certainly a new chapter of my life. I was first cast as “the dorky bridesmaid” character. SHOCKING, I KNOW. I knew how to dance so awkwardly, audiences were unsure where Ashley ended and Marina Galino began. I got rave reviews from that one guy who kept bringing new dates to our show.

Marina Galino chokes under the pressure of dancing while looking for love.

Marina Galino chokes under the pressure of dancing while looking for love.

In real life, I couldn’t have been further from a boyfriend. But it didn’t matter! I got to hang out with my love, the theater! Sure, he forgot my name a few times and didn’t call when he promised to but I figured, eventually I could change him!

This had been sort of a theme for me since high school. Once I started taking drama class, acting became everything. I went through a lot of college oblivious to romantic opportunities because I just wanted to be in as many plays as possible. And even when I moved to New York City to pursue acting, I somehow managed to only involve myself with the reject characters from “Sex and the City” while enduring countless rejections from auditions.

When I moved to California, it was because I needed a change. I wanted to pursue my career in a new time zone and I wanted to finally fall in love.

What got me to change states was an internship program in Merced where upon first meeting, one of the theater board members told me, “don’t let theater be your only thing. You’ll need more than that to be happy”. And at the time, I rolled my eyes. I was 23 and clearly I knew everything. My pursuit of the craft had gotten me this far, hadn’t it? I wanted it all. I wanted to continue surrounding myself in everything theatrical and somehow end up with my Prince Charming.

Once I was in San Francisco, kissing way more boys on stage than off, I continued my familiar trend of taking any and all acting opportunities that came my way. Sadly, as I realize now, my dating history followed a similar path. I lacked a sense of selection. I said yes to things before thinking them through and once again, I felt like I was just a hamster having a go at the wheel. And while I loved any chance I had to act, I also continued to love the idea of falling in love. After years of coming to terms that maybe I wasn’t meant to be in that type of serious relationship, I still yearned for the possibility.

I met Will at a theater gala. And I kid you not, earlier in the day I had a long chat with myself over a coffee and a pastry regarding being more aware and active of the things I was doing to better my life. If I wanted to truly fall in love and be a good partner to someone, I knew I had to make it a priority and be more thoughtful with who I lent my heart stained sleeves out to.

When Will and I got our second chance at a relationship (after we dated and then broke up because of the distance… and then rekindled our feelings when he returned to San Francisco to act alongside me in Twelfth Night) I knew things were starting to change. I began saying no to some acting opportunities when my feelings for them weren’t strong enough. My time was suddenly worth a new value knowing that Will would only be living in the same city with me for a summer. And as much as I wanted to be in every show and project ever, I was also falling in love with someone in a whole new way. I wasn’t ready to let my grasp go.

Needless to say, I’ve held onto Will’s hand ever since. Yes, I’ve continued to pursue theater but I do think my relationship with it has matured into something new. I’ll forever love it but I know now that it can’t be “my everything”.

Being the bride is bringing out the best in me.

Being the bride is bringing out the best in me.

When Will and I get married, I’ll become two people. Ashley Cowan will remain my actor/writer name (Leschber Palace doesn’t quite have the same ring) and Ashley Leschber will be my married name. Currently, while I stress and cry over the ache and pains of the wedding planning process and missing evenings devoted to the stage, I’m realizing that my next challenge is to learn to balance these these two people and these two loves. As with anything else in adulthood, you learn that you have to be flexible and you have to make compromises and adjustments if you want to fight for your happiness. Luckily for me, I have a fella who pushes me to pursue those acting and writing opportunities while letting me develop from that once dorky bridesmaid into my new bridal role. Strangely enough, my dance moves remain the same.

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2 comments on “Cowan Palace: Ashley the Actress Versus Ashley the Bride

  1. That story never gets old.

  2. […] Maybe they choose the option neither really expected. Maybe that option winds up with both of them doing stints in Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding. Maybe they really hit it off. Maybe geography keeps them apart so they decide to cool things off. Maybe, through another inconceivable act of fate or chance, they both get cast in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night playing – get this – Orsino and Viola. Maybe the spark reignites. Maybe cast members start bumping into Lil and Cash (Depression-era bank robbers) a number of times outside of rehearsal. Maybe the other cast members of what-has-now-been-nicknamed-Twelfth-(M)ight start to take notice of the fact that Orsino and Viola seem very comfortable with their kiss scene. Maybe – in defiance of every unspoken showmance law since the beginning of the open stage – they drop all pretense and make a grand declaration of their love in front of the entire cast and crew. Maybe, just maybe, they decide to make it permanent. […]

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