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Terry Earp - Life is different now...
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Terry Tafoya Earp Stage Fight!

"As a successful valley playwright with ties to the old west, Terry Earp has always had plenty to write about. Now, she' struggling to pen her next masterpiece as she fights back from a horrific accident".

Playwright Terry Earp sees stories in terms of three acts. In act I, the characters are revealed. In act II, the plot develops. In act III well, that's the clincher. Act III is where you make sense of everything else. You either make it better or you throw everything away. The last act in a play either makes or breaks it she says.
Terry is talking about her profession but also about her life. Early on the morning of September 16, 2006 while bicycling with her husband and a friend, she was hit by an SUV. The early prognosis was devastating. Her fourth and fifth vertebrae severely damaged, Terry would not regain movement of her limbs. Breathing would require a ventilator. Speaking again was not likely without artificial assistance. The third act of Terry's life has begun, and to judge from Doctors pronouncements, it was going to be a let down after the tremendous build-up of the first two. But the doctors failed to take two things in to account; Terry's indomitable spirit, and the tireless commitment of her husband Wyatt. I never thought to myself, life is over now, I just thought life is different now. Terry says in a phone interview. I could relate to the old Terry, but I wasn't her any more.
The playwright talks on her own, sounding much the same as she did before the accident. Itself an indication of the near miraculous advances she has made over the last few years. With Wyatt by her side, Terry has undergone a long string of dangerous surgeries and sometimes painful therapeutic remedies. Today she can breathe on her own, wiggle her toes on command and move her arms. After much trial-and-error, she can operate a wheelchair and was spotted with Wyatt in the fall of 2007 at various valley theater openings.

But such victories have been won only after enormous struggles. Her roller coaster ride see more ups than downs and its all an ongoing battle to keep from loosing what she has worked so hard to get back. A typical excerpt from a single day in January sums up Terry's fight:
Terry has the brace on her left arm for four hours at a time now. They are using the analgesic Banalog and can put as much pressure to her arm as they need. However, the brace is being tightened over time to help straighten her arm to a normal position. Wyatt describes it as a torture device, exceedingly painful. In the past they used some muscle relaxants but Wyatt says it's now up to grit. The analgesic is blue cream and Wyatt more lightheartedly describes it as smurfing her arm when they apply it.
Terry has braces on both feet and hands for up 12 hours a day. The braces on her feet help prevent drop foot. Which is when the nerves are no longer functional and the foot drops down. Terry can feel that a little, especially after 12 hours.

Terry started writing plays in 1988. The subjects of her more than 30 scripts have included the saga at a local restaurant, a visit to remote Ireland and the change her play Menopause: The Comedy anticipated the much-ballyhooed Menopause: The Musical, Terry's Skimpies- described as lingerie-themed and a stripped bio play is both a local favorite and popular with small theaters around the country. Most famously, though she has written extensively of her husbands illustrious fore-bears. Her Husband Wyatt Earp is an actor descended from the family that spawned the eponymous hero of the gunfight at the O. K. Corral. Terry's play written in 1996, Wyatt Earp: A life on the Frontier won the AriZoni Award the local theater equivalent of a Tony, in 1996. It has been performed through out the United States, Canada and Europe with over 670 performances to date. The living Wyatt Earp played the role of the legendary one.

Terry has written more plays about the old west, including a one-man play about Doc Holliday, which was produced with Wyatt in the role, and another about Mrs. Wyatt Earp in which Terry played the title character.
It remained for Terry to write a two-person play about Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt Earp as the earlier couple. She was at work on that script when the accident happened. Never to be defeated from her passion for the stage, Terry completed the script. At press time, Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt Earp was set for its premier on November 16th, 2007 in Tombstone, Az. at Schieffelin Hall.

Wyatt describes his and Terry's life since the accident on September 16, 2006 as new frontier. We look at the future with excitement and enthusiasm, Wyatt says. Life is all about the anticipation and the seeking. High points along the road to the new frontier have included the day Terry was removed from the ventilator and she could breath on her own; the day the hole in her neck was sewed up; and the day she was finally transferred out of the ICU. Terry has gone through extensive occupational therapy at Barrow Neurological Institute, along with voice and swallowing therapy at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. The swallowing therapy is critical to keep particulates from infecting her lungs and generating pneumonia. Earlier this year AriZoni awards gave Terry a lifetime achievement award.
Terry isn't about to rest on her laurels in her third act. She wants to work, and to do that she has conceive a new creative process. The problem is, I can only write now with the voice. Before I would think of a beginning, middle and end, add a title and start writing. I'd let it happen. Now your speaking into voice software, it has to come out already fully formed.
She's experimenting with possible adjustments, including talking freely in to the voice software then hiring an editor to go through the transcript with her to produce a finished product.
When she figures out write in her new condition, what type of play will she create? There's no answer yet, just as there's no answer to the question of why this happened to her in the first place. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I'm hoping a reason for this will appear, Terry says.
When I write plays, I will just suddenly see something, a reason for an action or a character's fate. I hope that will happen for me. But I haven't figured it out yet.
About Terry Earp
Terry Tafoya Earp is a Playwright/Producer/Actress who began her writing career in 1988 and has since written 38 plays and 2 documentaries, many of which have received both local and national recognition. In 1996 she wrote her first historical-based play "Wyatt Earp: A Life on the Frontier" which won AriZoni award and has been performed 722 time throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. The plays that Terry has written, and both Wyatt and Terry star in are, historical-based plays and are a part of the Tombstone Saga.
Since Terry’s accident she had 3 new plays published and produced and one documentary. Her play "Steve and Stevey” was turned in to a musical. Her latest endeavor is the documentary film "Before and After Quadriplegia”. It is centered on six Quadriplegics and how they have successfully reinvented themselves. The premier was scheduled for the fall of 2014, at the "Spinal Injury Association” "Empower Center in Phoenix, AZ."…
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