The new Narrow Street Films movie, Michael Lawrence: the Season of Darkness, will premier at the Exeter Movie Night on June 23rd in Exeter NH. In the days leading up to it, we'll be showcasing a new character and behind the scenes info every week. Get to know the cast and try to guess whodunnit!
Name: Beverly DiFranco
Position: Portsmouth Chief of Police
Played by: Judy Durkin
Chief DiFranco does not suffer fools easily. A talented investigator who rose through the ranks, she's been in almost every conceivable scenario that a policeman or woman can face and knows the dangers of becoming too closely involved in a murder investigation. But more than that, she understands the delicate balance between thorough investigatory work and upsetting the powers that be in a small but influential community.
Keeping detectives Lawrence and Sohm in line is all in a day's work for her - but as this case grows more tangled and messy and personalities start to clash, DiFranco finds herself wondering whether her team can hold together long enough to bring a killer to justice.
Judy Durkin is a nurse, a renowned Uechi Ryu practitioner, and actress who has worked with Narrow Street Films in their webseries Artists and Idiots, as well as other projects, most notably as Vanessa in Not That Guy. (You should watch it because she’s dangerous). Judy is a great presence and joy to have on set always coming with the best of attitudes and…donuts.
Last fall, I got a chance to play in a cool short film, called Heroism. Check it out here!
It’s Monday night karate class and I’m struggling. We’re doing katas, a pre-arranged set of moves designed to foster good practice habits and demonstrate an understanding not only of the moves themselves, but also of their application. There are eight in Uechi Ryu, the Okinawan style I study, and I’ve been doing this particular kata for at least ten years now. But tonight, it’s a struggle.
My kicks are weak, my blocks even more so. My technique feels sloppy and to make matters worse, I keep mixing this kata up with another. All katas share at least some of the same moves, so this is a common mistake, but knowing this doesn’t lessen my frustration.
The instructor stands at the front of the room, watching everyone, calling out the occasional direction or correction. He waits until we are finished the exercise, then walks over to me. In an undertone, he says, “Having trouble tonight?”
I nod, embarrassed, and wipe my forehead. “I don’t know what it is.”
He nods. “Relax and get into a good sanchin stance. Everything in Uechi Ryu flows from a good stance.”
Sanchin stance is the second thing you learn as a student at the Dojo, the first being the bow. Both set the tone for the practice to follow – the bow shows the mutual respect between the student and the teacher and the stance promotes good posture, from which proper movements can be made. As a new student, you re-learn how to step, turn, jump, slide, and move, keeping everything carefully balanced and centered. You practice this over and over until it becomes second nature, and even then, we frequently return to the stance, practicing the simple, yet sturdy movements. It is meditative and strong, a balance of harmony and progress.
My instructor moves back to the front of the class and calls out the next kata. This time, as I practice, I pay attention to my feet. The next kata flows much better, and as I relax and move, I wonder what other aspects of my life would benefit from this advice. The foundation determines the strength of the building. Disciplined eating habits make a strong body. Good reading and study practices form a strong mind. A good grasp of grammar prepares a writer. A constant prayer life yields a solid Christian. A good stance makes for better karate practice.
I finish the kata. This one felt good. The stance was right and the moves flowed smoothly. I feel much better.
The instructor was right. Everything flows from a good stance.