Allison Allen wants to shatter a few mirrors.
The mirrors don't exist in reality but reflect the images women have of themselves in their minds.
The former Broadway performer will dramatize how these images affect women's lives when she speaks about "Gazing in God's Mirror" at the Ladies Encounter spring event to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 21 at the Blair County Convention Center. Praise and worship for the event will be led by Joyful Noise.
(Courtesy photo) Allison Allen, a dramatist, conference speaker and former Broadway performer will speak about “Gazing in God’s Mirror” at the Ladies Encounter event to be held April 21 at the Blair County Convention Center.
"We live with this sense of tyranny that we are not good enough, not smart enough or pretty enough," Allen said.
In addition to a dramatic segment, Allen will conduct two teaching sessions seasoned with humor and story illustrations. Previously a speaker/actress with the Women of Faith organization, Allen also performed in "Grease" on Broadway and had a role as a nanny on "As the World Turns."
Two local women who have seen Allen perform are Jennifer DiAndreth of Hollidaysburg and Ginny Stuby of Altoona. Allen was one of the presenters at a Women of Faith conference they attended in 2009 in Washington, D.C.
If you go
Who: Allison Allen
What: Ladies Encounter event
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 21
Where: Blair County Convention Center
Tickets: $20 for adults, $10 for teens ages 18 and younger
For tickets: Visit ladiesencounter.com. Tickets also available at Roaring Spring Department Store, Thompson Pharmacy, Open Door Books & Gifts, Everett, or by sending check payable to Encounter to Donna Rhodes, 338 Spring Lane, Martinsburg, PA 16662
Deadline for advance tickets: April 9
Walk-ins: $28 for adults, $14 for teens. No lunch available.
"She's fabulous," DiAndreth said. "Her presentations are incredible."
She said Allen's dramas are personal and real. "She taps into your mind," DiAndreth said.
She called Allen's message, which also dealt with women's images of themselves, powerful and thought-provoking.
DiAndreth said at times there was not a dry eye in the auditorium, but Allen also has the ability to make the crowd laugh.
"She really impacts you," she said.
"She's very believable," Stuby said. "She gets into her character so much. I thought she was wonderful."
For her speaking engagements, Allen writes her own dramatic illustrations and said her talks about the mirror seem to resonate with women from teens to seniors. She touches on physical appearance as well as mental and emotional images that women have of themselves.
She said she remembers praying with a tearful woman in her 70s after one of her programs. The woman had been involved in an automobile accident years earlier that resulted in a fatality. She kept playing that tape inside her head, Allen said.
She said people get caught up in what others say and what they say about themselves.
"We don't see ourselves the way God sees us," Allen said.
She said women define themselves with counterfeit images when they need to identify with God's mirror. "Live fully alive in Him, alive in a way the world is waiting for you to be," she said.
Allen often uses common elements, such as the mirror, to illustrate her points.
"I embrace everyday experiences and see the extraordinary in the ordinary," she said.
When preparing for the Ladies Encounter event, she said daffodils kept coming to mind. As a woman who enjoys gardening, she knew that technical name for daffodil is narcissus. It is also the name of a man from Greek mythology.
"Narcissus never stood up straight because then he wouldn't be able to see his reflection in the pool." she said. "We can be bent toward our reflection or look up and see God."
A resident of Franklin, Tenn., Allen said she is excited to be returning to the state where she acquired her dramatic education.
She is a graduate of the acting program at Carnegie Mellon University, a school recommended by her high school teacher in Greensboro, N.C.
Allen credits Carnegie Mellon with teaching her to be observant which helps in her writing of her dramatic vignettes. She said in one of her classes, the students had two minutes to stare at a room and then were asked to recant every single detail in the space.
It was in college that Allen first began writing a fiction piece called "Magdalene."
"It is a fictional story about the tragedy of sexual abuse and the healing that only Christ can bring," she said. It was originally staged as a musical, co-written by Chris Eaton and Michele Pillar, several years ago. The book is expected to be out in spring 2013.
Allison also is the wife of Jonathan, a worship pastor, and the mother of two sons, Levi, 8, and Luke, 3 months. Ladies Encounter will be her first major conference since her second son's birth.
"It's exciting to get back out there," she said of her speaking engagement in Altoona.
"Pennsylvania has a special place in my heart."