Advice “IRL” with the Cast of Tiny Beautiful Things: Nicole Gawronski

OpenStage’s upcoming production Tiny Beautiful Things follows the relationships between online advice columnist Sugar and the many real-life readers who share their most intimate secrets with her. The play is staged as Sugar sits at home behind a laptop, the actors voicing their letters aloud to Sugar. Sugar replies aloud with advice wrapped around pieces of her life story. 

Inspired by the “Dear Sugar” advice column, I asked the cast to give their own take on some of the most popular advice column questions asked “in-real-life”. This week we continue our series with some advice from Nicole Gawronski, playing Sugar herself!

Meet Nicole Gawronski: “Sugar”

Nicole Gawronski is a Social Worker and has been listening to people's stories of trauma and triumph for over 20 years. She has appeared recently in OpenStage’s The Mystery of Love and Sex as Lucinda and as one of the agitated Weston sisters, Ivy, in August: Osage County. Other favorite roles include Woman in Pop Up Theatre's production of Cock, Susie Monahan in the 2013 OpenStage reprisal of Wit, Miss Fischer in A Picasso, Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickled and Dimed, Barb in Swimming In The Shallows and the wives of two wrongly convicted men in The Exonerated.

Here is some of the advice Nicole had to offer:

How do I turn a bad day around and get it back on track?

 It’s okay to have a bad day. There is so much pressure to always be on, always be happy, always be your best…but that’s not how life really is. You can give yourself permission to feel exactly how you feel but it’s helpful to pause and think how you WANT to feel. Sometimes that really shifts things in a sort of magical way.

There’s this girl I like but she doesn’t like me back. What should I do?

Know that you are enough and you deserve people who like you right back. Don’t give this person too much power over how you feel about yourself. Move on and focus on making your life happy and full. That’s when stuff will just drop in your lap so easily.

How do I stop worrying about what other people think of me?

Do you like EVERYONE? You do not. That means not EVERYONE is going to like you either. Often this has nothing to do with you. Also, know this:  People who are quick to judge and criticize others ALWAYS are doing that to themselves in the worst possible way. It goes both ways. So, if you are gentle and kind and encouraging with yourself you will find it pretty easy to give the folks around you a little grace. This is the part under your control so I say run with that and let the rest go.


Tiny Beautiful Things

Directed by Kate Austin-Gröen

Playing May 28 – June 12, 2021

Based on the best-selling book by Cheryl Strayed and adapted by Nia Vardalos for the stage - this play is about recognizing the chaos, healing when you are broken, and finding the spirit and determination to move on. Content Warning: This show discusses topics of child abuse, sexual abuse/assault, and drug abuse. Recommended for ages 16 and up/parent's discretion.