Ann Dusenberry has taken on big challenges in her life.
The Tucson native and University of Arizona graduate faced sharks in “Jaws 2,” co-starred with Lucille Ball in the television series “Life with Lucy,” and dealt with murder in “Murder, She Wrote.”
But this year, the actress-director has faced one of her biggest artistic challenges — directing her husband Brad Fiedel in his one-man show, “Borrowed Time.” Invisible Theatre brings it here for one performance on Sunday.
“It was hell,” she says with a laugh in a phone interview from her Santa Barbara home.
Fiedel is enormously accomplished — the composer’s credits include the scores for “Terminator,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “True Lies.”
But he wasn’t an actor, and his intention was to perform in this one-man show (with music) about his life.
“I would say this is what we needed here, and he’d say ‘I wouldn’t do it that way,’” recalls Dusenberry.
“The directing got better after I assigned him to an acting coach.”
Six months later, Fiedel was ready to speak Dusenberry’s theatrical language.
“He got it,” she says. “He got that his approach hadn’t been an actor’s approach.”
Fiedel is a bit of a mystery in the film world. He was an in-demand composer who walked away from Hollywood.
He rarely talks about why — though the answer is revealed in “Borrowed Time,” Dusenberry says.
But you can get a clue if you take a look at what his life has been like.
“He left film scoring and took up surfing at 50,” Dusenberry says. “He would get up at 3 a.m. just to get a parking place. Then he got bored and went to Mexico to build a surf resort.”
That resort, La Chuparosa de Saladita, about an hour north of Zihuatanejo, is built and running. And though he and Dusenberry travel to the resort regularly, Fiedel was ready for a new challenge.
“He’s a Renaissance man that keeps going,” Dusenberry says.
Directing this play brought both of them back to his earlier career, and to his first marriage. That was a tough part of the play to direct, she says.
“I think he was self-conscious about investing in the love he felt for Bernadette (his ex-wife), and he needed to. They came together in love, and he needed to bring that to the stage. That was probably the most challenging part.”
The play not only answers questions about why Fiedel left Hollywood, it is a story that speaks to most of us, she says.
“It’s about the genesis of change, the evolution of a life. Questions like ‘Did I make the right choices?’ are important questions that really resonate with people.”