Well my time at Shakespeare & Company came to an end on Friday as the figurative curtain came down on a stellar opening night performance of Romeo and Juliet. It was an incredible and intense 8 weeks, that taught me many a lesson and reminded me why I do what I do.
I hope when “they” (lord only knows who the proverbial they are) talk about me, they will say I had a clear vision and a spirit of generosity. That is true of R&J director Ms. Daniela Varon, she also has the patience of Job. Despite whatever pressure she may have felt or been under, she always kept a positive attitude in the rehearsal room. On opening night she said to me “this is why you keep working until the last minute.” And it’s true, I learned that I have to be persistent and relentless but that there is a way of doing that that is gracious, supportive, and collaborative. Thank you Daniela for such an invaluable lesson.
So now what do I do? Retreat is a month away and I have plenty of Shaw to keep me busy. I also have my thesis defense happening right before retreat, so there is plenty to prepare for there. I’m taking some much needed time to just hang with my 9 year who will be 10 before I can blink. So that’s a regular helping of swimming and movie dates. But I am also teaching. Working as a teaching artist has its ups and downs of course, but it is always an affirmation of the work we do in the theatre.
I am currently working in Holyoke with a group of summer school students entering 9th grade in the fall, many are English language learners, and none of them have a background in theatre. It is AWESOME to rediscover Zip/Zap/Zop or sound and motion; they want to know why we do these ridiculous games, and I have to have a real and convincing answer for them. These kids are challenging, but they are also active and smart. My teaching partner and I can’t BS them, we have to be clear and articulate and engaging. We have to offer them something rather than expecting them to come to us. I am probably learning more about theatre than they are. This is the audience I want for my work; people who will insist that the work be resonant for them, engaging, clear, and that we not pander to them, but offer them something that is new, fresh, and challenging in a way that is relevant to them.
Ok, well that’s all I got for now.