Fine, Alright, Okay

At tea with my good friend Ali this afternoon we found ourselves in a discussion about community and building relationships, etc. and she made the statement that when she first came over from South Africa and someone in Savannah, GA (my home and where she moved) would ask her how she was doing that she would stop and answer them – fully. She and her mother soon noticed the irritation that this caused the asker of this question….every time it was asked. She said that she and her mother came to realize that here, in the US, when someone asks that question it isn’t because they actually care to know the answer, it is for the appearance of being “polite”. The only answer the people wanted to hear was, “okay, fine, alright, or good” – at best. As she is saying this I am nodding my head, affirming that I have experienced the VERY same thing! I finally blurted out, “What IS fine!?!?!” What does that convey? Is it truthful? What is it that makes that answer acceptable to both the speaker and the listener? Why even bother going through the motions of being “polite” if there is no intent to actually engage the other person in conversation? If anything, the blatant disinterest in the answer is more rude than not asking the question to begin with.
Here is what i propose: We ASK questions that we are genuinely interested in hearing the answer to. We make a more concerted effort to connect and engage with those around us. It takes so little time to be completely honest…and think of all that might be gained if we actually communicated effectively with the people around us, in our communities, in the world!!
Hahaha…I feel like my rainbow has just burst into flames…so, on that note, I’ll sign off for now.

Embracing Commonalities while acknowledging Diversity

I have found that this is a major through-line in my work. While we are all part of smaller communities, determined by locale, interests, age, ethnicity, etc. – we are all part of a larger global community. What are the things that bind us together? What are those things that separate us? How can we find a way to find harmony within those differences so that we can celebrate that which makes us essentially human? What does that even mean?

I have been thinking (if feels like in circles) about this topic for the past 6 months…and I feel like this is the beginning of a lifelong pursuit that may never produce answers – only questions.

The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow

So, I spent this past weekend putting up and closing a youth production of Annie, Jr. I was fortunate enough to be the Assistant Director on this project and I have to say that I couldn’t be more proud of our kids. What astounds me is the growth that took place over the course of this project. We began in October with an ensemble of 50+ students and went through the auditioning/casting process and then into rehearsals. All day today people were asking me, “How did it go?!” …and all I can do it smile and say that it did indeed go well. They performed to the best of their abilities, with all their hearts and had a ball doing it. They were nothing short of fabulous – or, as our Director Steve would say, FIERCE.  Of course there are a few bumps along the way – there were some missed entrances, late cues, dropped lines, a few “oopsies” into the mics…but isn’t that all part of it? The thrill that is live theatre? Also, aren’t those all part of the learning process that we go through as artists and students?

The truth is, I’m going to miss those 50+ students a great deal. They taught me patience – through making me practice it myself, but also by showing me tremendous amounts of it while they eagerly anticipated the moment when that magic word “PLACES” was to be called. They made clear to me once again why I am in the field that I am in. I witnessed these children form a community of friends and artists. They made connections and forged new relationships. They addressed major issues in this short span of time from questions about whether it is more important to “be yourself” or to act a certain way to fit in to whether or not they could be friends outside of this safe theatre environment. They displayed courage by performing under massive amounts of pressure knowing that their family and friends were filling the house for each performance. All in all, I must say that I am in awe of them and am so grateful to be privileged enough to have worked with them.