Intersections

12/10

It’s beginning . . . that lovely, insane, hugely demanding and equally rewarding intersection of EVERYTHING.

I watched the last of my Hanukah lights burn down as I strung Christmas tree lights last night.  Today I’ve begun to tie up the loose ends of props and payroll for January’s shows as I made a list of what essentials I needed to pack up for this Up and Coming sharing that’s happening tonight.   I just put show gifts for coaches in the same “cart” where I made Christmas buys.  Yes… EVERYTHING is somehow demanding attention, needing time and mushing together, NOW.

Life is this incredible intersection of what we feel passionate about and the ongoing saga of what we simply must do.   I’m stuck in the middle of that muddle.  Do I vacuum or make one more call?   Do I set a needed meeting, or do I steal away and walk the mall . . .?  Do I have time to eat or would it be better to jump in the shower?   Do I schedule yet one more practice . . .?  –  or . . .there is no “or” . . .  practice ALWAYS practices.

Intersections are busy, crowded places.  This weekend they have been bustling with people, precious people.   There is a crew of us who need to line up cots at the church or better yet at a coffee shop.  Lack of sleep is making me grouchy and contributing to why this writing – that I truly cherish doing– has taken so long to get out.  That intersected with LOTS of coffee is why my thoughts seem to be jumping all over the place.

The first costume day was Saturday . . .  really, this show before the show is always as heartwarming, fun and full of crazy, wonky moments as the very best theatre.  It was a great day. . we pushed and in three hours didn’t quite make it through Shrek.   It was a valiant attempt.  That morning intersected with the funeral of a friend I’ve known since high school.  Laughter, grief, old friends, new family, joy, tears all filled my heart.  I fielded immediate questions about costumes and head pieces as I left to ponder bigger questions of life and what’s after.  It all matters, all of it.     Gratefully there are so many people extending helping hands that I managed to slip away for that sacred hour and come back just in time to clean up and get home before the amazing boys team charity group showed up to paint.  We sprayed gold until late.   It was a healing time for me . . .I felt useful and didn’t have to think . . . There is an intersection of mindlessness and spraying blocks that’s incredibly important.

Intersection is all about the business of this company too . . . all week we’ve been having budget meetings and it isn’t lost to me that there is always this meeting place of dreams and practical reality.  We have been so blessed.  We just keep going . . .we don’t linger in the intersections too terribly long.  It’s dangerous to stand unprotected in the middle – you end up being shoved in the direction of whoever, whatever is the strongest force.   Sooooooooooo, I’m dodging between necessary things and moving towards January.   It means I may attend less other stuff but those practices?   Remember, there is no other “or.”   (And this is why ordering on line has become such an awesome miracle.)

There are so many intersections but my most cherished one happens tonight.  It’s what happens when we take a journey of rehearsals, turn it into a gift, and invite others to watch.  There is this meeting of what we can do and what we can’t, of expectation and surprise, of pure delight and amazement.   I don’t know what will be tonight and, in the biggest way, I don’t know what will be at either show in January.  But I do know this intersection – this meeting up of the dreamer and audience, the daring artist and the program holder is scary, fraught with vulnerability and leaves room for all kinds of misunderstanding and frustration – as well as truly grand, insuppressible love and heartfelt pride.   We’ve been at it so many years, and I’m so old now, that I want to see only the latter.   My guys are so often misunderstood, unchallenged, under-appreciated and marginalized.  It is why we must be.  We must offer a different way to view life, to see the heart of another, and to celebrate what is inherently possible if you but dare to believe.

Intersections . . . they are energy filled, pulsating places, offering a blurry array of options. No, we can’t do them all.  Yes, doing some of them is enough.  I hear that voice in my head – don’t linger . . . make a choice and then, go on . . . and on . . .    trusting . . .

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Hanukkah

December 1, 2018

Thursday was a blur –  meetings, rehearsals, coach practice all spilling into each other as can happen when living with wearing too many “hats.”   Looking around at my courageous tribe, it’s what we’re all doing – together.   Friday much more of the same with the addition of the first ever Detour Delta Nu (the official Legally Blonde Sorority) pink & slippers, practice & pizza party.  It was wonderful – loud, fun and full of connection.  As I came home from that second night of trying to keep C. awake long enough so I could get him to bed, I thought a lot about this group and the wonder of the holiday season immediately upon us . . .

Life is a frenzy.  It’s gift giving, light, miracle, sharing, song, food, story, wonder, BUSY . . . It’s  all woven together in my heart.  So much so that today when I went to Target (still mulling) to buy a gift card for a birthday party I was already late for, I was also very inspired.  I came away with a great medium size Christmas tree AND Menorah and candles as well.

We’ll get to Christmas in the weeks to come.  Right now, I’m totally into the setting up of my Menorah.

Hanukkah and these last weeks of blocking, finessing, adjusting, and readjusting scenes share so much in common.   I love the promise of these next 8 nights and the miracle of enough.   I have finally figured out that the sacred story of the oil within lamps being replenished, night after night, is exactly how I feel about my own store of energy, creativity, and patience right now.  I wonder how it’s all going to get done – how will we all get filled . . . just like I’m sure those Biblical heroes wondered where more oil was to come from.  Maybe the answer is not a “where” . . . maybe it’s simply a “just keep on.” Nowhere does it say this believing band of people looked and saw their oil stores magically rise . . . no, it simply says that they continued to light their lamps – together. They trusted – together.  They believed – YES, together.   Not one night, but night after night- even as it grew dark – they shared a common hope.

It is exactly where we are in this process.  We need a miracle – the miracle requires us to show up and keep at it.  Even if, and when, we feel a little empty.   It allows for something inexplicable to happen.  That’s why it’s a miracle.   BUT we do have to do something.  We have to read a script, play the show cd, study, strike a match to what it is that fuels us and keep on –   with trust and belief – one practice at a time – time after time.  Somehow, we need to believe there will be enough energy, creativity, the “stuff” of what is essential to bring these stories to life.  We don’t need to have proof of what’s needed for the weeks ahead. . .no, we simply need what we need for now, for this week. and then for next week and then for the next after that.   By then it will be Christmas, and new promise.

If ever there was a time to do two shows this is it. I’m sure.  I may have had the dream, but the daring and determination is shared equally by so very many. Somehow, it’s all becoming; it really is.     It’s possible, shimmering, cohesive, fun, inspiring, hilarious, and touching. We’re in this agonizing process of not knowing yet but becoming – It’s a little dark (is) but we share a common hope that requires only our diligent trusting . . . rehearsal after rehearsal . . .  Detour endeavors to provide a really grand show but it’s this part of the journey that keeps me and so many others fueled.  I find something ignited in my heart and imagination by the surprises and wonder that happen weekly.   . . .actors who get a word, the look of new-found confidence on the face of Elle, T’s passion for his part, a whole sisterhood of women doing their “bend and snap’s,” and knowing that while we work, Ray, Zoe, and Anna are at it all day making props – even as others are trying to balance this Detour budget.  That IS miraculous.

I’m lighting candles this week with gratitude.  I know we live in the midst of a miracle.  May love never to run out.  May the joy that pours from the hearts of these actors create light in a world that needs their example of courage and joy.   May we trust there will always be enough – enough of whatever is needed – to finish the work that’s before us.  No, I truly don’t know how it’s all going to get done. But maybe I don’t need to know.   I’m so glad to live out this season that does not feel compelled to demand an answer; it simply celebrates an act of faith – together.

 

So – my prayer as I strike a match each night this week.

Be a light.   Just keep on . . .  Trust – and yes, there will be enough . . .

 

Thanks

November 20

Like so many others tonight I’m planning out my Thanksgiving . . . I need to walk a little more in the morning, so I can eat a whole lot more tomorrow night . . .  I need to cook a small mountain of sweet potatoes and a pile of other veggies . . . Gratefully I get to spare a turkey.  Yes – ALMOST a break from rehearsals (only scheduled one – just black Friday.  I’d much rather do lines than be caught up in store madness) I’m immensely appreciative for every bit of what’s happening – yes, all of it.  I love this holiday and all it stands for.   Like so many others I’m going through this list of what I’m most thankful for.  Without a second’s  hesitation, I know that for me that list,  ends as it begins, with people – those who make Detour work, those who make me work, those who care, those who may not know me well, not yet, and so many others who touch my life with a smile, a word, a moment’s random spontaneous interaction and then disappear from my story.    For all who inspire, who create this community of support, who serve goodness in our world, I give abundant thanks.

 

Many of you already know my eyes have been in a bit of a very crazy, wonky place.  So…   Thursday night after rehearsal the Beydas took all this in their very capable hands and loving hearts and got me an appointment with yet another doctor –   Robin Ross and her two lovely assistants who truly deserve thanks in this blog.    For the first time I’m hopeful – maybe I won’t look/feel like a pirate forever.   I’m used to be the one running the show so this week of letting go as I’ve let someone else take over and take care of me has been a humbling experience.   Thanks for all of them and for this lesson.

 

Seeing things, a little blurry has renewed what I see with my heart.  And of course, that’s the outstretched hands, the smiles, the effort, the joy of those who surround and sustain me.

Sure, as I put down one name, I’ll leave out others that are truly ESSENTIAL – so please, if you read these words know I’m talking to you – each of you – directors, coaches, actors, designers, and the Neils/May door installation team.    I say it all the time but since we’ve devoted a whole day to being grateful let me be one more voice that joins in.    I am awed by the miraculous accumulation of gifts life presents through your wide-open hands . . .

 

I am thankful for the richness of friendship, intelligence, patience, cooperation, ingenuity and the pure kindness of the dear people who have woven themselves through the fabric of my life and Detour’s.   I am thankful for this family – whether by blood or heart adoption.

 

May your day reflect the miracle each of you are in this world.  You make this earth we call home shine brighter.  You make this story we share one that holds a luminous ending.  You make this journey BETTER – one filled with endless opportunity.  Maybe even these “wonky” eyes of mine are a blessing.    The fox told the little prince long ago . . ..” it is only with the heart one sees rightly.”

 

See and be the gift in one another’s stories . . .know you are already that in mine.

 

Bless each of you . . . and joyous Thanksgiving to you all.

Stars

November 9

Just got back from seeing, A Star Is Born.  I’m an “all in” movie fan. I became so engrossed in this story that by the end I was struggling (not too successfully) to keep back the tears.  Becoming a celebrity, a “star,” and sharing your heart from the stage is no easy thing.  Seeing one “star” rise as another fades – is a hard reality check.    In addition to all the rest this love story has me thinking about, two really important lines (that I can’t quite quote exactly) keep going around and round as I sit here mulling where we are in the process this week.

Line one . . . Just before Ally is to go on stage as a solo act, Jackson tells her he needs a word with her.  This is the part I can’t quote word for word, but my take away is Jackson’s heartfelt reminder to her that she has something precious to give from that stage – herself.   With the knowing that only an “old soul” star can pass on to a rising one, he reminds her that the audience is there to hear HER story.  That she must be honest and true to herself, real, authentic – what she must do is show up – she is the gift.

The 2nd line still reverberating is the explanation of talent Jackson offers his brother.   Another paraphrase – he tells him, “We’re all given the same 12 notes, octave to octave, the same 12 notes.    It’s how we choose to use them that makes the difference.”  Ahh, there’s the challenge.

So back to our Detour story and all that’s gone on this week.

We’re digging in . . . we’re making these words, these stories our own . . .  We’re “showing up,” investing hugely to give of who we really are.  When I listened to the full cast of Detour sing the hero song Thursday, I had to fight back my tears.  In traditional productions of Shrek, this is a song performed by Shrek, Donkey and Fiona.  In our rendition of course ever story book character, guards, knights, the Dragon and even Farquaad join in.   There’s a reason.  It’s because it’s part of telling OUR story, showing up as we are – both as characters on stage and in real life.  We want to be heroes.  That’s as authentic as it gets. I’m sure each of these story book folk holds a dream in his/her heart.  I’m sure that’s all Farquaad and the others want too . . .  So, we all sing, Thursday the Shrek rehearsal ended with that sound filling the room.  We conquered one huge song that spoke to our Detour story.  When the full company stands and together, they sing, “So YES, I’d be a hero. . .”  it is the most real, the most vulnerable we can be.  It is absolutely honest and for that reason it takes my breath away.

Then there’s Legally Blonde and what it means to for all of us to have access to that same pool of notes   –   only for us it’s more than notes, we face the same script full of words.  I’ve watched high school productions of this show, touring productions, other community theatre productions and of course u-tube.  They’re all the same words – “OMG!”  It’s how these same words are said that stands out every time.  I see how hard this group is working to remember, to understand and to invest something of themselves in this production. They’ve embraced the challenge.   I see who’s gone home and worked HARD.  They walk in triumphant – different.    There are no comparisons with us – there is just this glorious uniqueness – and vulnerability. We are unabashedly who we are.   (Complete with giggles, hands a flutter and totally precious omg’s -all our own.) Each of these wondrous men and women endeavor so courageously to fully inhabit their work.    Still, there is always something of their own heart that spills over – always to shine around the edges of anything said. It’s that piece of light that’s “star stuff.”

We’re telling a known story – for both shows – but with our shows, our process, nothing is ever really completely known or the same.    We trust our actors to move, to react, to respond, to seize their lines, their roles with individual resolve and genuine excitement.   That’s the invitation playing out in these middle weeks of the rehearsal process.   Weekly I appreciate there’s a reason we’re called directors, not dictators.

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So many stars are necessary to light the sky.  Stars give light, warmth, brilliance, they radiate inexplicable beauty – the stuff of dreamers and poets.     Stars go to incredible lengths to travel through a night sky and share what they have to offer. We just have to show up and look.   If we remain inside, doors shut – we only read about them.   Maybe going to a Detour show is little like going outside and taking the time to look up.  Maybe opening the door is truly opening our hearts.  And, as we do – there is simply brilliance – the light that comes when you reflect back 50 or more heartfelt dreams.  So, that’s my job –to find each of these daring dreamers a moment to reflect their beauty in a world that sorely needs their light.  Your job? . . . to witness it.    A star is born every Thursday . . .  actually, it’s a dazzling stage full.

 

“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are . . .

when you wish upon a star your dreams (really do) come true. . . “Jiminy Cricket.