Wednesday, January 27, 2016

watching and learning, part two

I'm having a ridiculously busy semester.  Though I don't really have any actual classes anymore, my days start at 6:30 and end around 11:00 (sometimes later) and are full, full, full.  Mostly full of rehearsal, I teach undergrads on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we do have the occasional seminar to attend. Then there's all the other stuff to do—finish my thesis, prepare my thesis presentation, submit articles to journals, submit papers to conferences, figure out how I'm going to pay for a PhD. My time is extremely valuable and I don't have a whole lot of it to spend how I please.

But on Wednesdays we finish our morning session at 12:30 and because of the teaching and class schedules, we don't go back until 7:00.  So for two-ish hours every Wednesday afternoon, I get to sit in the playhouse and watch the actors work. It is unbelievably good fortune that I'm allowed to do this, that I have the time to do this, and that this group of actors are as talented as they are hardworking.  

Today I got to sit in on fight call and music call.  I'm obviously excited about the fighting—Chris moves like a dream, the ASC owns gorgeous swords, and I always love to watch other fighters work.  I was super gratified to see that they work the same way I do—focusing on targets, speed, and intention, reinforcing the good while correcting the bad, etc.  I was also gratified to see that everything the fight captain had to say were all the same notes I would have given. 

I don't know anything about music, but this troupe contains some of the finest musicians I've ever heard in real life.  Chris, John, Chad, Aidan, and Holtz all make magic with each instrument they touch. Listening to Ren√© sing brings me such profound joy. (I still can't believe I got to learn from him for an entire semester—how did we get so lucky?) For half an hour, I just got to listen to these amazing people create the most delicious sounds, and once again, I'm reminded how unspeakably lucky I am to live here, to be able to watch them work, to be in this program, to have nearly unfettered access to this theatre, to make my home in such a wonderful community.  In six months, I'll be gone, and I so badly don't want to leave.  I find such peace and joy in the playhouse.  I've fallen head over heels in love with the space and also the people who fill it.  That room and the people who work there are one of the biggest reasons my 2015 was so amazing, despite the fact that my marriage fell apart and my cat died.  That room and the people who work there are one of the biggest reasons my 2016 is off to such a thrilling start.  That room and the people who work there are one of the biggest reasons I don't want to leave Staunton.  Scratch that—they are the BIGGEST reason.  The theatre is my house of worship.  I feel about that building the same way I feel about the Columbia River, the Pacific Ocean, Star Wars, U2, The Goonies, and Shakespeare—it is an intrinsic part of my soul, and for the rest of my life, whenever I'm away from it, I'll feel a deep and abiding calling.  The words spoken on that stage are a siren song calling me home.

Because Staunton is my home. It is the first place that has ever been mine. Staunton is the place I became a person. How can I ever leave such a place?

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