Sunday, August 4, 2013

Guest post: sUn-edited: a life all together different

What is there not to say about Ellie. You see, I got this gig, see, and it had been about six years since I had performed professionally, see, and they shipped us off to Atlanta for rehearsals and I was feeling crazed and weird and out of place without my babies and she asked me out to dinner. She opened up her big doe eyes, stared at me from across the table, and started to tell me how we were the same. And although we are, in fact, very different, I immediately felt a kinship that is still without measure or description. 
And if you've ever had the pleasure of seeing Ellie perform, well, you'd know, those doe eyes would draw you in, too.

I’ve taken many journeys in my life.  Almost all of which have been in an effort to fill my life long dream of being a performing artist.  It’s almost always the same thing—audition, job offer, pack my bags, travel, rehearse, perform…..repeat.  It’s been 20 years and it’s been amazing (and awful).  

Three years ago I found myself accepting a job that I thought was gong to be a walk-in-the-park / piece-of-cake / dream-come-true….

I hopped on a plane to Hawaii (the big Island) to direct and choreograph a production of “MULAN JR” to a group of kids at a small mission school.

I hopped on a plan and flew across the country to begin this amazing adventure.  Well….it was not what I was expecting.  The mission school was about and hour and a half away from any part of Hawaii that might end up on a travel guide…I had to take three public busses and then walk another 45 minutes to get to the tiny mission school.  

I was greeted by 26 children and they ranged in age from 4-13.  They were thrilled to meet me and they were very excited to get started.  But I was feeling light headed and short of breath as I looked around and realized we were in a 12 x 15 foot classroom with no windows.  And this is where we were going to “rehearse” every day for the next three weeks…AND no one involved had ever even seen a live show let alone EVER performed in any way, shape or form….

Spoiled, selfish Ellie had to sit down for a moment and get a grip.  I was trapped. I was a snob. And I wanted to go home.

The next week was like an epic underwater swim.  It was a mix of panic attacks and rising-to-the-occasion flip flops that would have killed me if I had not found a constant stream of red wine to pour down my throat…

First day of week two—I decided to get my spoiled head out of my pale white ass and “DO SOMETHING REAL FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE!!!!!” I began documenting my experience.  And I began to fall in love with these children.  And I began to realize that theatre wasn’t just about fancy dance shoes, Broadway budgets and super stars. Theatre can bring a community together. Theatre can help children achieve goals. Theatre can make me a better person.  And it did.

Please watch:

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