Taking a Stand

Okay, there’s this thing happening lately.  Lots of people are seeing it, I think, but hardly anyone is making noise about it.

The thing is, I don’t think we can let this behavior be normalized – I don’t think it’s a thing that ANY of us should just ignore, just say “Sure, whatever, it’s just my life but go ahead and keep doing that thing you’re doing.”  We can’t do that!  It’s NOT RIGHT.  So here we go.  After this event today, I can’t keep quiet.

Who the HELL decided that Thick-Cut Bacon on BLT’s was a good idea?

There’s no way this came from the BLT lovers.  None.  Thick-cut bacon?  I want to EAT my BLT, not wrestle with it.  You can’t bite through that shit, you need to grapple with it, and it’s not proper.  There are a handful of things that we all agree on, and one of them is that a BLT is meant to be devoured – eaten – smoothly, pleasantly – it’s not one of the “challenge foods”!

I mean, sure, some meals you’re like “OKAY! Let’s do this, I’m ready for a fight!”  Lobster.  You sit down to lobster and you’re cracking and snapping and twisting, I mean it comes with A BIB AND A GODDAMNED TOOLKIT.  Some foods are expected to be challenges. Clams.  Pomegranates (Ridiculous, but worth it.)  Even, like, KIWI!  Kiwi you’re like “Oh, geez, this is gonna be good.  First though I gotta peel this fuzzy crap off here, oh geez, it’s slippery – DAMMIT I DROPPED IT AGAIN – Why does this fuzzy peel make me think of a pig’s snout? Don’t think about it, peel it – eat the kiwi.”

But we’re talking about a BLT.  Skip the B for a second: It’s lettuce, and tomato.  Basic.  Neither of those are high on the “special skills required” meter.  Then you have mayo.  Just mayo.  Not Miracle Whip, I will punch you in the throat, stop it.  Lettuce, tomato, mayo.  On white bread.  Seriously – white bread.  I ordered this BLT, and they offered me rye bread.  “What?” I asked.  “NO!  No.  White bread, lightly toasted.”  He looked at me oddly, and I realized it was because my voice had gone up an octave in panic.  Rye bread.  And just when I thought that there was no way things could get stranger… he asked if I wanted cheese on it.

Cheese.

Spots swam in front of my eyes.  I had a little moment of tunnel vision… It’s like I stepped through the looking glass into some alternate universe where nothing makes sense.  My palms started to sweat.  I looked around the tiny little deli/sandwich counter for help, but no one would make eye contact.

“No”, I said, trying to slow my breathing, “NO CHEESE on my BLT”, and I stopped talking out loud because I was trying to be polite to someone who clearly is not from, y’know, our dimension.  I don’t know,  maybe he was just tired, or maybe he was raised improperly by, like, wolves or marauding gypsies, or marauding gypsy wolves.  Whatever, I declined cheese on my BLT.  That would be a BLTC.  Or a BLCT.  Or a CBLT, which I think is a Canadian sports league but honest to God after this whole thing I just don’t have the energy to check.

So.  This BLT experience has really got me anxious, and I’ve only barely finished placing the order… but we soldier on, this confused young man and I.  Moments pass.  I can’t remember much of what happened, I just sat and tried to get my bearings back. The BLT arrives.  “Here you go.  I think you’ll like this, it’s got 6 slices of our thick-cut bacon on it.”

What. Is. Happening.

The cook-wolf-counterman-gypsy departs.  I inspect the sandwich.  Yes.  He’s correct.  Where there should be delicious, crispy, thin bacon strips… there are giant slabs of meat.

There are some things, in the universe, that are just… necessary.  Hydrogen, for instance.  Hydrogen is one of the building blocks of our universe – you wouldn’t just, say, remove it and replace it with Thicker Hydrogen, just because you could.  Bad things would result.  You wouldn’t pluck a fish from the sea and say “Here, swim in the air”, or just add a little cousin that no one ever heard of into a popular tv show just because the cast is getting old, because that would be completely ridiculous.

And yet, here we are.

Bacon in a BLT is meant to be thin.  Crispy.  That crispiness contrasts perfectly, you see, with the softness of a tomato slice, the gentleness of a lettuce leaf.  I don’t want bacon that requires me to saw it with my incisors for hours on end, I want bacon that explodes into a million shards of stabby, nitrate infused heaven the second I bite it.  Then those shards combine with the smooth, creamy mayo and the tomato and lettuce and toasted white bread and they achieve the state of gustatorial perfection that only a proper BLT can achieve.

Please.  I urge you.  Let your voice be heard.  We can no longer be silent on this issue.

Only together can we make a difference.

It’s time to take a stand.

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A pretty good Friday…

Lots of looking to the future today.

I got to nail down the rights to the last of the plays for our 2017-2018 Season at Williamston Theatre.  Confirmed rights and dates with one of the licensors, and sent out a couple of playwright contracts for some of our world premieres.

Season selection is one of my favorite parts of being an Artistic Director.  There’s something energizing and exciting about it – working with the staff to nail down what our shows will be, what the face of our organization will be for a season.  “This is who we are this year, everybody!  Come hang out!”  There’s a sense of The Future – moving forward, growing, making things – creation.  I love it.

Also, I started speaking with our prospective new apprentices.  Lining up interviews, discussing when they’d be able to meet, looking over resumes, that kind of stuff.  Looking into who and what the rest of this season, and all of next season, will bring to the team.

Proofread a big press release from the National New Play Network for a project we’re involved in.  That’ll go out next week, announcing a fun thing that we’ve not yet been able to talk about much.

Plus, I got to have a phone call with my daughter in Finland.  It’s her birthday!  Well, for us her birthday will happen tomorrow, but at 5pm here we called her because Finland is 7 hours ahead of us and she was out at Midnight CELEBRATING her birthday!  How our little girl is suddenly 19 and living on the other side of the planet is still something I’m struggling to grasp, but just texting with her today and talking with her tonight reminded me of how bright and exciting her future is.  And her little brother is on a bus to a weekend Show Choir retreat where he’s going to have a blast singing, dancing and hanging out with friends.  So much potential and goodness coming for both of them!

So, yep.  The future.  So many good things are on the way.  Sure, there are challenges, that goes without saying.  But that’s part of the fun.  Do I know exactly what I’ll be doing a year from now?  2 years?  5? Nope.  I can guess, I can hope, I can plan… and then life will do what it does regardless of my hopes and plans.  But looking around right now, I’m sure glad I’m here – and I kind of can’t wait to see what happens!

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Just thinking on a Sunday…

Such a mix of things this week – odd emotional personal anniversaries, American democracy in rare form, wonderful theatre things…

This week, the 19th in fact, was the 3 year anniversary of my going into the hospital with bacterial meningitis and having my life, and outlook on life, changed forever.

Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of my father passing.  Miss him every day.  Facebook and family shared some pictures of him, and of course I have some videos and pics, so I spent a little time with those yesterday.  When I think about him, one of the things I think about most is how tightly he’d hug you.   Especially the last 9 months or so of his life, between my getting out of the hospital and his passing.  Any time we were parting for even a short while, those hugs would be long and smothering, in the best way.  I love the pictures of him, and the videos where I get to hear his voice, and his laugh, but boy I miss those hugs.

Other things this week – a new president was inaugurated, and he’s a pretty controversial figure.  Lots of examples of democracy at work as huge peaceful marches and demonstrations are happening all over the place this weekend.  As a response to the divisiveness, and need for community, we did a reading at Williamston Theatre of a great play by Lauren Gunderson that is political, and hilarious, and incredibly smart – it skewers extremism on both sides of the aisle, and inspires action and participation. Theatres all over the country performed it that night. The reading was packed, the audience loved it, and a wonderful evening was had by all.  It was really moving to see everyone, Democrats, Republicans and everyone else, come together and give ourselves permission to laugh at ourselves.  Yes, there’s work to be done to heal the country and promote justice, equality and empathy – the reading was a nice start.  🙂  Togetherness.

We’re in tech week for A Painted Window, too – this beautiful play just breaks your heart.  It’s about sisterhood, classism, racism, fear… another beautiful piece to make us think about how we treat each other.  The run through today was gorgeous – I can’t wait for audiences to see it.

And this weekend I also got a chance to have a nice long phone chat with my daughter in Finland.  She’s doing well, making friends and making a life for herself, and I’m super proud of her.  It’s funny…. I know she’s having a good time, I know this is a great experience for her and, even though we text and chat and can have long phone calls… well, as her Dad… I sure understand why MY Dad hugged so long and hard.  Boy, I can’t wait to hug that kid again.

All these things this week… so many things that come back to the simplest of lessons.  Life is short.  It’s unknowably short.  We should live it fully.  Everyone should have the chance to live it fully.

Love hard.  Laugh Hard.

Hug people.

 

 

So Much Goodness…

So many great things going on in my work life right now, I just have to share my excitement!

Coming up next week, on Friday the 20th (Inauguration Day) is a reading of the hilarious, biting play The Taming by Lauren Gunderson:

THE TAMING
By Lauren Gunderson
A Staged Reading
Friday, January 20, 2017 at 7pm

The Taming, Lauren Gunderson’s raucously funny political comedy, will have both parties laughing in the aisles. In this sharp, witty, all-female “power-play” inspired by Shakespeare’s Shrew, Miss America contestant Katherine has political aspirations to match her beauty pageant ambitions. All she needs to revolutionize the American government is the help of one ultra-conservative senator’s aide and one bleeding-heart liberal blogger who will do anything for her cause. Featuring Alysia Koloscz, Robin Lewis-Bedz, and Melissa Mercieca.

Read more about Lauren Gunderson’s readings of The Taming across the country on Inauguration Day. (This is an article from American Theatre)

This is the website about the play specifically: THE TAMING

Join us for an evening of insight, laughs and optimism as we celebrate Inauguration Day. Call to reserve seats: 517-655-7469. Admission is free, but donations to the Williamston Theatre will be graciously accepted at the door.Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 4.48.08 PM.png

Also at Williamston Theatre, we are RIGHT NOW in rehearsal for a beautiful, beautiful play called A Painted Window, by Christy Hall.  The writer is in residence, Frannie Shepherd-Bates is leading a terrific team, and I can’t wait to get into previews with this show.  Check out the details here!

We’ve begun the pre-production process for 1984, the show after A Painted Window, and I’m very excited to be directing it.  This is a super-cool adaptation of George Orwell’s novel, by Michael Gene Sullivan, and the team I get to build this production with is just fantastic.

The next show I’m directing AFTER that won’t be until October, but it’s going to be a treat: I’m working with the Penny Seats Theatre Company in Ann Arbor on an October production of the super spooky The Turn Of The Screw!

We’re nearly finished putting together our lineup of plays for the 2017/2018 Season at Williamston Theatre, too!  I’m not allowed to talk about it yet, but I’m just champing at the bit to share it with the world!

So, as I sit at my desk today, answering emails and working on schedules, I’m listening to the construction of the set for A Painted Window downstairs.  Tomorrow I’ll come in and watch a stumble-thru of the show, and chat afterwards with the director, playwright, cast and the design team, make sure everyone has what they need to bring the piece to life.  Next week I’ll head to another state for a reading of a play we’re going to produce soon – a day in Florida will be nice, but a nice discussion with staff from another theatre and a playwright with whom we’ll be collaborating is the real prize.

Oh – also.  This appeared in my office:

I don’t know who where it came from.  It’s awesome, and I’m grateful for surprise gifts!

I hope everyone is having as good a week as I am!

inspiration. quotes about theatre.

I believe that stories well told can accomplish a pretty magical feat: transporting us into the hearts and minds of others. Stories offers us the chance to flex the superpowers of empathy, understanding, connection across experience, and the amplification of often silenced voices. Stories also remind us of the power of joy, hope, and humor in the face of division and conflict. And stories can fire us up for the work of fighting the good fight. Theatre specifically requires us to show up and participate in the story and feel the particular power of congregation as well as catharsis. The communal embrace of theatre was always an ancient way of processing politics, society, and great change. I believe it still is.

—Lauren Gunderson

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Make them laugh, make them cry, and hack to laughter. What do people go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise. I am a servant of the people. I have never forgotten that.

– Mary Pickford