I am up early. First day off in a long long time. For theatre people official holidays are performance nights or occasionally an excuse not to work for a moment. We live in a kind of continuous state of work as we never know where the next pay check will come from or if we will get the job in a sea of other talented artists in need. My kids are in Bogota, Colombia and I am here with the dog and cat in the quiet off City Park in Denver. I still feel at times like a transplant from another place and another time. Growing up in New York City and an adult life there and all over the east coast then Bogota I sometimes wake up and wonder what country I am in. What country friends is this? says someone in Shakespeare….Viola…The country I live in is the theatre. I don’t think this means I am disconnected from a real life it is just that what defines it is the life of the theatre and the people of the theatre. Having a family of course alters this. As a parent my kids’ schools and friends and activities and needs and daily life define my time and concern and are who I am in another way . And my love and joy. But for me ongoing familiarity is in the rehearsal studio. I know Chekhov and Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams as much as I know anything or anyone else.
Today on American Independence Day I do reflect on what I know of my country and my culture. We are such an odd mix of so much. Family defines culture at the beginning and then as you grow and go out into the world you find new families and new community. I have spent some time in Bogota, Colombia and my kids are half Colombian. There are so many values and history and connection I see in that culture. The true love of family, the true love of life lived each day, a search for a spiritual way of life, a search for opportunity and advancement in education and technology, and a rejection of materialism. things I admire and am grateful my kids see this and experience this each summer and through their Colombian family,,,and of course world cup today Colombia is playing at 2:)….The hard thing is figuring out who we are as individuals and then who we are as a group. Our country celebrates the individual and his freedom but when we try to come together in groups we struggle at times with this. To give up our personal freedoms or personalities for the good of the group is sometimes very hard for Americans. North Americans I should say. Defining community and feeling connected inside the whole is challenging for us. At worst we are spoiled and egotistical. At best we are progressive and generous. Being the leader of a group of actors and artists I am challenged to find this balance. To celebrate each individuals personal growth and talents while finding an identity as a whole for this small new company called Visionbox.
I like people who are energetic and confident and excited to be alive each day. I like talented sensitive artists. I bristle at ego and uptightedness. I bristle at close mindedness. I reject prejudice and elitism of all kinds. I love and admire the vulnerability and struggle of challenged people. Challenged by race, poverty, injustice and I know theatre has the power to heal and move us forward as people in society. We can change our world with this work. Even if it is just helping one actor get into a school they want to go to. Or one person to have one good day today.
So those are some of my early morning July 4th ramblings…We do Three Sisters Kardashian on Sunday a look at Chekhov through contemporary american hollywood culture and then on to the great master Shakespeare on Monday. The work continues and so does the community building. Come see us, come take class, come laugh and cry and sing with us! And as my mom used to say ” Happy 4th!”