So, I started my new job on Wednesday. Some glitches put my start off from Monday. Let's just say - parking is an issue in the city and I got caught off guard when my new employer told me - the day before I was scheduled to start - that they don't provide parking for their employees. After much ado, I decided to take the job and muscle through a winter of a 4/10 of a mile walk in the morning and evening. The recent cold has made for a chilly, but certainly energizing jaunt to and from work! The neighborhood isn't exactly ritzy, but I've found I'm alright, given the number of people who make the walk at the same time I'm making it.
On my first night at the theater - I attended the Opening Night performance and after party for Kathleen Tolan's The Memory House. The play is amazing - with Anne Scurria and Susannah Flood giving mind-blowing performances and our Artistic Director Curt Columbus keeping the focus on their performances with a spare set and costuming... I wrote the following the day after -
There was something electric about this performance for me. I could feel it from the opening scene. A mother coming home, with memories of her daughter running through her head. She is strong but she is weary, she is resigned to her circumstance but filled with regret. It could have been my mother.
In the first moments of dialogue, I am quickly reminded of my angst-ridden teenage self. Filled with loose, quivery energy that had no place to go - feeling on the verge of something amazing, but stuck in a self that felt too-small, too-confused, too-undefined.
And I recall an intense, heated conversation had with my mother during my sophomore year of high school. My mother, insistent that I'd go to college. And me, all-knowing teenage goddess that I was, insistent that college wasn't for me.
"I don't want you to make the same mistakes I made." She screamed.
"I don't want to make YOUR mistakes, mom. I want to make MINE. Now leave me alone. Please." I snapped back, wheeling out the door and slamming it shut behind me.
Last night at the theater found me back then. On that spring afternoon. With my mother and her love for me spilling from her every pore - wanting for me every advantage she never had. And me and my want to struggle - to be something, anything but loved by my mother - someone that seemed so ALIEN to me, so different from me.
And now, all these years later, brought back. Sitting in the theater and realizing the gifts my mother gave me then - and the ones she gives me now. The sacrifices she made those years ago, the hurt she shouldered when this person she loved was nothing but angry with her, judgmental about her choices, and disgusted by her advice. How did she keep on? How did she get past my tantrums and the hurtful words I tossed at her? How did she stay confident in me, even when I disappointed myself? My mother gave me the gifts of patience, true unbridled love, and most importantly - the persistent demand that I make the most of myself. And my mother gives me nothing less now - and continues to demand nothing less of me.
What happened for me - and for others, I'm sure, during last night's performance, is the true beauty of theater and the arts. Theater can bring us back to starting points - or transport us to a place we've not yet seen. It can make us think in new ways about where we've been - or where we'd like to go. It can give us time for self-reflection and change our perspective altogether. Excellent writing and amazing performance can make us see, with extraordinary clarity, that our experience, though it belongs to us alone, might not be unique. Theater makes us realize both the common strings we share - the ones that we pay little attention to but that tie us to the people in our lives AND the strings we've never seen because they're not a part of our consciousness - but that cleave us to people with whom we thought we shared nothing.
So the scoop is this. I am stoked to be in an enviroment that feeds my creativity. I am floored by a boss who values my opinion and relies on me to be the expert when it comes to the Annual Fund piece of our fundraising efforts. I'm thrilled to be working with an amazing staff - in my real debut as a supervisor (I've only ever had one staff member work with me at a time) - I'm hoping I make as cool a boss as I think I do... (LOL).
And I am privileged to be working for a crown jewel of the Theater Arts scene.
In a word - this is AWESOME!