A snowy Saturday, with no where I have to go, nothing I have to do. I am brimming with gratitude for that. On this most ordinary of winter days, I am snuggled in yoga pants and a ratty old school sweatshirt that I found abandoned at the bottom of the props closet I cleaned out when I first started at this high school. It’s my most comforting article of clothing, one of only two things I have with the name of the school on it, and I have realized recently how very often I snuggle when I want to feel most relaxed and cozy and myself. It’s a battered, grubby (and technically, I suppose, stolen) symbol of belonging to a place I love, and I really give it more value than I should, I guess.
I’ve spent much of this afternoon focused on my stirring my potion, doing some research and writing that will help me move forward in my goals. I have also been flipping through my underlined passages in some books I’ve already read and found inspiring: The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, Ask and It Is Given by Jerry and Esther Hicks, and my most recent favorite, Steering by Starlight by Martha Beck. I’ve just discovered that I love her, (thank you, Andrea!) and that her words and life-coaching instructions are very resonant for me right now. (I just read an excerpt from her new book, Finding Your Way in a New Wild World, and I'm in love with it already. I just ordered it on Amazon.) I chuckle at the term “life coach,” because really, what that means is that someone listens to a client as they talk themselves into what they already know to be their soul’s purpose. I have done that very well, thank you, with years of obsessive journaling and actually listening to my own heart….as well as reading and heeding the words of the Master Teachers that click with me.
Since I have now chosen to focus this blog on my journey as a director in an attempt to get me to actually stick to it, here is an email I sent to my cast today to announce a change in rehearsal time for tomorrow. I find it funny that football is interfering with play practice, because back in "my day," the two were about as connected as watercolor painting and taxidermy. Disconnected fields. Not in my new world, which, really, is one of my most favorite things about it. Anyhow, the email:
Well, because of some sort of "game" going on tomorrow, due to popular request, we are going to move our rehearsal from 12:00-3:00 instead. I know that this impacts some people in terms of church, so if you can't get there till 1:00, I understand...but please do let me know, as we are starting with "Ever After" and will need to know how to best cover for missing parts. (Getting how critically important each of you are to this process? Friendly reminder. You are needed and beloved!)
On another note...I know I haven't talked too much to all of you about this yet, but trust me, it's coming...This show, as we move through it, will soon become a metaphor for all of us. We are all journeying into the woods together as a team as we journey "Into the Woods," but the reason that I chose this show is because every single one of us is also journeying on our own, for our own purposes. For some of you, the experience of this show is a journey to friendship and connection and to becoming more deeply aware of your high school persona. For others, it's the beginning of your transition away from the safety net of your high school world to your life beyond, where the path is not straight. Regardless of where you are on your journey, I challenge all of you to begin to be mindful of where you are now, when we have just begun this process, and to pay attention to where you go, and who you become, as you grow through it.
I won't require it, of course, but I would suggest that each of you begin keeping a performance journal of this process. You do not need to share it with anyone, though if you want an audience and/or feedback, I am more than willing and happy to provide that. Either way, think about how you felt as you prepared for your auditions, how you felt about the casting (good, bad and ugly) and how the rehearsals are feeling for you so far. Then just write about it. I think you will find that as we go, more and more lines and lyrics and moments of connection will begin to resonate with you and prove to be instructive and inspiring for your journey, both now and in the future. At the very least, your journal can become a keepsake of a special time in your life, one that will have as much meaning to you as you allow. The more open your spirit to this kind of journey, the more powerful the journey will be.
Just a thought. I welcome your ideas and feedback on the topic!
Anyhoo...I'll see you tomorrow at noon. Please stay safe today...way better to stay in and study your lines than drive anywhere!
I wonder if they’ll do it. I hope they do. I walk a fine line with my high school kids…I want to be their teacher, but really, I’m not. I’m just the lady that comes a few afternoons a week and tells them when to cross down-stage-left. I know that I set the tone for the drama club, so there’s that, but there is just so much more I want to do, and can’t from this strange part-time, one-foot-in-the-door position. In this show, however, I am hoping to "teach" more, especially because there are so many seniors leaving me, and so many things I feel like I haven’t told them yet. I feel like Molly Weasley shouting her last instructions as the Hogwarts express pulls away from the station… “Wear your sweater when it gets chilly! Mind your manners! Eat your vegetables! Oh, and make sure you journal your experiences because you’re not going to believe how much you’ll change…” Never enough time to teach them all that I wish I could.
I think what I have most discovered, though, about high school kids is that while I don’t necessarily teach them quadratic equations or the finer principles of the Stanislavsky method, I can, at least, leave them with a living example of a passionate, creative life, enthusiastically and mindfully lived.
This show, Into the Woods, has been a metaphor for me for twenty years. If I were to write my memoirs, I could title every chapter of my whole life with lines from this show. And here I am, at this very pivotal crossroads, back in the woods again and realizing, more than ever, that each time you go, there’s more to learn of what you know. I didn’t chose this show for me; I chose it for them, in the hopes that they will find such connection to their own lives. But every project I have ever done in theater is most successful when I put my heart and soul into it as well, and so I am this time, listening hard to what this show has to teach me this time. Life-Coaching with Sondheim 101.
Ready for the journey.
Here are some views from my cozy corner of the world, snuggled up in the Athenaeum:
My snowy window to the world.
Sweet Ginger snuggled at my feet.
My year-round tree, and my current vision board.