Telling: Baltimore Came/Went & Coming Round Again
Yes, we had our performance at Hopkins on September 26th and everything that I worked SO HARD ON turned out fine. Better than fine, A few tears were shed. A few eyes may have been opened. My cast performed admirably and we had a good crowd. Nicole and her two sisters were there, along with some other friends. All in all, it was as memorable as I’d imagined it would be. We have another production in November on the 11th and then December 5th, 6th and 7th at Center Stage. I hope we still have Chris Henry’s music, time will tell about that one.
What I found along the way was — the same excitement that first set my mind on fire about the possibility of doing Telling, was still there all the way through till the end. I thought the stories were gut-wrenching at times, and right up till the end I felt the cast dealt with many cathartic moments along the way.
I felt very privileged to Direct Telling. Being exposed to the various mindsets behind individual decisions of people in military service — decisions that civilians never even dream about. How much would I sacrifice for my country? Back when I was a teenager, I would never have looked at that question fairly. I couldn’t grasp the notion of country and sacrifice. How did others get raised with this equation so near and dear to their hearts? Now that I’m older, I see with a bit more clarity. (At least, I’d LIKE to see it that way). Watching the military channel and seeing how noble and heroic others have performed……Playwriting takes a very distant back seat. Not just on that superficial level, but on the level of — well, just basic common sense. Regardless of what were the motivations of those before me to join the service, once they were in there they rose to the occasion. As one of the cast, Jim, says, once you have a gun pointed at you, once bullets are coming your way, things become very personal……..
I loved hearing the stories night after night in rehearsal. Seeing how people were affected. People who were standing right in front of me. Reliving some of the order and chaos they faced. In the beginning I felt small. But Directing them was part of my own cathartic experience, I guess. In many ways “their world,” the world of heroics and despair and real conflict are much more favorable than the fairly comfy world I’ve grown up in. As Susie, another cast member, recollects — (paraphrasing) “being a marine let’s you call out or say anything without anybody’s panties getting into a bunch.” The world I live in now is afraid of real language, real thoughts —- everything has to have it’s own filter. How sad indeed. I think if I died tomorrow, I could look back and say, “but at least I did THIS” (Direct Telling). It would be among the many “at least I dids,” but that’s not the point. Finally, long past my teenage years, I felt like I finally showed up for duty. Showed up for something much greater than my own individual good.