That's life (that's life), that's what all the people say
You're ridin' high in April, shot down in May
But I know I'm gonna change that tune
When I'm back on top, back on top in June
Spring in June?
Doesn't it feel good to be here? Let's be honest, a year ago we didn't know the road that was in front of us.
We had no idea the social, political, and personal upheaval that was coming.
We lived in hope that it would all be over soon and life would return to normal.
We were getting to the end of Netflix, we were growing tired of having food delivered.
Well, here we are a year later and for the first time in a long time there is a sense of hope. Something is coming. There is light at the end of the tunnel and for the first time in almost 15 months it doesn't feel like its a train!
There is hope.
There is cautious joy!
People are starting to gather again. People are traveling again. People are hugging again.
Soon people will be in a theatre again!
Granted, we all have a degree of PTSD because of the last 15 months. We are a little tentative about setting our hopes too high, lest they be dashed again. But, there is a change in the air. A spring in our collective steps --- dare we say a rebirth.
Life is returning. It might not be the "normal" that was, but it will be the normal that "is" and as long as the "new" normal includes hugs, theatre, and being with people we love, we say BRING IT ON!
What are you most excited about? What puts a spring in your step? What is the first trip you will take? The first concert you will see?
Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org we want to share in your joy!
Kafka project update
We are excited to report that we have a first draft of the play in hand! Tamara Kissane has worked tirelessly to create a magical, poignant story --- with music! Just imagine Busby Berkley mermaids, giant white birds, and trips the moon!!! That is just a little taste of what lies ahead for our beloved doll! The first draft is a baby step, trust us when we say it is a HUGE baby step! We can't wait to dive into it and work with her and composers to bring it to life. We will be applying for grant opportunities to ensure that we are able to compensate all the artists that will breathe life into this work! Thank YOU for all your story contributions. You might hear or see them the stage!
Welcome May’s guest blogger, Hayden Tyler!
This month we welcome, Hayden Tyler to the guest blogger family. Hayden is a Raleigh-based artist. Some of their favorite memories of performing, creating, and teaching live theatre in the Triangle area include Seussical (RLT), Rudolph (DECPA), Godspell (BLT), Lion King KIDS (Sonorous Road) and Anything Goes (Temple). Recent credits include The Tempest (Theatre 444) and Always Will (World Premiere). They advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion of under-celebrated communities. Hayden graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre and a BA in English from Lees-McRae College. Take it away Hayden!
Can I tell you a secret? I love wearing a mask. And it has nothing to do with science or reason, though I do find those things valuable; it's purely superficial. I think they look cool. I like the ones I bought, even that overpriced $20 mask, because it glitters, and it's pretty. I like the one that has a little cartoon vampire mouth, because it's cute and spooky. I like the one that has a galaxy pattern, for no particular reason. Just because.
Can I tell you a secret? I hate wearing a mask. I hate the visible reminder of the pandemic, the sense of stress it brings about the inferences we make about others based on how, where, and how often they wear masks. I hate the feeling of being on guard, of not relaxing until I can take my mask off!
And that's okay. I can have two conflicting secrets. During this pandemic, I'm confronting my conflicting secrets, which shakes me to my core, yet what I find at the center is an anchor of peace.
Can I tell you a secret? Most of this has to do with social media. I find that it allows people to conduct themselves in a very idealistic way, when those same people are actually much chiller irl than they are online. I watched people I love fight each other, connected to their combatant only through me. People I haven't spoken to in years randomly pop up and inflame a delicate conversation. People from all the social circles in my life, who sometimes don't understand each other but haven't had the opportunity to know each other, except through their connection to me.
This is not what I signed up for!
Okay, so social media is free. I'm not here to get into a thing about data mining ethics, I accept that using a free online service means I pay some kind of non-money price. I recognize that I can't dictate how others act on this platform; I tried intervening, and educating, and listening with empathy, and it drained me. So I went dark for the winter.
Can I tell you a secret? It was awesome. And strangely, so hard? I thought about how I wanted other people to think of me, what I wanted from social media and how I wanted to use it, and the expectations others have of my social media presence. I came to the conclusion that I had to merge my real, physical self and my digital self in the best and most authentic way for me.
We talk about mental health, and we should. We are beginning to talk about emotional health as well, which is good! And we've been talking about our physical and spiritual health, that's been normalized for a long time. I call these the four spheres of life, which I learned about from studying sacred geometry. Basically, it goes like this- you have four areas of priority in your life: spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional. If you spend equal amounts of energy on them, you will have balanced self-care. Which helps you live your best life!
Can I tell you a secret? I think there's five spheres of life now. I think it's time to add the digital sphere. It's time to figure out how we can self-care our digital selves so they heal from the damage we take. Like it or not, the digital self is here to stay; and I have to figure out how I'm going to put it in balance with the other aspects of my self.
Recently I replaced my phone by insurance, which because of how the world is now, took five days. Five days without social media, yes, but also five days of no phone calls. No texts. No Webtoon. No way to phone for help in an emergency. No GPS either- I printed directions from MapQuest (thank you MapQuest, you're still the goat). Suddenly I had to pivot my money handling, my communications, my sense of threat (and you may remember I'm not fond of that feeling).
Did you know it's a lot harder to stay connected to the theatre world when you aren't using your digital self? I missed out on all the hot news and developments, all the job postings, the pictures and inspiration from artists like myself who in March 2020 lost employment in three economic sectors. The digital self has real positive consequences, too- it gives us that sense of community, it dispels loneliness, and it keeps us connected to people we instantly loved but haven't seen since that one audition like six years ago.
Can I tell you a secret? I've barely done any theatre since the pandemic. I've been focused on building my stability, which is admittedly way easier when I'm not working two jobs (and juggling a few hustles) in order to afford opportunities to do what I love. Taking that digital winter break was a breath of fresh air, a reminder that I am more than a theatre artist. I remembered that I am a complete and valuable person outside what I offer through my art. It's hard to watch theatre gearing back up without me; but I know that when I am ready to rejoin, it will be with the full ease and confidence that comes with the security and balance I've cultivated for myself, in all five spheres.
The digital sphere has real consequences. I've been having a lot of fun discovering how to integrate it with my other sphere. It actually led me to this one last secret, which it's okay for me to tell you, right? It's so easy to be kind. To extend forgiveness. I used to get so exhausted from carrying the weight of fixing the world on my shoulders- until I learned to truly forgive myself for failing to do it perfectly. It's so easy to be gentle to someone, to radiate genuine kindness and love, because it leads you to more genuine and joyful connections. You'll see how many other people are truly loving and kind. TL; DR the digital self is real and we need to integrate it into our whole selves! Also forgiveness, kindness, and empathy are like so important.
Thank you so much Hayden!
We couldn't agree more. You are so right about kindness and forgiveness. it is easy to forget to LEAD WITH LOVE. A lot of our past 18 months has been spent in a digital realm and being around people again will require us to rebuild our social stamina! One great way to do that will be safely see a show. Safely enjoy a drink and conversation with friends. Put down the devices and live in the analog world for awhile. It is amazing what you will see and hear!
One last thing before we go: We would be remiss if we didn't ask for your help!
As you know, we relaunched our Patreon page after almost a year of being dormant due to the pandemic. As we dive deeper into our Kafka project your monthly pledges will go directly to paying all the artists involved in the project
You can access our Patreon page here.
If you prefer to give a one-time donation via a credit card, that’d be swell, too. There is a link on our website where you can use PayPal or your credit card. You can access PayPal now by clicking here.
Thank you so much for your continuing support and for keeping the faith in us!
We are so grateful for your support and we can't wait to see you all very soon!
David and Susannah