I found Boulder, CO a mixture of hippies and hipsters, upscale and athletic, with bicyclers everywhere. It’s a university town too so there is the element of youth, higher education, late night bars and modern thought. A great place! I’ve always wanted to visit, so when I heard that Tina Packer, director, writer, actor, founder of Shakespeare and Company and a champion of female power was directing Richard III and performing her extraordinary Women of Will series at Colorado Shakespeare Festival, I made a beeline to get there.
The Shakespeare Festival takes place on the beautiful University of Colorado campus, and I enjoyed getting a bit lost as I looked for the theater on my first night in town. I was going to see Part 4 of Women of Will (there are 5) and very excited to finally be there, so wandering around a lush campus suited me fine. I have a passion to see women empowered and aware of their equal place in society and Tina’s work opens up so many avenues for conversation. The acting was superb, and I soaked in the talent and genius on stage wishing I could emulate this natural but complete transforming into character. Tina and her acting partner Nigel Gore played many roles, bending genders and spanning time and place at a breath. Extraordinary, to do it so well. I wished I could see all 5 parts and I’m sure I will someday, but as they are doing only one part a week until August, when they will do all 5 parts in one weekend, I had to be content with Part 4.
The next day I decided to explore the downtown shops, not usually a priority but they had many cafes and used bookstores that were calling. I dropped in on a friend of a friend to meet her at Piece, Love and Chocolate, a fun bit of chocolate paradise. It is great fun to reach across and meet friends of people who you know, and they are just as happy to be thought of by their friend too. I wandered all afternoon into the evening and enjoyed the street performers, even two cellists, and a rock band at the pavilion. Heading back to my inn around 10pm I found the power had been off most of the day in the whole neighborhood and I was given a glow stick to help me find my way to my room. It’s odd to be in a new place in complete darkness, but rather exciting in an eerie way. The power came back on just after I got all tucked into bed, but my glow stick was my night-light companion until dawn.
Thursday I was fortunate to steal a bit of Tina’s busy life and meet her and her director Eric Tucker at the amazing Rocky Mountain Tea House. Do you have heroes? I certainly do, people who inspire me beyond the normal, that I would love to emulate, that do superhuman feats in their daily lives. Tina Packer is one of mine, so to get to spend time in her presence is, golly, how do I put it? It is sublime and she is so easy and normal and comfortable that I didn’t feel small, even though she has achieved so much and continues to change the world with her fantastic vision. Seeing how hard she works and what she does daily makes me want to accomplish more in my life. Oh, to be so productive, it is a lovely thing.
That afternoon I headed up to Chautauqua Park to hike up to the distinctive Flatirons that loom south of the city. It was one hell of a steep climb and I ended up having to turn back when almost to the top when I started to get nauseous and dizzy. I wasn’t acclimated to the altitude I guess, and even though I was drinking plenty of water couldn’t handle the ascent. I had to deal with the disappointment of not reaching the top all the way down, and deal with my need to achieve what I set out to do. When will I learn that it’s all about the journey, not the goal or finish line? I guess I am learning it, slowly, at least I identify my tendencies sooner than I used to.
That evening I was under the stars watching Richard III on the outdoor stage. Tina was in attendance and I got to sit next to her during the second half and enjoy just being in close proximity, and meeting some of the wonderful production team. It seems to be a truth that the great people I like surround themselves with great people. I adored my short moments with the Voice and Speech Coach, Margaret Jansen, Lighting Designer, Les Dickert and Director, Eric Tucker. They were all extraordinarily personable, present and talented of course!
So there you have it, more enlightening contacts on this journey that will change the way I view life and theater. My good fortune has not ceased and only seems to get more astonishing every day. How I deserve this all still amazes and humbles me without debasement but gets me soaring larger and higher with each genius I encounter. Hopefully it’s true that grace begets grace, friends beget friends, genius begets genius, magic begets magic, color begets color and of course love begets love. It certainly is looking that way for fortunate, friendly, magical, colorful me.