Out of the dark into the fall….

Right after I wrote my last blog post I was inundated with negative events. This was just after I received the go ahead to be a teacher trainee here at Shakespeare and Company and do what I could to get a festival going for taking Shakespeare into high schools in the Lenox area next spring. I met with people who didn’t want to have anything to do with helping me get the information I needed, people resentful of the idea of having more work to do, I upset the apple cart and unknowingly offended people, hurt people’s feelings and ended up in tears thinking I had made a HUGE mistake in taking all of this on. My identity that I joyously found in my travels across the United States was all of a sudden bombarded, and tested, with large personalities taking up my space, sharing my bathroom, and helping me to feel insignificant.

I am happy to report that I have come out on the other side of the darkness back into the light of delight in myself regardless of my surroundings. The turning point seemed to happen in movement and voice class and then in admitting my crisis to my girlfriends, sharing my struggles and asking for their help. They rallied round with comfort and understanding and today I watched my world turn around as I went back to enjoying strangers that I meet by chance and realizing yet again that I am completely special. It’s nice to be back. The dark side was not a place I like to hang out.

It was a glorious fall day in the Berkshires of MA, the changing leaf colors are totally astounding and breathtaking, every bit as wonderful as my imagination had conceived. I drove north feeling like I was on a mini-road trip, determined to return to the happy-go-lucky girl of a few weeks ago. I had five high schools on my itinerary to visit to get appointments with the Principals. My heart was light, my expectations eager and open and I met with person after person that had heard of Shakespeare and Company’s work and was excited with the possibility of having us in their school. I even met with one Principal that was all yes yes yes to everything I asked. Very exciting for my first day out.

Fall Festival of Shakespeare Common Class

I have been thoroughly enjoying my time with the high school kids in the fall festival. They have two weeks until their plays open and they are working hard and playing hard, exploring their humanity and creating wonderful life experiences. The common classes where all the schools meet at one location for lessons in dance, lights, sound, costume design, sets, stage combat, are an exuberance of noise and enthusiasm. I love seeing them cheer for each other as if they are at a football game. It is incredible and a blast.

Costume creations

Tonight they were here at Shakespeare and Company painting sets, running around the costume shop in groups pulling costumes from the huge inventory of the professional theatre company, making props and being lively teenagers. The directors are all exhausted but still giving their best and being wonderful cheerleaders and teachers.

Me and the girls

I am splitting my time between the education department and the conservatory acting training. I am getting to sit in and watch expert teachers work with actors in text and I am allowed to participate in movement and voice classes. All of this is extraordinary. And to top this off, my lovely, fabulous, wonderful girlfriends and I are getting together twice a week to work new monologues. They are in the conservatory and watching them work has made me so proud to have them as forever buddies. I am truly a lucky woman.

I have been housed in what is termed the “party house” here on campus. There are cigarette butts and beer bottles and cans strewn around on my front porch and lawn area. As you can imagine I am horrified, this is so NOT my scene. But I am determined to convert the house into something less gross and I already see it happening. There are a few of us crusading the clean up and I think others will follow the charge soon. At least that is my plan. I am way too old to live in a frat house, so something has to change. I am not an “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” gal, but I am a “don’t try, just DO” gal and will lead by example. For now I am content, full of expansion into the tasks before me and excited for the days to come.

I want to live,

I want to give

I’ve been a miner

For a heart of gold.

It’s these expressions

I never give

That keep me searching

For a heart of gold

And I’m getting old.

Keeps me searching

For a heart of gold

And I’m getting old.

(Neil Young)

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