I am glad to announce that ACT 1 has secured the final space for our 2016-2017 season – a warehouse in Sumner. This concludes what has been a summer-long quest for the four locations from which we will be working next season. They are: office/costumes/props in Auburn, rehearsals and classes in Sumner, performances in Puyallup at The Liberty and storage/construction in Sumner.
Recently, I had the opportunity to join my parents in meeting for coffee with one of my dad’s former students who is from Dubai. We have met several times over the years, and I always enjoy hearing his stories and perspectives. This time Khaled had summited Mt Rainier two days before we met up with him.
I listened to him tell of the climb, the altitude effects, the harrowing moments, of climbing in the dark and being pulled past his speed-comfort level by the climbers sharing his rope.
He described the many hours of the ascent when he was focused on putting one foot in front of the other, sliding his hand on the rope, pushing the next foot forward… over and over again. .He told of knowing he needed to eat at a stop and not having the energy to chew. He was certain at least three times that he couldn’t complete the climb, and the guide said, “yes you will.” And he did make it.
I was so completely inspired by his determination and hutzpah. Metaphors of climbing aside, I was glad I got to hear his narrative. It reminded me that as the artistic director and interim board president of our theatre company, sometimes it may seem an accomplishment is just one insignificant step at a time toward a goal that I only can imagine.
But by relying on my Board, my volunteers, my family and my friends, our goals can be realized, and they will exceed our expectations.
At the moment, I am in La Junta, CO on a genealogy quest with my parents. We started in Livingston at my mom’s family reunion and then headed south toward Colorado by way of Casper Wyoming. En route we stopped at one historical marker that told of the story of a massacre of 81 U.S. soldiers by local Indians.
It’s a horrible story. Several interpretations exist of whose fault it was that the men’s lives were put on the path of the angry natives – angry for good reasons – but there is no denying it was a terrible tragedy. Fort Kearny was nearby and the soldiers there needed help to fight off what would now be a full on attack by the natives. They couldn’t use the telegraph as there was a blizzard in progress and the wires were down.
One man named John Portugese Phillips set out to ride a horse 235 miles through ice, snow and wind in 36-degree- below-zero temperatures to Fort Laramie. He had to travel mostly at night to avoid detectives by the natives.
When he arrived at Fort Laramie there was a Christmas Ball in progress. No one could believe what they saw when they heard someone at the door of the officers’ quarters and found there a man with caked snow and ice on his fur coat, frozen feet, frostbite and hypothermia. Phillips relayed his message and then fell in a heap on the floor in exhaustion, and it took him several weeks to recover.
The horse died in the snowy road outside.
I was moved to tears and still am while typing this. What kind of people have so much love of humanity in their heart that they can exert that much physical and psychological effort? What a hero. But, again, I am sure he could have given up several times or been overtaken by the cold, the snow, or just the inability to stay on the horse.
I am not trying to equate the journey of a non-profit theatre to something as truly epic as this. But the story does make us evaluate our priorities; the things we care about, the things we choose to sacrifice and take risks for. Not life-threatening thankfully, but sacrifices none the less.
Theatre is the only thing I have wanted to be involved with since I was 8 years old. I am privileged to have had the opportunity throughout my life. In between college, children, and life in general I have pursued theatre as an actor, teacher, writer and director. I am blessed by supportive family willing to sacrifice vacations, sleep and finances to support us whenever and wherever they can.
I hope to channel that sense of passion, dedication and determination this season and provide the kind of leadership that will inspire my Board, our actors, artists and audiences. I will write again after our retreat to let you know what opportunities we have for you, our patrons, this season.