Fall in the Midwest means hiking through brightly colored forests, breaking out your fall fashion (sweaters, jackets!) and jewel tones (my favorite!), drinking pumpkin spiced lattes (though I'll take anything as long as it includes a couple shots of espresso). It also means that the theater is back in full swing. Lately, I've been juggling the first installment of the Ivy Tech Storytelling Series, a series of my own creation that I co-produce and direct with Paul Daily, the artistic director of the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, as well as rehearsing and opening a production of "Spring Awakening" (directed by David Anspaugh, the director of the films "Rudy" and "Hoosiers") in which I play Ilse. Both productions have incredible casts and crews. Both have brought me much joy. Both have challenged me and made me a better performer and all around theater maker. So it's really a dream beginning to the theater season. The Ivy Tech Storytelling Series: Immigrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers, opens November 3rd. The play will perform only one, so make sure you catch it! A lot of hard work, experimentation, and vulnerability from some incredible local people who are sharing their stories, has gone into this play. As you could have guessed, the anxiety level is high right now, hoping that all will come together for a great show. However, I'm glad to have gotten to the point where envisioning failure doesn't stop me from showing up and throwing paint on the walls. My amazing acting teacher from my years in Rutgers University's BFA Acting program, Kevin Kittle, shared a quote with me the other day, to help me understand that the process I'm going through right now is what all artists constantly go through in order to find the moments and the stories that have meaning, and that advance theater for all of us. Here's what he said: When Viet Thanh Nguyen received a MacArthur grant he said that the honor came with something paradoxical: a new opportunity to fail. He said..."when you try something new it can be humiliating. Hopefully, that's something the MacArthur will enable: to continue risking humiliation."
I hope the theater season is starting off as well for you as it is for me. If not, I hope you use the struggle to strengthen you, and that you keep working towards making amazing things, and finding the joy along the way.