Every year, the Babson Players alumni group puts on a summer production at Babson College. The show takes place on campus, and since I have not lived near Boston since graduating, I have never been able to participate.
As COVID turned life into virtual reality, and our lives became anchored over a computer screen, so did this year's alumni production. An unexpected positive outcome of the virus was that, with no in person rehearsals possible, the Players were pushing forward with their summer show but doing so over Zoom. To my utter delight, I am thrilled to say that for the first time in ten years, I am acting with the Babson Players again as Dromio of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors.
The Players were and are a group that brought me the most joy and the happiest memories during my time in college. Who I became was greatly shaped by that 'club,' which was so much more than that. I distinctly remember that after a long day, knowing a rehearsal would be at the end of it energized me and made me feel like I had somewhere I really belonged. Being on stage felt comfortable, and the people I was surrounded by were kind, fun, and like minded.
I was determined to continue my stage pursuit, both during college and after, and moved to New York to carve out a career for myself in theatre. I loved performing and felt compelled to make acting a full time career, but after a few years I began to feel the exhaustion of rejection, and the burnout of taking jobs I didn't really believe in to earn more money and another credit on my resume. Deciding to leave acting made me feel like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, and I felt fulfilled in other pursuits and creative career choices.
What I wasn't able to realize until now was that just because I moved away from a professional theatre career didn't mean I had to stop doing the thing that gave me the most joy. I could have let go of the hustle, but I didn't' have to walk away from the happiness I felt in channeling different emotions, playing new characters, and (let's be honest) being a general ham. This show has allowed me to let go of any need to 'prove myself' as an artist, and it has brought the fun of theatre back into my life.
When this show is over (view it here on July 31 - please tune in!), I'm going to continue to look for other community theatre opportunities, virtually and, once we can start coming together again, in real life. I'm sorry it's taken me this long to figure out that I could leave the stress and keep the fun, but now that I see that I'm not turning back. A family friend of ours (who, incidentally, has had an excellent career in entertainment) once said, "the only bad theatre is no theatre." Time to take that advice for myself.
I gave myself too much leeway the last nine months. I became so wrapped up in minute by minute minutia I lost focus. Perhaps it was the rush of last year post wedding. We experienced a fairytale and returned to New York to a whirlwind of speeding time that consisted of business trips, immigration interviews, a new job, and an apartment and borough move. Time was rushing, racing, flying, and then the world came to a screeching halt on March 13 and all the balls I was juggling remained suspended in the air, and I slowly raised my head to examine them.
Then three months of quarantine passed, and there was no excuse not to write. But though the three months stretched, they also flew, and days turned into weeks and no thoughts made their way out of my head and onto paper. Time stood still and there was nowhere to go, but the writing muscles became atrophied and the motivation faded.
“Regular life” started to pick back up and before I knew it, it was July 3rd. Hamilton came out on Disney Plus and I streamed it along with millions of others. The music spoke to me through its genius, poignancy, humor, and truth. One song’s chorus chanted “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?” And I was jolted awake. We are all running out of time, each minute, each day. Why have I let this strange time in history push me to sleep?
So I thought, what should I write about? I took the first step and recognized I have no time, I’ve got to write again - but I doubted I had anything valid to share.
But I do, if I continue to notice the small things.
Murat and I wanted to take a walk in Brooklyn yesterday, and being new to the neighborhood and the borough I Googled where to go. I found the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and thousands of users had shared their reviews touting the loveliness of the park. One review stopped me in my tracks and stayed with me all day. They wrote, “It remind me holding my woman,s hand making me feel so important.” The purity of this statement made me cry. My heart swelled thinking about this person, and the feelings this place stirred in them.
Murat and I stepped out into the 90 degree heat and began walking the promenade. We found stunning views and a walk we had no idea existed so close to our new neighborhood. As we turned around and began to head back, I took Murat’s hand. He gave me an audible, ‘aww’ and a firm squeeze. I too, felt important, and I think so did he. My tears flickered again, with the human privilege of feeling important and reciprocating that feeling to someone I love.
Reflecting on my experiences with the world, my neighborhood, and my home.