This stint of directing As You Like It reaffirms many long-held notions and philosophies.
Now, one might think that the title of this piece should probably read “surround yourself with talented people,” but you’d be wrong.
Yes, talent is important, very important. Case in point: as we work on this 80s-set production, we’re trying to find equivalencies for things we find in the 400 year-old play…and instead of having Audrey be a goat-herd-ess, we’re turning her into a musician, a bass player to be exact. Well, my too-talented-by-half Touchstone, Jim, asked if he could insert a line from another play into a sequence we’ve added in which we see the moment he falls in love with Audrey; from Love’s Labor’s Lost, he’s contributed, “as it is base for a [man] to love, so am I in love with a base wench”… playing off the homophone base/bass. Just freaking brilliant (and not the first time he’s added gems to the mix). So, yes, talent is important, but…
Surrounding yourself with good people is even greater.
Longtime readers of this blog might recall my issues with depression and anxiety. Those same readers might recall how hard my father’s death struck me. Well, Monday was the three year anniversary of his passing. The first year, I was anticipating the hurt, but also looking forward to my older son’s college graduation; plus, we left town to avoid memories. The second year, last year, I was back east helping that same son move from North Carolina to Ohio, and upon my return, the Thomas Fire was raging and consuming much of my mental and emotional bandwidth. This year, it snuck up on me.
And kicked my ass.
So much so that I was a bit discombobulated at the beginning of that night’s rehearsal. So much so that I had to excuse myself for a minute to gather myself.
While I’m sorry I brought my emotional baggage with me into the rehearsal space, I am thankful for having a cast that allowed me that self-gathering exit, and even more thankful to them for giving me some wonderful laughs through their scene-work that night (sure, that might fall under “talent,” but you get my drift).
It is precisely that kind of respite from the “real” world that I hope our show will give our audiences, and I am thankful to be part of a group of artists that support one another.
You know, good people.