Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

My friends, I have driven 1,420 miles in the last ten days.

Which might explain why I'm so reluctant to go back to work tomorrow. It's not the kids or the psychological clean-up of three days of substitute or even tackling a new school year. It's the drive I'm dreading. 1.5 hours of driving up and down, up and down. In short, je suis fatigue.

My heart was aching when I left Cedar City Friday. My mom asked me earlier in the week if I had found my Hogwarts. (Jason coined that phrase to describe how it feels to go from being totally different than everyone else to a place where everyone is just like you.) I can't say I did - I don't want to live in Cedar City, and I don't think I could fit into their community as anyone other than a guest.

Still, it reminded me of leaving Camp Shakespeare and other places where I was doing work that I loved with people that I loved who loved the work just as much as I did. Things, life, was just easier that week. I was still busy - very much so, actually. I had planned on having a lot of free time, but instead found myself working through meals and staying up until 2:00 then dragging myself up again at 7. I was busy, but I loved what I was doing and it was so easy to do.

And so my heart ached when I drove away.

The show went really well. It was kind of hilarious - our first audience Thursday was about 65 people - most were quite elderly, but there were also a few special-needs (including a very sweet man with very limited motor skills), a group of young kids, and even a Spanish-speaking family. Which made the whole cranes section very interesting (it took 40 minutes!), and which made me mentally cackle in glee because, "Behold! Here's what it's like to teach in a typical class! Good luck, actors!"

But the audience was very nice. I was bracing myself, based on my own experiences and on Michael and Chuck's warnings, for a thorough lashing of me/my script. The main complaint was about the format of the script. Which, yeah, it's different. It's a living-newspaper script, following in the steps of other politically-charged plays like "Vagina Monologues" and "Laramie Project" and "Embedded." I got complaints about the format after both shows, but there were also people who jumped in to its defense, too.

The crane piece was also a source of much contention in the audience. Some loved it, some hated it. The ones who hated it tended to be the people who struggled the most with the project. They weren't good at it, so their discomfort at being asked to be something more than a passive viewer was magnified.

Feedback like this just fascinates me. It tells me a lot about the audience and about the show. Most of the information I'm getting is not surprising to me, it's expected. But it's still so interesting to listen to people react to those elements that I knew would be, well, reactionary.

I did meet some interesting people - the founder of SLAC, the old drama teacher at Skyline (when he told me who is was, I immediately exclaimed that many of my good friends from college went there and were involved with his shows). There was a man at the first show who needed to show off how smart he was in his commentary and, in the process, accused me of being a Communist. It's not the first time I've been accused of such, so I think he was disappointed in my lack of a reaction. There was a woman at the second show who came up to me to belligerently tell me what parts of teaching I had missed. Which really meant that she had her own story to tell, and I invited her to do so.

Chuck seemed surprised at the content talk-back sessions - the focus not on criticisms of the play, but on people's "testimonials" (as Michael termed them). I wasn't. I've discovered that this play makes people want to tell me about their own teachers and their experiences as teachers. Excellent, since that is, in fact, one of our objectives. It also means that part of my role as the caretaker of the words is that it's my job to listen to people's stories. They need to share them, I get that. I needed to share my stories, too. So I'm not surprised that after every show people stand there at the edge of the stage, waiting to tell me about teaching.

I can't be there for the show this week, but I will be there for the final show the Friday before Labor Day weekend. The actors were quite happy when Michael told them that, just as I was sad to hear that Michael had to miss that show. There are really, really great people in that community down there, and I miss not just them, but the opportunity I might have had to know them better.

But I left Friday after an interview with the college paper and a good-if-brief wrap-up-ish conversation with Michael. Happily, I had a family event to look forward to. Not so much the event itself, but the fact that Rachel, Ben, Jack, Andy, and Jenn all came to GJ Friday night as well. We got to hang out as a family, if ever so briefly and busily. We worked hard all day Saturday and all became thoroughly dehydrated to get ready for Andy and Jenn's second wedding reception Saturday night. We scooper gelato, cleaned the house, hung lanterns, arranged flowers, decorated tables, and all sorts of beautifying things like that, then enjoyed the party Saturday night.

We also all got up relatively early this morning to see Ben bless Jack at church. More than a week of too little sleep does not a good teacher make of me, but I'm glad for what I gave the sleep up. It also made today's drive back riskier than usual, compounded by the traffic jam from Silverthorne to Idaho Springs which added an additional 1.5 hours onto the trip. Boo! Poor Nash was desperate to get out of her carrier and spent the last 30 minutes meowing, scrabbling at the holes in the sides, and pressing her head to the roof to try to get out and get to her litter box. Poor kitty.

Now that I'm 8 hours away from having to meet my carpool group, I'm going to post this entry, figure out what to wear tomorrow, and go to bed. And maybe, just maybe, fantasize about going to Paris for New Year's, as Jason's email this morning suggested we do.

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