Sunday, July 24, 2016

On Play

Remembering what we used to do instinctively as a child.

Stripping away preconceived notions and inhibitions.

Responding freely and fully to stimuli, environment, and others.

Investing one hundred percent of yourself.

Limitless possibility and imagination.


Friday, March 25, 2016


Dear Readers,

I was chatting with a good friend online and he so kindly mentioned how much he loved the old Ghostlight blog and how he wished that I would consider bringing it back. I was honored and touched by his outpouring of support, but I was also a little sad. I had given up writing here because I ran out of things to say.

Ghostlight Chicago is no longer based out of Chicago. I now reside in Madison, WI and am still trying to find my way around a new theater community with new personalities and challenges. And that's not to say that Madison caused the lapse in my blog posts - that had happened long before my family made the move. But personal priorities change in your life, and certain things fall by the wayside. However, my friend's compliment really touched me, and it sparked something. A longing to question and explore. To be inspired by what I read and those around me. To find the potential in an action, gesture, or idea and expound upon it. To let it grow rather than letting it pass.

And as I pondered my friends words, I began rehearsals on a new project here in Madison. It's a small company with a storefront space - not unlike all the storefronts I knew and loved in Chicago. Where the work is kindled by passion and a personal desire. As we went through casting, I sometimes wondered why someone would want to be in our play. It wasn't as glamorous as the larger venues. It was a new play with challenging subject matter. There was a lot of risk involved in even going out for the audition.

But that is the beautiful thing about the beginning of any collaboration: the willingness to take the first step. It's a game of "yes and."

You never know how it's going to go. You could be playing with an amazing partner or a selfish curmudgeon. But you have to be open to the whole experience - whatever you are going to get. And as you get some experience under your belt, you become a better judge and what theaters to avoid, but when you're starting out, it can be unnerving.

Sitting in rehearsals in Madison, I feel that I am finally moving beyond the terrifying phase of figuring out how I fit in the theater scene, and more than ever, I am grateful for the artists who have said "yes" to me. Not just on this project - though I am particularly grateful because I think there is a special energy surrounding this cast and this production - but on all my past endeavors. I can't imagine why my friends (even though they knew me and knew what they were getting into) would follow me into some of the adventures I've undertaken. Geppetto at the Cultural Center was one that could have fell flat on it's head. The first act of Pericles done in masks was particularly  crazy. Not to mention the whole ride at Promethean and countless other projects.

I'm saying thank you because what we do it important. And it's not easy. Thank you for sharing of not only your time and talents, but the inner most parts of you - your passions, your fears, and your joys. It is this giving of your whole self that makes the experience and the creation meaningful. The faith that my collaborators and supporters have shown in me over the years has been life changing - I thank you for each and every moment.

And thank you too to Joe. I am saying "yes" to your invitation to reignite the conversation here. And while there may not be daily postings like there were eight (yikes) years ago when I started this blog, I promise to bring thoughtfulness, life, and hope to the words I do write.

Thank you for reading this and continuing to read! More to come soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Geoffrey Tennant Moments

Every now and then the theater will give you one of those moments that alters your perspective on life. If you are luck enough to realize it, there can be nuggets of wisdom to be gained. And while I would never wish my last 72 hours on any director, I am grateful for the "Geoffrey Tennant"  moments I have had this past weekend.

I had to go on for an actor who had landed in the hospital with pneumonia. Thankfully this didn't turn into a Charles Kingman moment, but was simply Geoffrey going on for Terry. And it's fun to go on as an understudy or impromptu understudy - you get to play the part without all the tediousness of rehearsals or the pressure to do well. Your job is to fill in to keep the play going. In this instance, however, it was hard because of the circumstances under which I went on. You never want to go on because of someone else's misfortune - especially in such a serious case as this was. No play is worth your health as I told this actor and another actor earlier this year who also caught pneumonia. The going on stage and doing the role was the easy part - the stuff around the edges was hard.

We went to visit the actor in the hospital last night after the show. He looked much better and was in good spirits. Hopefully he will be released as scheduled today and we'll all be able to live happily ever after.

The second Geoffrey moment came a day after I had to go on for our sick friend as another actor called me and said that she was "too sick" to perform at the closing performance. This was more of a "Clare, Clare, Clare with the hair" thank goodness she fell off the stage moment. I didn't even try to find out what "too sick" meant. I just said ok and moved on. And what a response it was. The actress who went on in her place, script in hand, was terrified but did a bang up job. The cast was there to support here through and I got to play Geoffrey supporting Terry through the Scottish play or Jack Crew through Hamlet. I tell you there is nothing more thrilling as a director. It's seldom that we have to be put on the spot like that - that's usually the performer's job. But when it happens, it feels good to be needed.

But in the end, the whole thing was made easier by the fact that this one wasn't life and death. It really makes you stop and think about the reasons we do this and really anything when someone's life hangs in the balance. And yet the bond that forms when you go through something like this with a group of people is really special.