Monday, April 18, 2011

Birth Of An Undying Passion…

My friend Billy is coming this weekend to stay for a week. He is a brilliant Mime artist and just a great person deep down. He is bringing a show he produced several years back called “It Goes Without Saying” he breaks the silence and tell the stories of his journey as a gay artist. I had designed a traveling light plot and cue book for the show many years ago and will be adapting and setting it for his run in Missoula. This morning, I met the producer and went in to look at the theater space. It was like stepping back into another period of my life so very long ago. There is a part of me that completely misses the world of the theater. It feels like every phase of my life I become so entrenched in what I take on or become involved in; the world of theater is such a magical place to work. It is living a life of an illusion; it’s constantly changing and always adapting. I guess it’s kind of like I my Project here. I am not quite sure what drew me into this life. As a kid I was not really exposed to it at all. Growing up in small communities in Montana there really wasn’t any theater at all. My school didn’t do plays, but somehow I got it in my head and knew I wanted to become involved. I remember when I was in the third grade I organized my classmates to tell the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, to play it out for the class. My parents told me it began long before all that when I would bully my brothers and cousins to perform shows in the barnyard. How is it we know we are drawn to certain things? My freshmen year in high school I began a drama club, which consisted of only me. I put together a small performance piece from an article in read in one of those scholastic readers about commercials taking over the subconscious. It was silly, but I managed to pull it off. A teacher and I took it to a near by city where I entered it in competition. I actually did quite well with it. Later that school year we moved off the ranch to a town called Superior. A teacher there was trying to put together a play and I was instantly cast in the lead of “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” I was suddenly playing a middle-aged man. It must have been horrible, but I was bitten. The first time I ever drank or got drunk was at the cast party for that play and I got so sick that it become the joke of the entire school of maybe 200 kids. I had finally found a place I seem to belong. Though I was so different from everyone else, they all accepted me for that difference and could see my passion and aptitude for such creative endeavors. I began to write little plays that we could do. I remember one particular piece that was a parody bawdy shameless exploitation of the Cinderella story, in which it was a gay fairy godfather instead. My teacher read it in horror, and pronounced it as trash and that I should make better use of my talents. To me it was hysterically funny. Ah my first exposure to censorship. I somehow ended going to a recruiting trip at the University of Montana and, of all the kids applying, got one of two scholarships for the Drama/Dance Department and become the first kid in my family to go to college. I think much to the chagrin of my parents who feared I would end of wasting my life to follow unobtainable dreams. Well here is it 30 some odd years later, and I do mean odd, and I have followed my passion and my heart. Yes, there has been a lot of struggle, but I think in the end, so far everything has turned out all right and this weekend I will get to step back into that dark world of the theater and hopefully reconnect to a passion long lost.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have also had those areas of profound interest for a period of time, and then for one reason or another it is over and something else takes its place. I look back on the pleasure I felt during those periods and name them "lifetimes". I have had many 'lifetimes' in this way: painting, sailing, music ... all of which I miss greatly. However, now I am in this current 'lifetime' and am enjoying that as well. Interesting, isn't it? Ruth