Devised Theater: A Venn Diagram

Devised Theater: A Venn Diagram
This diagram was created by the co-producing artistic directors of Rude Mechs to depict the complexity of creating and crediting collaboratively devised work for theatrical performance.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

This I Believe #8, 2011

Sorry about the lateness of this - totally thought I had already created this post.

Hope you'll forgive me and, as I'm sure you expected, post your TIB by tomorrow (March 25th) at noon.

See you in class!


  1. dearest erin and whatever-i-named-you,

    you left today, both of you. i already miss your presences. and so do the boys, i think. although those three haven’t come out of that damn rock all day, so it’s kind of hard to tell. perhaps they’re still mourning.

    it breaks my heart that you both followed so quickly in the wake of poor alakazam. i had only just rid my nightmares from the sad image of his great, black eyes when i realized that you, my sweet erin, were exhibiting the same host of devastating symptoms. your once gleaming scales dulled, your whiteness transformed into a threatening blood-red. and your tail, your beautiful tail, disappeared into a mess of what the fungus treatment package described as ‘white, cottony growth.’ just as it did with alakazam, it defeated you. despite my desperate attempt to rid the water of that filthy fungus, it took you from me.

    and you, dearest whatever-it-was-that-i-named-you (i deeply wish that i could only remember), were a great shock to have lost so suddenly. what happened? you appeared to have recovered so well from your last illness. and you seemed so genuinely happy, even after i had to relocate your tank. you seemed so strong. and yet you are gone. just like the others, you have left me behind.

    my precious fishies, i miss you already. i may not expect a heaven for myself, but i comfort my heart now with the belief that you both swim happily with alakazam in a giant fishbowl in the sky. i pray that you remember me fondly and that my roommate wasn’t too rough when she flushed your broken bodies into the great beyond.

    your adoptive mother and friend,

    - katie.

  2. Good morning. How did you sleep? Did green brocade doublets, sleeves ballooning like oversized dandelions, visit again? Did they sing of late-night meals, Muscat, and tomatoes poisoned by cats? Did they cast prohibitions on aged Brie cheese? Did your bottom ache from the uncushioned seat while tall men spun tales of love and fine thread? Did yarn become lacey ruffs for ringing necks? Did arms flail like neglected marionettes? Did anyone hear you cry?

    Good morning. Graced again and hoping you are awake. Cold and blustery outside, no weather for running. 90 drips of honey later, I wonder when rituals stiffen into routines. Does a star fall to usher ordinary time in? Pure U.S. Grade A Linden Honey: do not feed to infants under 1. (Are you listening to me?) Best by September 30, 2011. Honeycombed reflector vest mirrors 6am headlights. I am the queen bee and, no, I don’t need your honey.

    Good morning. The night ended and we rise again, too soon. Can we swap coffee smells? My eyes close against the sun streaming in. I dream of an April bear slumbering next to you, a yellow bucket under its rump. Jingling bells swing with the door: home to do-gooders, poets, and malcontents, this is no Greek diner. I want to feed you a muffin. Remember the woman who wished she could give you one? My latte is half gone and I slow down. I eat fast, you tell me, because I am eager to ask: Do you want blue sprinkles?

    I believe in saying good morning before anyone else wakes up.

  3. What one thing happened today that you will remember?


    What was so good about lunch?

    I got to eat.

    An exact transcript of a conversation with my son on March 15, 2011: a daily exchange guarded by lashes long enough to etch tracks in the plastic lenses he wears to combat poor vision.

    What should I believe in?

    You can believe in bad weather.

    Why would I believe in bad weather?

    Because it is true and it is on the news.

    The news: Twenty Thousand People Dying in Japan. Breakfast: cinnamon toast and apple juice. A tsunami killed half the number of people eating breakfast in Lexington. Last night workers were ordered to leave a failing nuclear reactor and we discuss meltdowns, Chernobyl, and dead zones on the way to school.

    Bite down.

    His skin turns blue. His body becomes board-stiff. Latex-covered hands slide small rolls of cotton between his teeth.

    Blink fast if it hurts too much.

    Muscular paralysis dissolves as dental crews depart. He has chewed the point off his top lip again. He worries about the bees. He is certain that they are going extinct and knows that their absence will lead to famine and the natural end of all life.

    Take my picture now. I’ll pretend I’m dying of starvation on the sand.

    Six steel rungs lead to boxed beaches: train cars filled with fine sand. Spring wind chases a dust storm and I want to believe that life can be contained inside train cars.

  4. The powder is coarse to the touch; it’s a cold, smooth feeling. As it passes through the fingers, memories are conjured up from the deep past. Memories of sweet confections of all kinds; cakes and cookies and muffins begin dancing through the space of grey matter. A smile blooms as the memory of how that particular bag spilled open causing the powder to wash over everything in a tide of white haze, giving everything the “ghost” vibe.
    2 cups of sugar, one tablespoons of butter, add flour as needed…if only that meant don’t get the flour all over the kitchen as it’s “liberally” added! But, if it didn’t at least get on your face, was it truly worth it? It was a ritual in the house…get a little on you and the whole dish would be that much more memorable. Accidently or not, it was an unspoken rule.
    My first experience with flour was with my first cake. I remember reading the recipe; it had a set measure of flour, which disappointed me but I still “applied” it as needed by the recipe and the unspoken rule. The cake would turn out well…the only problem is that it didn’t rise properly.

    I believe in flour.

  5. Hello. I love you. Wish you were here.

    Texts like these are always sent bundled with day dreams. Light dancing off the water in the bay, a bonfire on the beach at night in Santa Barbara, the lights of Toronto at night, the fog that hides Washington from Oregon on the other side of the river on a good stormy day, the bleary eyed city of Chicago waking up through the dirty windows of a bus, and snow so heavy in upstate New York that it snaps the branches of backyard trees.

    Sometimes even old churches in Boston.

    When these phones are turned on their owners and held so that several familiar faces can crowd into the frame, eyes glittering or tongues out, the places all see more real. My friends are there. Sometimes I think I believe in being with one of them or another after school.

    My friends are spread out all over the country, and a few others, they remind me of places I wish I could be with photos. Sometimes I think this is a one way exchange, friends smiling at me from places I have not had opportunity to visit in a very long time (Or ever). But I know that sometimes my texts are wrapped up in photos of trees changing colors or wide open spaces on the drive from college to home.

    Hello, I miss you. Wish you were here.

    A part of my heart is in each of these places. I believe in faraway friends. We may not see each other nearly as often as the friends who pile onto the couch every week on Thursday nights, but we bring each other to places we may never go. It's been years since I've seen many of them in person, but photos of peace signs from the tops of mountains drag me all the way to Utah and then back to vacations in Florida with photos of Mikey Mouse ears and younger siblings.

  6. Like most teenagers, I quickly realized that I could not escape the things I hated about my hometown by simply moving away.

    I seethed when I heard my High School Principal use the word “darkies”, I was tired of overhearing racist jokes, and I was sick of people forgetting that there are other races to begin with due to the overwhelming homogeneity. I couldn’t wait to get out.

    So I get in to this Ivy-looking school, move away, and BOOM. Disappointment. There were maybe thirty non-white kids in my freshman class. “Wow, you all have 15 Black kids, that’s a lot.”

    And it didn’t end there. I fell in love with the comfort food of Ramsey’s Diner, only to later hear about the blatant sexism of the owner, who refuses to hire male service staff or female kitchen help. A mixed friend of mine who is a paralegal has to wear a straight-hair piece at her internship to look “more professional”.

    Our school still has a dormitory named after the President of the Confederacy. Our buildings face inward like a timid white person passing a Black man on the street at night. We built a new ten foot tall fence less than two years ago.

    I complain a lot, and it’s too much for some people: Why focus on all these bad things? My answer is simple: who else will?

    There’s this local college bar, 2 Keys Tavern, named for its past as a slave jail. When I found out, I wanted to petition, go down in person, and demand a name change. But then I realized: it would be exactly the same. Erasing the past is no better than forgetting it. So now, instead of a name change, I want a giant asterisk of a Lexington History sign next to the bar, and I won’t shut up until it happens, damnit.

    I believe in the depressing truths.

  7. Once, when they were lazy, Priscilla and Martha used my Daddy’s little red wagon to haul in wood. Little Daddy was so angry when the broke it. Even when he tells the story now, his laugh is much more haunted and less jolly than the story of the spring, or of shooting his foot.
    Every time we drove past the old State Theater, Granny Mac would tell me “My first job was popping popcorn. After the movie was over I’d have to clean the popcorn machine, put everything away. Then I’d walk down this road, and turn right there to get home. I was never scared, even though it was night. That’s when we lived in town.”
    The second time I meet Tabatha, she told me about the old trash lot that Greg, Cooper, and Cody used to play in. It sparked a fountain of shared memories; the details weren’t painted for me, I created my own imaginations as their minds flowed with the trouble they’d once gotten in. “Remember the time we blew up the T.V.”, “Johna and I’d spend the night at her house since her mom went to work before the school bus picked us up. She’d answer the phone and pretend to be her mom when the school called in the middle of the day.”

    I believe in stories. Yes, of course, the stories in books, but also the stories we tell one another. I believe that there is a power and joy of sharing our past with others. I believe that the things we chose to recreate and restructure into narrative in our minds hold great importance to us, and that the choice in itself is part of what makes up our story. I believe that our story is vital to who we are.