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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

TIB # 10

Please post your essays here before class Friday!


  1. I typed creed into Google this afternoon and was startled by the definition. Creed: a statement of beliefs. The definition seems fine enough but, when thinking about my creed much more comes to my mind. I think of my preference night freshman year when an upperclassman told me “a creed is to be lived everyday or it has no purpose”. I took that advice to heart that night when I was preparing to commit to a Greek organization. What values did each organization hold dear and which ones did I believe in. Which set of values could I commit to everyday?
    As soon as what I now call my creed was read at preference I was overwhelmed with relief. I found my fit. I found my home. I saw my values written down carefully in beautiful eloquent language being lived by women who truly were united together in purpose. Since I have joined Phi Mu, I have gained too much to even begin to explain. My creed is one of the most important
    I read my creed every morning when I go to the bathroom. On the hall, it is taped to the back of the stall door. I say the words carefully in my head. My vision is usually blurred because I haven’t put my contacts in yet but, I don’t have to rely on the copy hanging in front of me too much because now my creed is imprinted permanently in place in my mind and my heart.

    “To lend to those less fortunate a helping hand.
    To think of God as a protector and guide of us all.
    To keep forever sacred the memory of those we have loved and lost.
    To be to others what we would they would be to us.
    To keep our lives gentle, merciful and just,
    Thus being true to the womanhood of love.

    To walk in the way of honor, guarding the purity of our thoughts and deeds.
    Being steadfast in every duty small or large.
    Believing that our given word is binding.
    Striving to esteem the inner man above culture, wealth or pedigree.
    Being honorable, courteous, tender,
    Thus being true to the womanhood of honor.

    To serve in the light of truth avoiding egotism, narrowness and scorn.
    To give freely of our sympathies.
    To reverence God as our Maker, striving to serve Him in all things.
    To minister to the needy and unfortunate.
    To practice day by day love, honor, truth.
    Thus keeping true to the meaning, spirit and reality of Phi Mu.”

    I live by these words. I practice them day by day. I live to strive to be the woman Mary, Mary and Martha, imagined would come to know the wonderful bond of Phi Mu. I live them for myself, my sisters, and for the world. I personally believe we should all have a creed to live by, whether it comes from an organization or a personal symphony. It is important to hold yourself to standards so you can offer the best YOU to the world.

  2. Since it’s discovery, I believe that all of humanity has maintained an unabashed fascination with fire. Being of the human species, I am no different. We are like moths, drawn to a light that has the power to destroy us, a warmth that holds so much promise and so much danger. But isn’t that the best part? That proximity to danger, yet the safety of knowing you mustn't get TOO close. Feeling that almost-too-hot sensation on your face, not quite burning, but painfully pleasant. Swatting at smoke that follows you, and only you, no matter where you stand or how hard you try to avoid it. Then it lingers, on that new sweater that is just the right shade of green, in your just-washed-that-afternoon hair, on your skin.

    Fire, so bright and intoxicating, brings people together to put it cheesily. Sometimes I wonder, am I the only one that is reduced to a squealy little girl when a campfire, or bonfire, or fireplace-fire is suggested? I believe the answer is yes and no. While squealing they may not be, most people won’t pass up a chance to share in the warmth of an open flame, and better yet, s’mores. It’s worth the blinding smoke in your eyes if you can get that golden hue on your marshmallow. Although the ones blacked to a crisp on the outside are good as well. And the just plain, non-fired ones are pretty delicious too. Basically, all marshmallows eaten fireside are delicious.

    There’s something calm about it too. It dances frantically, needs to be fed constantly to stay alive like anything else that’s alive, but it’s soothing. Familiar. It’s the fire I watched with my childhood friend and her family as we roasted hotdogs in the woods, sitting on the end of her dad’s truck bed. It’s the fire that was in our living room fireplace only once, I think, and provided endless fun in the use of the poker and little broom kept nearby. It’s the fire I stared at while I held his hand and was surprise-serenaded by a friend who appeared out of nowhere (literally, she just showed up, sang to me, then left).

    I promise, I’m no arsonist when I say this.
    I believe in fire.

  3. I owe you an apology. It seems like we got off to a bad start.

    See, I like you a lot. I do. I just don’t like you like you, you know? When we were sitting up talking that night, you had all these really thoughtful compliments, and they made me feel… bad. Yes, bad. Because you and I are just not on the same level.

    You have to look at where I’m coming from. I invested a lot of energy into this relationship I used to have, and I didn’t save any for the swim back. So when the ship went down, I really thought I would never want to date or fall in love with anyone again. Ever. I’m mixing my metaphors, but the point is: I’m depleted. I don’t have anything to give. I have nothing to offer you. I burned up to ash on the inside and I’m only just starting to have sensation again, like a patient in the burn unit after months of skin grafts and rehabilitation.

    That’s where you come in. Yes, you, with your shiny eyes and cute smile. You liked me and it felt good. I dared to hope. I started to imagine a world where I could have something with someone. It wasn’t that I wanted to date you. I just wanted to want it so badly. I started to think you could save me from myself.

    But this isn’t a fairy tale, and knights in shining armor don’t rescue princesses from towers.

    When you said those things, those beautiful things, those incredibly heartfelt compliments you’d clearly spent a lot of time thinking about, I knew we couldn’t continue. I felt unfair and self-conscious because all I could say back was “I think you’re really funny” and “you smell nice.” I’d told myself those things were enough, at the start of something, but you freaked me out. It isn’t you; you’re great. I’m just looking for someone who can be somewhere around my level of shallowness. I’m just not that deep. Not right now.

    I will have meaningful relationships. I want to, and I will. Right now I am not ready. I can imagine it and I can hope for it, and maybe you’re to thank for that, so thank you. Thank you and goodbye.

    Because my heart was broken, and I just haven’t grown a new one yet. I believe in love. I just don’t believe in it for today.

    1. I just want to say that I really like the way you write. The end.

  4. My heart aches for Hazel Grace and Gus, for the feather-light embrace of pages read for pleasure. I yearn for perilous arenas and snowscapes lit by twin moons, for cliffhangers and sequels and the cavernous songs of dwarves. I miss the delirious musings of Snowman, wish I could once again lose myself in the gruesome histories of Wallachian princes. I long to hear the blab of the pave, to sing the body electric, to seek the Great Perhaps – it’s been weeks since my last journey through the fountain to Fillory, months since I last enjoyed the company of Luna and Ron – we used to be so close, all those summer days I quested with them while lifeguards ensured the safety of my charges. I want to drive through the hollers with Hassan and Colin, collecting oral histories and visiting the graves of archdukes, I want to fly one last time with the Flock, spend a lazy afternoon with Alaska Young and the Fox.

    For the past week it’s been fiction, not future plans that occupy my thoughts, but escapism isn’t the kind of hobby you can put on a resume.

    I believe that made up things can matter, that half-truths and fantasy make reality easier to swallow, that you can never love a character as much as you can miss them, that even though things don’t have to exist to be written about, it’s nice, every once in awhile, to pretend.

    I believe in fiction.

  5. *I will read the one that I wrote for Kristina in class. It will be a surprise.

    I am one of those peoples that do not like releasing his inhibitions. Despite my very outgoing personality and seeming willingness to do just about anything, I find myself more terrified by things than I would care to admit. This is especially true when it comes to crushes. I mean, I have only ever been in two relationships. When you know that you’re gay, dating women just doesn’t seem that interesting and you find yourself terrified that a guy that you might be interested in will completely stop talking to you. And honestly, I had decided that I would probably never be in a relationship with a guy and would live life moderately miserable until I die. I was inhibiting myself. I was fearful to ever try to find love or anything akin to it. Timid and shy and scared was I and I was not long 16 going on 17. I had thrown in the towel and was just waiting for the bell to chime letting me know that the round called life was finally over. I had honestly just given up.
    Somehow, I came to crush on a friend that I never would have assumed I would be romantically interested in. It was weird. I had no idea how to have that conversation with him but luckily, we all turn 21 once and I turned it at a pretty opportune time. My first kiss was not with someone I was dating, but with someone I liked. I was drunk…very drunk. But I owe something to that fishbowl from Two Keys Tavern that I got for it being my birthday. At some point, my friend and I looked at each other and we kissed. It was sloppy, drunken and wonderful. That kiss gave me the outlet to admitting my crush. That kiss is what helped me decide that it was time to come out to my parents. And it was that kiss that a few months later led to a relationship. I believe in releasing one’s inhibitions, even it comes with a stomach ache the next morning. What comes later could be worth so much more

    1. This reflection brims with tender feelings. Glad you believe in releasing your inhibitions. And in kisses.

  6. At the beginning, we fupped together.
    You watch porn?
    No, you thought they said horror movies.
    I’m not quite sure how you heard that,
    but it’s more believable than the former.

    We don’t fup much anymore,
    but every once in a while we do
    when we decide it’s been too long.
    But now we CETA together.
    It doesn’t have quite the same ring,
    but we have just as much fun.

    I’ve travelled through monsoons with you,
    done more U-turns on one trip than I have in my life with you,
    stalked deaf ladies at Goodwill with you,
    and now, I’d like to wish a happy birthday to you.
    So happy birthday, Kristina!
    I hope it's awesome and stuff.

    I’m sorry this poem didn’t rhyme
    but I couldn’t think of words that rhyme with Kristina
    other than ballerina and hyena.

  7. My hands delve into the white cloud of chalk, my forearms are burning, my heart is pumping boisterously in my chest. The fingertips on both of my hands feel as if they should peel off at any second, and the calluses on my palms feel the same. I can hear a couple people from below offering beta, but I’m not sure which holds they are referring to. I look down to see if I have any more feet (holds), but I can’t seem to see any. Different colors of tape abound on the wall, and there are so many that looking down just gets me more confused. I see the next hand hold, but it’s SO far away. I’m going to have to dyno (jump) to it. I’m so bad at those types of dynamic moves, and I know that I can’t half-ass it. If I do, I’ll miss the hold and have to start the route all over again. I take a deep breath, lengthen my arms, and make what seems like an impossible leap. My feet fly off the wall, and I’m hanging by my now- cramping hand on new hold. Whew, that was a doozy. I jump down, and muffled voices return to clarity. It’s funny how you block people out when you’re on the wall.
    Climbing is everything. It’s weird, pumped- up Dub Step and slow, folky Ray Lamontagne. It’s guys with dreadlocks and tan Atheist men who climb without shirts and don’t like guns. It’s girls with strength and finesse who just don’t care about their messy hair or getting chalk on their new jeans. It’s bonding with people you don’t know because they showed you beta on a route. It’s hot and sweaty because the room is full of people coursing with energy. It’s heaven, it’s perfect, it’s all I ever wanted on a late Thursday night.

  8. I believe in antiquated memories.

    I remember watching whey drip from cheesecloth sacks that draped low from a loose knot tied around the tall faucet in the kitchen sink. I remember the squeaking sound of fresh curds on my teeth when we persuaded our mother to let us have a few before she finished making them into cottage cheese.

    I loved climbing high into the apple tree behind the stream. We filled rough plastic feed bags with apples and made enough apple sauce to last all year. Months later when served at the table the very center of the bowl would still be frozen. Everyone wanted that frozen serving of apple sauce. It was nice to cool your insides against the dry heat of the wood stoves that I had to keep supplied with hand-split wood throughout the winter.

    I took frog eggs into my first grade classroom so everyone could watch them hatch and grow. We raised monarch butterflies on the porch and my mother brought a baby pig to show the other kids in school. The pig was probably a runt. We raised runts in the house until they were strong enough to survive with the other pigs—indeed until they were too tall to fit comfortably under the dining room table.

    We made our own butter when I was a child, and I found a churn much like ours in an antique shop when I was fifteen. It was at least ten years newer than the one we were using and although the technological advances in the crank and paddle structure looked useful they were not worth $150.

    I was sometimes embarrassed and sometimes annoyed by the fact that my life was nothing like my classmates. They had television, video games and blacktop driveways. I have memories that belong to someone twice my age, and years later I know that specific details of these memories mean less to me than the story they tell of my childhood.

  9. I believe in the geriatric miracle dog that has been my companion for fifteen years. He had a stroke this past week, but seems to be doing just fine. His tail still wags and he continues eating with the same gusto he always has. He has seizures though and cataracts, in addition to going deaf. Did I mention that he also has arthritis? I honestly do not know how he is still alive. He has had more near-death experiences than Harry Potter.
    He sleeps in my parents’ bed every night and sits on our laps at dinner. He also has the worst name ever: Fluffy. Yes, my dog’s name is Fluffy, but to be fair, it does fit him really well. He is a twenty- pound bichon that serves the same function as a decorative throw pillow. Except that throw pillows don’t curl up next to you when you are sick. They don’t wiggle from excitement when you walk in through the door. Throw pillows don’t have giant brown eyes.
    Last year Fluffy came down with kennel cough and pneumonia. We thought he was going to die, so I said goodbye to him on that Saturday in the vet’s office. He was so thin and feeble and it killed me that I could not take care of him, so I just said goodbye. I gave him the usual neck scratch an kiss on the nose and told him that he was the best boy I know.
    That heartfelt goodbye turned out to be premature though because Fluffy is somehow alive. He is like Bear Grylls or a maybe a wizard. He still goes on walks and does his tricks for a treat. This play has reached the final act though and everyone knows it. I realize that I will have to repeat that goodbye, and this time it will be for good.
    I know that it is ridiculous to become so emotional over a dog, but Fluffy is something- someone- you can’t help loving.

  10. because when i bike through woodland park i see so many different people. i see the skaters and the punks. i see the families fresh from church dressed in their sunday best. i see the lone man jogging, just passing through. i see the gypsy-esque woman hula-hooping in front of her two companions on the grass. i see so many colors, shapes and sizes occupying the same spaces.

    because when i walk into the void, a cool little skate shop, to ask to hang up a poster the man automatically recognizes ed franklin's art and already knows what it advertises.

    because, during uk games, i can step out onto a stoop and hear chants and shouts and cheers. 'go cats!' and when we win, the big blue nation literally celebrates in the streets - and the proper authorities simply stop traffic and take pictures with their cellphones.

    because, some fridays, all kinds of people hop around town - to look at art. we mix and mingle and party artistically. and it is awesome.

    because i have only been here for four years. and yet it feels like home. i feel at home here, welcome and wanted.

    because something is always growing here. and it encourages the people to grow along with it, without eclipsing what was here before.

    because, even though i am eager to leave the transylvania bubble, i do not see myself wanting to leave this town anytime soon.

    i believe in lexington.

  11. I believe in family.

    Bright splotches of orange against purple. The title, “Sponge Painting,” clues me in. Little fingers fingering little sponges. Orange everywhere. It’s not until Miss Cindy points out their shape that I notice orange silhouettes like tiny winter hats, soft and fluffy, with a ball of tufted wool on top. The words at bottom right, “Nicholas 3.22.12,” imply authorship. But I know they are meant for my maternal pride and sense of attachment.

    Yesterday I asked a friend if she would join me for dinner on Saturday. My family is leaving, I told her. I will be a free woman this weekend. What family? she asked. I didn’t know your mother was visiting.

    Strange how words turn on us. Before our daughter was born, friends asked if we wanted to start a family. Start a family? I would wonder. I already had a family: he and I had formally stated our intentions on a lucky day in June. I would recall: St. Patrick’s, stuffed grape leaves, rakia, and an unruly piñata that would not give up its offerings. Informal memories took me back to a Thanksgiving Day spent by a fireplace near Lake Michigan, waiting and hoping. We have been a family for a long time.

    I didn’t know your mother was visiting, she said. How do I itemize my family?
    My family contains sponge art, walks by Lake Michigan, and skipping over duck in the Great Wall menu for fear of choking on a bone. It includes four-year-olds whose parents were ordered to wear no less than one piece of male clothing for fear of gender confusion. It includes toddlers without parents, safe in a nest. It includes children who grow up in tents and girls who are raped at 7. I am attached to all of them and can hardly bear it. So I go out for dinner with a friend.

  12. Back then I would make my way down the hill behind my house to the sheltered bus stop that stood at the edge of the swamp. Living where I do now it’s strange to think I even lived near a swamp. Anxious as ever to get out of the house those mornings, I would run out in a flurry with backpack and sandals in tow, my cheek still wet from my mom’s “have a good day!” kiss. I never had the heart to rub it off right away like my brothers, at least not until I was out of view. I skipped to catch up with Michael and Nick, who were already laughing with the other kids. I was certain, as I was every morning that I was going to beat the next kid who raced me to the mailbox. I was certain that I had to be the fastest girl in 2nd grade by now. I remember grabbing the huge elephant ears that grew right on the periphery of the marsh. I was always too afraid to actually pick one for myself. One was too large and maybe even too majestic to be stuffed into a backpack or keep in my room. As we waited for the bus, between dares and races, I swatted at the bugs that darted around my ankles and peered over the ankle high mounds that contained thousands of fire ants—some of my first enemies. Eventually the bus would come and it’d take me to the place I most wanted to go, the place where your favorite PE coach gives out ‘high fives’ as you jump off the bus, gives you quick nicknames based on your t-shirt. The place where art was every Monday, but it should have been everyday. Where the library didn’t even have a door.
    On the weekends I woke up to mourning doves and my neighbors dogs, the sea gulls, and the sound of my mother’s knees popping as she got out of bed next door. I’d lie in bed, as still as I could make myself, watching my room getting darker and then lighter and then dark again as clouds moved across the sky. How I wish I could have moments like that now: whole mornings to lie in bed and watch my room get darker and lighter, nothing pressing on my mind, a feeling of permanence, of being able to stay in one place.
    I thought this could be my home and I’d be happy to remain here forever…because I didn’t know anything else. Because I didn’t have to. Because I was only 7. I wasn’t prepared for the life ahead of me yet. Little did I know that I’d go through this several more times, that I’d live in all kinds of places, that I’d meet all sorts of new people, that I’d make sacrifices, that I’d lose a father, that’d I’d never experience what I thought to be consistence. At least at 7 I was resilient. This wouldn’t be the toughest change, though I immediately yearned for that big tree and the elephant ears and the beach and the bay.
    I still yearn. Yearn for a place to call home. Trying to avoid recounting my life history when people asked me where I was from. Having to find a way to fulfill this image of what it should be like to be from one place. Envisioning going back to our bay front house, the swamp, my first elementary school, the house on Ohio Circle, the shady spot, the tunnel, only to have to grapple with the fact that forces of nature are at work. That since I had left Katrina wiped out that house, my first elementary school torn down. That in a few years Ohio Circle won’t exist as it does today. Feeling sad to think that little tangible pieces of my childhood are beginning to disappear.
    It feels silly to get emotional over these places, but despite being mostly gone, they still reside deep within my memories, still very vivid. I have this attachment to all of these little places in the world. I suppose it’s the same kind of attachment people get for the one home they grew up in. Except mine is a bit more fractured, fanned out, spanning the different locations and varied points of my life. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to retrieve these parts of myself, or if they will stay where they remain, unbeknownst to all of those who come after me.

  13. Classes, papers, tests.
    New friends, bought friends, Greek letters, and quirky encounters.
    Lunch table cults and social hours in the library.
    All nighters and 18 page study guides.
    Living for the weekend.

    Hall parties, underage females, and cheap frat punch.
    Baby making music, themed events, and regretted decisions.
    Fake ids, uncomfortable heels, and hairstyles that desperately try to make you appear 3 years older.
    Get one taken at McCarthy’s, but get a new one by Friday from a sister down the hall.

    Dorm life and rights of passage.
    Liking someone enough to share a 12x12 with them.
    Bunk beds and desperate drunken attempts to make it to the top.
    Community showers with moldy curtains and favorite bathroom stalls.
    100-year-old washing machine and dryer and never enough quarters.
    Weekend brunch in the cafeteria and midnight rice bowls in the 1780.

    Philanthropy, engagement, sisterhood.
    Steadfastly loving one-another, whatever that means.
    Pansys, pearls, pine trees and Poseidon.
    Best friends made into better women.

    21st birthdays, shot books, and aching livers.
    Bars, beers and bouncers.
    Late Thursday nights and early Friday mornings.
    Lectures and hangovers.
    Lying to yourself when you say that you’re just going to have one beer.

    Majors, minors, and explored subjects.
    Critical thinking, new ideas, and broad perceptions.
    Graduation announcements, cap and gowns, and way too many people questioning you about the future.
    Liberally educated.
    Not ready for it to end.

    I believe that college years are the best years of your life. I believed that college is to be experienced, cultivated, and cherished. You get four years, don’t waist a day of it.

  14. As I reflect on my time in college, I realize that I have learned a ton of material, but beyond that, when I forget the material, I will remember at least one thing: how to think. I believe that I have learned to be a better person and a thinker thanks to this amazing environment. It has had its ups and its downs, but I don’t think I would have it any other way.

    Thanks to this place, I have discovered myself. I have discovered who I want to be. I want to be an activist. I want to fight for kids so that they don’t have to go through hatred and discrimination. I want to look back on my life 40 years from now and say “Wow, I am proud of what I have done.” Even if I have helped one kid, I will be pleased.

    I’ve learned what I want to do. I’ve learned how to think. I’ve learned so much about myself. It is for these reasons that I believe in Transylvania University.