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, April 11, 2013

This I believe #12

Last one!


  1. I was reminded today of my real love for books, as members of my Capstone Seminar course read of their personal experiences with the three novels from this semester. Someone shared an experience in which they cried, which prompted me to remember my most memorable, moving experiences with books.

    When I was eight years old, I was introduced to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, as cliché as it may be. I would ask my mom to run me a bath, and I would hop on in, struggling to hold the huge book above the bubbly waters of relaxation. I couldn’t stop reading. By the time I got to the seventh book, I locked myself in my room for three days, ignoring any texts or calls that I received, asking my parents to please deliver any meals to my room because I would not leave. I sobbed when I finished the series, feeling as if a chapter of my childhood closed.

    In middle school, someone gave me Perks of Being a Wallflower. It remains my very favorite book. I realized that one could tell important stories through written word that others can relate to, that others may need to hear. As Charlie realized what had happened to him in his childhood, I realized that those same things most likely happened to people I knew, people in my classes, maybe even my friends. I wept with the realization that one never knows the struggles that others face behind closed doors.

    My high school English teacher “forced” my class to read The Great Gatsby. Every person complained, incredulous that we actually had to do a learning activity. I did not understand why others were upset. It was incredible. Daisy was a strange, strange person to me, as was Mr. Gatsby. I secretly cried in a class discussion because I was so pissed off that the two would never be together. My classmates made sexist comments (surprise) that I was “over-sensitive,” but they just didn’t understand that these characters could be real if you allow them to be!

    To immerse yourself in a story is a beautiful experience, and for this reason, I believe in literature. I hope my next experience with a novel is not academic, so that I take the time to love the story, to love the characters, and to cry.

    1. I will never again ask you to read a novel, Johnna :)

  2. I hopped off the bus at my grandparents house as I always did. An exciting day had previously ensued and I couldn't wait to tell Grammy about it. I ran down the gravel drive, past the garage and up the stone sidewalk onto the porch. As always Grammy was sitting on the porch swing reading.

    She began asking about my day, wanting the full report. I told her about the boy who pulled my pig tails, mrs.mckenzie's new dress. & how all the girls were still obsessed with that Nsync cd that came out 3 weeks ago. (I was over it) I also told her how show and tell went. The night before I had struggled with what to bring. I finally decided on something at breakfast

    I had brought a deck of playing cards. I had learned all the games on a snow week when TV no longer entertained me. From black jack to rummy to poker. At the age of 5 I could do it all. I decided everyone else should too. Little did I know my teacher wouldn't exactly approve of 5 year olds using their snacks as betting chips.

    As soon as I had all the pudding cups around me my teacher took the cards away asking me how I knew to play these things. I told them my aunt and pawpaw taught me & that they said every lady should know what risks to take. Without risk came no reward.
    Little did I know what valuable advice this was

  3. The United Nations declared 2008 The Year of the Potato.
    Protestants in Northern Ireland refused to grow potatoes because they were not mentioned in the Bible. Catholics sprinkled their crops with holy water. This allowed them to believe.

    We spend the day riding a rented floor sander, room to room down a Victorian hallway. Finished: silence rains through the apartment. Two sharp knocks, an extended rattling of loose-fitting glass, and an echo announce a visitor. A thick woman, thinly dressed, waits outside: “Do you need company tonight?” Declining and ascending the staircase, I face the Christmas cactus left by a previous tenant. It has forged new life from neglect: soft flowers push through green skin and standing blades.

    Leek and Potato soup: too warm a meal for a day spent sanding away history. Food prepared in a rising flood of silence: frost turns to ice on the rattling glass.

    Years later, I am startled by two sharp knocks, then an explosion of knuckles announcing a 3 a.m. visitor. Hissing, the pneumatic storm creases her into my threshold. I deliver a down comforter from my couch: delicate green of new growth on mature shrubbery. Arranged on the stoop, she stutters and spills her story between deep breaths: hampered by tears. The pale green of spring growth steeps in her red. She lets the comforter fall open: greasy jeans with skin broken, bloodied by meaty knuckles and forked tongues. Shredded denim: escape hatches for knees with scarred skin made thick, russet from days spent sucking in the sun.

    Thin spring-skins of red bliss potatoes add color to Moussaka: all solanine-soaked eyes removed with the nightshade poisons. Kachkaval melts, holding everything together.
    I believe in potatoes. In this, I am not alone. Excluding Antartica and the North Pole, potatoes are grown—and cooked—at all points on the globe. Described by Europeans arriving on American soil in 1537 as “truffles with delicate and pleasant taste,” there may be one interconnected root system: tubers embracing the globe.

  4. I believe in dreams. I believe in them more so because of their entertainment value when shared with friends, rather than in them having some deep meaning, because really, who else dreams up something with a pizza place and a marching band? I won’t get into what exactly happened in it, because I only remember half of it, and I don’t even know the guy who was in the dream with me. I believe in the fact that when I told my roommate, who happens to be my best friend that I’ve known since second grade, we both rolled in the floor laughing so much that our eyes watered. I believe in the good times that come only from sharing funny dreams. I believe in my best friend, because we can laugh together for hours.

  5. Sometimes, things happen and you can't tell why. You lose your job, you get broken up with, you miss a bus, your car won't start. Things that make you say, "why me?" Well this is a story about one of those times.

    So, sophomore year of high school my band class takes a trip down to Disney world. Supposedly the "happiest place in the world" (keep that in mind). Well the first day goes by without a hitch. Had a great time, rode rides, hung out with friends, Disney world as it should be. Then day number two rolls around. We're walking and universal studios trying to decide what we want to do, when I get a phone call. From my first girlfriend. So I sit down in the middle of this deserted little plaza to talk. When she drops the bomb. The we're done bomb. In the middle of Disney world. And I do think know what to do, I just lose it. And one of my friends finds me, trying to comfort me he looks at me and says, "I know that this is terrible right now, but just remember, everything happens for a reason." and that kinda brought me out of it a bit, got me thinking. So I got up and we went on our way, but Disney world wasn't the same, it was a disaster zone now.

    Through the years that phrase has stuck with me though. Whenever something happened that I just didn't want to believe I would step back and tell myself, just hold on, because everything happens for a reason. Now I know that doesn't hold true for everything in every situation. But for a lot of things it does, it's a reminder to look on the bright side. And that's why I believe that everything happens for a reason.

    1. I really like your voice in this reflection. Disney World as a disaster zone--unforgettable!

  6. A tangle of snakes between Stone Avenue and Lexington avenue stopped me on my way to school this morning, and while I yearn to say this is "out of the normal", or "completely absurd!," I'm positively distraught to say the advent of spring in Lexington has been a direct parallel to the advent of snakes in my life.

    I think I believe in the power of snakes. Or is it th empower of phobias?

    I'd also love to say its a common archetypal fear. Snake, by Christian word, is evil. Persuading that doormat Eve to sink into some forbidden fruit, ruining the chances of ever living in Eden for all of mankind. Heck, I'd even like to accredit this fear to Freud himself, as if my heart-stopping, lung-deflating, pupil-dilating fear is intrinsically bound to the fact that Im a big Ol queer. A snake, after all, is just one huge phallus. This same psychoanalysis may also describe my extreme distaste for Old Morrison.

    However, I don't think this is it. I'm no Christian, and my recent infatuation with what scholars deem "The D" enables me to properly dispel these causes. I'm afraid of snakes because, I think, they're even around at all.

    The tangle of muddy garter snakes this morning was just one instance of the now 10 snake sightings in just the past week. My constant scanning of sidewalks and bushes for these little reptiles, unfortunately, never leaves me empty-eyeballed. From the low, scrubby bushes they poke their sneaky diamond heads, and shed their skin on my sidewalks as if they have the right--as if snakes pay taxes to leave their past lives on my path to school.
    I believe in phobias, and the power of hundreds of little ribs as arms to render my spring/summer activities completely dependent on the chance that a snake might consider theirself a guest.

    To me, a poisonous water moccasin is no different from a garter snake--he just may be a bit more terrifying because they're in the water. A cobra, to me, equates to a harmless cow snake. A snake body, slithering through Lexington is, to date, my biggest foe. I believe in the power of St.Patrick, a tall pair of boots, and averting my eyes when walking to school.