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.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

This I Believe #3

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  1. This I Believe

    I believe in a sickness of the mind
    that starts with the words of another
    and ends with the decaying of your body
    A sickness that nags and never sleeps
    It talks to you,
    whispers words
    Words that break
    Words that kill
    I believe in a sickness that starts with
    I am less than,
    that moves on to I can not walk right,
    I can not eat right
    moves on to I can not even breath right.
    Everything I do is wrong
    And it tells you,
    The voice along with the others,
    The other children at school
    All making sure you remember
    That you don't forget
    That you are less
    You are fat
    a waste of space
    Until you believe them
    Until you know they are right
    So you find the blades,
    the blades that silence the voice in your head
    that takes all the control of the pain and puts in your own hands
    But then
    then its not enough
    next comes the rope
    the bleach
    the pills that aren't yours
    the bathtub full of water
    next comes death
    But sometimes death doesn't even want you
    Then comes the talking
    But I believe in a sickness of the mind that cannot be healed by talking
    This sickness it cannot be killed
    Simply silenced for periods of time
    silenced by the pills
    For I believe in a sickness
    A sickness that eats you alive
    That never dies
    simply sleeps
    I believe in depression

  2. I believe in homes. Not houses or shelters, but actual homes.

    For twelve years I’ve memorized the roads of my Michigan home. Turn right on Lippincott, right on Highland, and follow the hill down to South Shore. Wind around a couple corners and you’ll hit my house. For the last four years I’ve spend my time dreading these roads, hating my high school, and the loathing the lack of opportunities that my town provided. I will never understand how so many people can stay in one town for their entire lives—never venturing out with the rare exception of a concert in the next county over.

    So when going to university out of state became a possibility I jumped on it. I no longer despised those roads back home as much as I once did—they just became the pathway to my parents and cats. I no longer hated the town as much either—I had escaped and quite honestly I had (and still have) cut off most ties that I had to that town. I was content with my distance from my town—until my parents upped and moved to Florida. Quickly we packed up and moved twelve years of our belonging to our new residence in Florida. But to me that’s exactly what it is—a residence, not my home.

    My home is at 3545 South Shore Drive. Even if we don’t own it, even if I’ve spent the last four years loathing it, even if I abandoned it for Kentucky. That house, even if I can still tell you where I sat for many bad memories (and you know, the occasional good ones) is where my home is. I still picture myself going there for breaks and I still imagine one day showing my kids where their mom grew up with grandma and grandpa.

    They always say home is where the heart is, but I’m not sure I buy it. My heart is here, in Kentucky, exploring a new place that I wouldn’t mind making another home in. My heart will never be back in Michigan, but my home will always be there. I believe in homes for the lives they create, the memories they hold, and their ability to make a 19 year old college student realize that you’re not always ready to grow up and leave home.

  3. I believe in music. I love music so very much, it keeps me sane. There are only a few hours out of the day that I am not listening to my jams. All of my friends will tell you that music is my thing. I love to listen to music through my headphones, my stereo system in my car, my big radio in my room, my laptop, honestly I do not care where it comes from. I tend to sing and dance along with the music just because that is what I do. There are probably some people out there who have featured me in their Vine video titled, “crazy girl dancing while driving” or something along those lines. One of my friends called me a jukebox because I literally knew all of the songs that were playing while we were hanging out. But what can I say? I love me some music.

    Not only do I love music but I love the bass that comes with music, hence why I have a bumpin’ stereo system in my car. Everybody knows when Jacqueline is outside of the house, coming through back circle, or wherever I happen to be driving because I am always jammin’ to my music with my bass blaring. My favorite time to listen to music is when I am driving my car on back roads with the windows down and music up loud during the summertime. Those are the best times. I can be with friends or be alone and I am completely content because music is my therapy. Whenever I am stressed or just need to get away, I always resort to a car ride filled with music that will help me get out of whatever funk I am going through.

    It is amazing how much music soothes me. I love music and I think everyone should have at least a little in their daily life. I believe in music.

  4. I have never watched a television series for it’s entire run. When I first began to watch Grey’s Anatomy I thought that would change, but I became uninterested after McDreamy and Meredith finally ended up together. When I saw the first few episodes of The Big Bang Theory I thought the same thing. Sheldon’s catch phrase Bazinga captured my heart and Leonard’s awkward interactions with Penny were priceless, but alas I lost interest yet again. Not only could I not seem to be interested in a television show, but I even made fun of those people who were obsessed with them an had their nights of television planned out.

    For example, Ellen’s TV schedule for Tuesday looks like this:

    8pm Pretty Little Liars
    9pm Dance Moms
    10pm Kim of Queens
    11pm Are You The One?

    I laugh at her for it. Out of love of course. I now join in on the 11pm show.

    But, what’s even more astonishing is that I started keeping up with a new show on my own. Ellen actually understands my obsession with it as she watched the first season over Christmas. Most people just laugh at me though. I’m way behind the trend-o-meter on this one. I honestly wish I would’ve hopped on the band wagon ages ago when a friend watched it religiously in New York. Then at least I could have someone gawk with me as I watch the drama unfold. I watched the first season of this show, all 17 episodes in a little over 24 hours, each episode lasting 45 minutes. I’ve never been so dedicated before. While I have heard the second season sends it all down hill.. I have faith that I can still remain loyal to Serena, Dan, Blair, Chuck, Nate and Jenny all the way to the end.

    I believe I have a problem
    I believe I love watching Gossip Girl

  5. I’m in the middle of a room packed with over a thousand other people that I don’t know. Almost everyone around me is too close for comfort, but I know moving around will only make it worse. So I stand there waiting, shifting back and forth from foot to foot. Suddenly the lights dim, the chatter of the people around me turns into screams of excitement, and the colored lights of the stage illuminate. The band walks onto the stage to even more excited yelling. And then it begins. The bass and drums come out of the speakers so loud that it vibrates into the deepest part of your chest. It’s almost suffocating, but then it isn’t. Then you are jumping up and down, throwing your hands in the air, and screaming the lyrics to your favorite songs at the top of your lungs. And the best part is you aren’t alone. Everyone else in the room is flailing around too and they don’t care. They don’t care if you sing on key or if you mess up the words. For that few hours you check your worries at the door.

    If there is one thing I hear over and over it would have to be “You go to a lot of concerts”. This statement is after all very accurate. Last year alone I went to twelve concerts, including a two-day concert festival. Which is probably twice as many concerts as some people will go to in their entire lives. Some people don’t get it. They don’t understand why I want to spend so many of my Saturdays driving just to spend a few hours listening to a band play, my mom being one of them. But to me, it is just something you can’t explain. When you walk through the door of a concert venue, it’s like everything else that you have going on just disappears. You don’t have to worry about school or deadlines or the argument that your friends got into earlier. It’s just you, the band, and a couple thousand of your closest friends. Music is such a powerful thing. It can rip you apart and put you back together again. It brings people together in the best way.

    I believe in driving five hours to a show on the Wednesday night before a test. I believe in waiting in line for six hours to be on the front row. I believe in screaming until you lose your voice. I believe in music and I believe in concerts.

  6. I do love my coffee shop.

    Both the colorful décor and the casual insanity demonstrated by my friends who pour me coffee – no room for cream – offer to briefly dilute my strange interpersonal communication routine: parts of my personality I feel I must generally suppress.

    They make me feel at home.

    While sitting at the bar inside 3rd Street Stuff this past weekend, I befriended a complete stranger: someone who I share little (if anything) in common with – yet someone who also recognizes the ironic calmness of the atmosphere. We drank coffees next to each other for the better part of 3 hours, although talking little. I was busy attending to the utter comedy that is my homework+jobwork, and he, attending to the baristas on duty, referring to them frequently as his “girlfriends.”

    They did not mind this teasing however, as he was a usual – a server of his own brand of casual insanity.

    He introduced himself as Barry. Barry was an elderly and eye-patched man who leaned against the counter the way one might expect someone who just finished a run to be leaning on a tree – tired, but fully aware of why he was tired. This isn’t to say he was out of breath or in any manner frantic; on the contrary, Barry made every move with smooth deliberation.

    He was goofy too. During our time together he explained to me that the deer antler on his key-ring was for defense rather than luck, where to go in town to hear “real blues” and dropped various (entirely unrelated and clearly falsified) hints to how he might have lost his right eye; making one think that he and the joker had just shared drinks and talked about “where he got those scars.”

    I believe in Barry.

    And in the face of the 50+ years separating our experience I also believe we could continue being bar-buddies.

    However, after several comments from Barry reminiscent of the old “kids these days” adage, I began to see the valley between he and I. I listened as he condemned various Transy students (who to him were just average passersby) that came in across the room with their heads down in their phones. “Always with their faces in a screen,” he would say. “All the knowledge in the world at their fingertips but never a look up to apply it”

    I believe the eye-patched man named Barry and I are unfairly and unavoidably driven apart: due to the obligations from my homework+jobwork I must carry on amongst those with their heads in their phones, and he, with his lifetime of experiences - evident on the way his crooked and wrinkled hands bent - had no choice but to feel the way he did about us.

    And I believe that is a pity.

    But I’m glad to have had those few short hours as his friend that I did – even if it was brought about by small servings of casual insanity.

  7. It was June 5, 1997 when Lansden Hill Jr, drove thin roads through the Cumberland Mountains to visit the homes of his employees Tim Petree, 22, and Allison Hale, 19.

    Allison, one of the two people who started working for Hill four days earlier, met her Uncle James at the gas station that same morning. Though her uncle knew Allison took the summer job to scrape up the money she needed to finish college, he asked her not to return to work that day. He said the warehouse job was too dangerous for a young woman.

    Tim, who had worked summers at this warehouse since the company was crowned Grand Champion of the First North American Fireworks Competition in 1993, also had a very specific goal for his earnings, they would pay for his wedding to Allison. The two had just become engaged.

    The steeple at Midway Baptist Church, about 200 yards from the warehouse, was knocked askew by the concussion blast from the explosion that killed Allison, Tim, and two other employees. Lansden Hill Jr, who started his company 28 years earlier while still in high school, drove thin roads to grieve these losses with his neighbors.

    In 1986, eleven years prior to the warehouse explosion, Jim Cole built a 36 foot-tall dragon named George from rebar and fiberglass for his good friend Lansden Hill Jr. With pitifully small front legs and even smaller wings, the green dragon waves joyfully at traffic on Interstate 75. A roadside advertisement for the retailer Thunder Mountain Fireworks, George stood seven miles to the east of the warehouse where Allison and Tim worked to save summer money for college and for their wedding.

    Fourteen years after Lansden Hill Jr mourned the loss of four employees, at 2:30 in the morning on June 1, 2011, Thunder Mountain exploded. Though over a hundred people were evacuated from a motel and an apartment building nearby and Interstate 75 was shut down while over 50 firefighters from 6 departments waged a three-hour battle to stop the blaze beside the dragon, not a single person was hurt and neighbors woke to see their night sky bloom with the lights of Independence Day a full month early. George, kept cool that summer night with a constant spray of water, stood unharmed near the scorched and skeletal remains of the store he once advertised.

    Standing there still, though Thunder Mountain has been replaced by a Dollar General and though there are holes broken throughout his long tail, I believe that George is the monument that many need, a monument to the memories of people lost to dangerous magic. Yesterday, when I visited to photograph my hand against his much much larger bright yellow toenail, I found (half-covered in snow) a bridal bouquet at his feet.

  8. Seventeen years after coming to America, I still feel uneasy when the question “How are you?” strikes at me with no expectation for an answer.

    There are few things that make me uneasy in America. I feel awkward when I report the
    guy who continues to text on the late-night flight from Charlotte to Lexington, even after the flight attendant has asked that all electronic devices be turned off. I know our regional jet is not likely to be a terrorist target, yet I follow my civic duty and press the flight-attendant call button.

    It took me a while to believe that a question with so much potential for good conversation was often meant to be something else—my first American roommate’s cheerful greeting at the end of each weekend at home, my academic adviser’s ice-breaker whenever I needed advice, my co-workers’ distracted nod in the school cafeteria where I managed the salad bar. In my first months in America, I worried that someone would ask me how I was. Each time it happened, my gratitude that I had been noticed quickly gave way to anxiety that I would have to remain silent.

    I also feel awkward when I inform my friend’s husband that wearing barrettes doesn’t
    make a 3-year-old boy unfit for life in a society built on male privilege. Thankfully, the husband, too, has a PhD or else I would, without a doubt, be discredited as a disturbed academic.

    During my first trip back to Bulgaria, I asked our first-floor neighbor how she was. The dreaded phrase slipped out before I had had a chance to consider the cultural context. She told me she was not doing well. Her aunt had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was awaiting surgery. Her older daughter had just left for Germany to work illegally at a bar. One of her cats had gotten lost; another was hit by a drunk driver a few days earlier. Her list of disasters was endless and I regretted asking the question with the expectations of an American.

    Seventeen years after coming to America, I believe in asking questions that require an answer. Why do your parents discuss death with you over pecan waffles with maple syrup? Please tell me how you feel.

  9. The snow glistened to brightly for me to resist trying to build a snowman. I had build snowpeople by myself--spending far too much time rolling heavy, white globes up and down hills--but I was accustomed to having companions doing the work with me. Snow days always ended with three snowpeople in a row, two sisters with a brother in the middle. Part of me did not want to enjoy the snow, as if by doing so I was betraying my siblings. Despite my best efforts to resist, I found myself in the park.

    The squirrels and I were the only ones there when I began my work, but as I was placing misshapen head on top of the torso, a man came out of a small building for his smoke break. He was far enough away that I could barely hear him when he said, “Wow. That makes it worth it.” I almost said thank you, but feared the small talk and conversation that inevitable occurs when one is with another human being for very long. I pretended not to notice the stranger, but when he began to address me directly, I knew that there was no escape from talking.

    Lucky for me, this man was a better speaker than I was, and he lead the conversation from fifteen yards away. He told me about his childhood dream of being adopted into an Indian family and marrying beautiful Indian woman. He said that he was a crude man with morals and ideals of a knight. He had just started on something about past lives when the wind picked up and stole his words; he finished talking as the wind died down and I tied my scarf around the faceless snowperson. The stranger thanked me for making his day and continued admiring the snowperson as I left in search of limbs and things to use for a smile.

    I returned later with a complete set of facial features and two skinny arms. My snowperson was getting some excited attention from middle-aged dog walkers with their Pedigree purebreds. I was surprised, but pleased, that so many were getting joy from my lopsided snowperson. For the day, at least, I believed that a little bit of snow could bring happiness to even to those who have outgrown playing in the snow.

  10. I believe in truly equal protection. Something that all schools try to promise to their students and will say that they do so to the parents of future students. At my high school, they had zero-tolerance for bullying; the signs were posted everywhere within the halls proclaiming this belief that everyone deserved to be treated with respect. However, sometimes their idea of who is being bullied can change in certain circumstances.
    Mitchell Herweh was a junior at Ryle High School in the year 2012. Just two years earlier, he had came out to his friends and, eventually, the whole school about being gay. The community as a whole judged him for his “unnatural” and “sinful” choices, but it didn’t matter to him because he had the support of his friends. Even through the multiple times of being threatened and bullied by a few students, Mitchell remained strong and proud for who he was and what he had to support him.
    It was spring time when the news traveled on social media sites about the car accident of a Ryle High school student that almost led to his death. Mitchell Herweh was traveling from school to home, on his usual route, going about 55 m/h. Students Travis Elliot and Tyler Scott, both sports legends at the high school, were following behind him. They surrounded his car from the side and from behind and forced him to increase speed to above 70. Mitchell lost control of his car in panic and flipped off the road into the grass area to the side. His car was totaled, Mitchell was knocked unconscious with multiple bruises covering his legs, arms, and chest area, and his seatbelt had cut into his shoulder where it had tried to impact the force. Many people had witnessed the incident and stopped by to help out and give the police reports. Some students had even witnessed the bullying happening in school and knew that those two students had constantly tortured Mitchell. However, when it came time for the criminals to be convicted, nothing could be written up. They were charged with nothing.
    The reason for this was because they were prides to our school with their athletic abilities. They were the ones who scored a majority of the points, were interviewed on television for their defeats, and given scholarships to perform at the university level. The football and basketball coaches stated themselves that they didn’t see any problem with the situation because their players had done nothing wrong.
    In school the next day, the teachers ignored the student’s comments. Nothing was said by the faculty to the students on how to deal with the situations. And when students, such as myself, decided to wear t-shirts with pictures of the incident and “Zero tolerance” written on them, those students were taken into the main office and handed detention slips. Travis and Tyler played the victim, saying that they were being falsely accused by the media of the incident despite the witnesses reports. The school protected the bullies, rather than keep to their promise and protect the student who was now lying in a hospital bed waiting for surgery to be done to his shoulder. Even today, the school still has not faced the issue, yet continues to demonstrate their “zero tolerance” policy.

  11. Technology is seen everywhere today throughout the world. It seems to be an absolute necessity nowadays for every modern human. Thinking way back in time to when the wheel was first invented, humans have definitely made major improvements in creating gadgets and other objects to help us in our lives. Back then modern technologies might have been thought as a new bow and arrow, or a well built carriage. Slowly as time progressed, engineers have designed water wells, bridges and many other things. Once you begin to observe the objects and the world around you, you begin to realize the many technologies that have been developed, created, and improved to that particular thing that you now see in front of you. Guns at first had to be fired one bullet at a time and now, it is insane to see the different types of guns that have been created and how much bullets they can fire per second. Cars have gone from using coal to being fully electric. Almost everybody now has a cellphone or a smartphone, and thanks to technology it has has revolutionized the way we humans live our lives. People back then could probably live weeks or months without talking to someone, and now more than ever, people depend on their phones to constantly be in the loop of things. Their phones assure them that they have not missed a single event or call or text from any one of their friends. It allows them to stay updated with the world and also provides entertainment when bored. I think it is great what the human race has accomplished. All of these technologies have “improved” our lives and if it weren’t for these technologies our lives would be miserable…(sarcasm) I do believe that the invention of these technologies has created positive outcomes to the population, but I also believe that our world is slowly becoming blind because it wants to replace everything that is natural and make it technological somehow. Technology is harming humans and the outside world because it is making many lazier and instead of it actually keeping us informed about the world, many are only informed about what is happening in the social media. I definitely believe in progress but I hope that our world progresses in the right direction.

  12. I believe that dryers eat socks. I believe this because I as have now probably lost 20 pairs to it. I keep buying new socks only for them to never remerge from my dryer. The washer doesn’t take my socks just the dryer. When I change a load of clothes over to my dryer I can assure you they are still there. This dyer takes any kind of sock; long ones, short ones, thin ones, and fuzzy ones. It doesn’t take my stocking however or any kind of nylon for that matter. Just my regular old socks that I need to keep my feet warm in this horrible cold weather. The dryer does not eat all my socks at once. It leaves a few here and there. Most of them without their matching pair. I don’t buy any fancy socks with cool designs on them in fear of losing one of them to this dreaded machine. I’m not sure if this is some sort of sacred exchange for drying my clothes. Of course that being said I’m glad it only takes socks and not my other clothes. In all seriousness I can figure out wear the dryer is storing said socks. Surely there would be some sort of build up and the dryer would explode or catch fire (I was once told that would happen if I didn’t clean the lint catcher). Maybe there is a vortex to another demotion hidden away in there. I am sure this isn’t the case, but I thought I throw it out there. I am not a mechanic or a scientist. However I suppose this is just another one of the great mysteries of the world. I believe that dryers eat socks.

    1. Kris, this is such a funny and fun This I Believe essay. And I love that at the end you say that you are not a mechanic or a scientist--as if we are wondering about that :)

  13. At least twice a month, you’ll be sure to find me in Panera. Not the one on Nicholasville road. It gets way too crowded and doesn’t have the space on the far side in the back of the restaurant that I like. The Panera on Richmond road is where I go to get away from eating in the cafeteria, to catch up with friends, drink coffee, do homework, all while getting out of the transy bubble. My order never changes. I always get the grilled chicken caesar salad, whole-wheat baguette, and water to drink (but you always have to ask for a cup or they’ll make you use the cup that’s so small it’s gone in about five sips.) After I finish eating, about ten minutes into studying do I realize there is no way I can study any longer without a dark roast, coffee with skim milk and cinnamon. I’m sure I would be able to keep going, it’s just something about that coffee that makes my time spent there with friends off campus that much more enjoyable.

    During my visits that last hours long (my personal record is six hours), there is much more happening than just studying and papers being written. The friendships and bonds I make with the friends that join me are just as important, if not more. I always try to bring someone along with me that I’ve never brought before in order to make new memories and strengthen our friendship.

    I believe in the simple pleasures of life outside the transy bubble. More importantly, I believe that friendships don’t last on their own, but an effort is required to maintain them. I guess you could say trips to Panera are one of the many ways I enjoy to keep these friendships strong.

  14. I really enjoyed reading this essay. You have me totally convinced that I should go to Panera with a friend :)

  15. First it happened every four years. Now, it happens every eight. Soon, it won't happen at all. Late nights and constant worrying are part of my family's everyday life for 11 months of the year during this time. My dad runs himself down until he's lost 20 pounds and over $100,000, like in 2007. A lot of you are probably thinking he has some sort of gambling addiction or something, but no, the years I'm talking about are election years. The years that my dad, my sister, and I have depended on since 1993 when he first won his place as the District Judge of Laurel and Knox counties. I was born exactly 20 years ago from tomorrow. A month that holds near and dear to my family's heart for not only one reason. The month I was born was the month my dad was first sworn into his elected position. Since then, we've ran countless elections and won each and every one of them. I believe I'm the 5 hour energy drinks that my dad has to consume multiple times a day during election years to keep himself going. I believe in his determination to provide for me and my sister. I believe that my dad is superman.