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.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

This I Believe #6

Post them here before class on Tuesday!


  1. It all started one day when John and Tamera were outside looking over to their neighbor’s yard when they saw a cute little baby that couldn’t have been very old. Tamera asked John if they could please have just one more baby.
    I was that baby, I was the motive behind my best friend Annastasia being brought into this world. There have been days where I have wondered what would have happened had John and Tamera not looked over into my backyard and fell in love with me, with having another baby after the two children they already had. I am so grateful that they brought Annie into this world because we have been best friends for the whole twenty years that she has been alive.

    From laughing on purpose so that we could spit gingerale on each other (don’t ask, we were young and I don’t know why we did that,) to bringing Annie a PB&J and an ale8 when she hurt her leg playing soccer, the multiples times she has given me advice, all of the late night movies, the times she would cover for me when I would sneak out of the house, so many more things that we have done for one another over the past years.

    We are not only best friends but we are sisters. I am always welcome in her house. In fact, I am a member of that family. This past Christmas I was included in the family picture, Tamera even said that she wanted a picture with all three of her daughters. The Hicks family would do anything for me and vice versa.

    After twenty years with Annastasia we have had countless memories, the occasional fights, but most of all, we share an unconditional love for one another that can never be diminished. There is not one thing I would not do for that girl. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful person as my best friend, my sister, and as a support system. I believe in best friends, sisters.

  2. I believe in kings. And I believe in dragons.

    I believe in secret hoards of castle gold, and I believe in child armies sent to claim them.

    I believe in dark magic that we don’t fully understand, and I believe in tired wizards who always stay up late to try.

    I believe the times may have changed, but people have the same brains, the same needs, the same families, and same hopes, as the very first humans to lift an eyebrow and say: “huh, how interesting is it, to be alive?”

    The planet we walk on may look quite different than the one’s our dragon-fearing ancestors saw, however I believe these differences are skin deep. Window dressing. While their dragons were cloaked in wings and fire, ours are cloaked in cancer and CO2: Nevertheless terrifying, and nevertheless caused only by ourselves.

    I believe our kings are not our leaders, but they are no less in charge. They do not sit atop thrones (window dressing), but rather atop of every single Coke can ever sold, or Papa fucking Johns pizza baked in an oven, double topped with cheese made from slaves which a king and his people (and I do mean “he”) always will assume to be “lesser than” the most common folk. The color, the species, even the time that a slave may live in, too, is just window dressing.

    I believe such kings send magistrates to every corner of their castles – superbowl advertisements to make us laugh and feel reinforced, pizza delivery kids in their 2001 Honda Accords right to our doorstep, or sleek new soda machines that can add, thank god (also window dressing), lime flavor to our pop, right at dinnertime.

    I don’t believe to know which king to pledge my allegiance to. And I believe I am a turd for wishing ill on the royal ass of my hometown’s pizza company. But I believe people deserve better, and that I can fight with swords of very strange shapes (swords, of course, being window dressing too)

    I believe you don’t get to pick what you believe in – just how much you choose to believe in it.

  3. Ive been a ballerina since I was three years old. I fell in love with dancing the moment I saw the teacher do a pirouette. That was when I knew that I would become a ballerina. So I worked my butt off, at 7 I went on pointe. Which is not recommended till your around the age of 14, this is because your feet have typically finished forming. The importance of your feet being fully formed comes from the fact that to actually do pointe you have to literally break your feet. I did not wait. I broke my left foot when I was seven, and then competed on it, placing first in my competition. I broke my right foot at eight. I joined the elite competition team when I turned nine. Being the youngest girl to join the team I felt not only honored but also very loved. The older girls took me into their ranks and made me feel like a very important part of the team. As Ive aged Ive kept dancing and competing. Even when sick I still make myself dance. My body is giving up slowly, my hips and knees are messed up but I do not plan on stoping till my body gives out. I do not dance for anyone but myself. I do it as a way to express my feelings. I do it to feed my soul. Dancing is the one thing I can do that makes me happy. From when I was a little girl till now. It is also the only thing my mother really does with me. She loves to watch me dance, making sure she comes to all my competitions and supports me. My father loves to joke because ballerinas are typically associated with pink, but I really do not like pink. My favorite color is black. So he loves to call me his anti-ballerina. My solo songs were always more rock or alternative then classical which also sets me apart and fits me into my fathers idea of an anti-ballerina. But whither you call me a ballerina or an anti-ballerina I will always believe in three things; you count in eights, pointe your toes, and smile bright.

  4. I am not a morning person. To be honest, I’m not even a late morning person. I seem to thrive between the hours of eight pm and two am. Sadly the rest of the world does not like to stick to my schedule. However, there is one thing I like about being up early. There are those early moments in the day when classes haven’t started yet and no one has ventured out of their dorm. Campus is almost silent, the only noise coming from the cars passing by on the road. These are the moments I used to cherish. I would wake up extra early to study for a test, Organic Chemistry more than likely. I would get ready in the dark, not wanting to wake my roommate. I would leave my room, not really sure when my day would end and I would get to come back. The walk to Jazzman’s is peaceful. It’s before I have to starting thinking about formulas and equations and the endless writing assignments I have due. I rarely pass someone on my early morning walks. When I do, we share a smile or a head nod that’s more of a wish of good luck than anything else. It’s like we have an understanding that anyone up that early is going to need some encouragement. The silent solitude of walking alone in the morning is something that I miss. I don’t often wake up early enough to beat Erica and Marsha to Jazzman’s or to take my time walking the empty campus. I’m not sure what this makes me a believer of. But I know that when the fall comes around and I am no longer here, there are few things I will miss more than those few minutes on an silent campus while everyone else is still sleeping.

  5. Before I had it, I spent entire weekends grading student assignments at my computer, driving kids to and from archery, soccer, and swimming, or making Friday-night pizza in a kitchen just a bit larger than a bathroom stall. I thought very little about the number of steps that made up my footprint. Now I declare, “I need to take my fitbit for a walk,” as if it were a dog needing to spill pent up energy outdoors. It exults with pale blue joy for every 2,000 steps I take.

    Before I had it, I did not know the rewards of walking to Rite Aid to pick up a late-night gallon of 2% milk or to the local bakery to get a loaf of yesterday’s bread (today’s is too overpriced even for a bread lover like myself). Now I know that a trip to the bakery entails 3,370 steps (3,504 if I walk along the train tracks both ways), to Rite Aid 4,216, and that a walk around the block is the equivalent of 1,067 steps.

    Before I had it, I was convinced that I fell asleep the moment my head touched the pillow. Now I know my sleep effectiveness averages 97%, that 3 minutes pass before I fall asleep. So I go to bed focusing on these minutes, wondering what it is that happens before I fall asleep. I am yet to discover much of anything about the moments between wakefulness and sleep, but I have challenged a friend in a competition for effective sleeping.

    Before I had it, I did not look at others’ wrists, wondering if they, too, belong to the counting club. 3 blue lights by noon signal a day that will end with my fitbit declaring me a Champ! 2 lights at dinner time mark another weekend of too much snow, not enough blue light.

    I believe in my fitbit: an unyielding master, measuring steps, minutes, and lives.

  6. I believe in drawing. Ever since I was little, I have always loved drawing. I used to just think of it as something that I enjoyed doing and something that I could do to occupy my time when I was bored. I loved the fact that I could think of whatever I wanted to and draw it (or at least try to). When I was ten, my parents got me my first sketchbook and drawing pencils. They even got me a book that teaches you how to draw horses. I absolutely loved it. I used to sit in my room and try to follow the directions on each page trying to get the picture to look just right for whatever amount of time it would take me. I always tried to improve. In middle school I started taking art classes that were outside of school. These made me fall in love with drawing even more. I learned how to use different mediums and how to draw other things than what I had typically drawn. Unfortunately for me, I had to quit taking these classes when I moved at the end of my eighth grade year. Even though I moved, I still continued drawing on my own time or during some of my art classes in high school. It was at this time I started to consider it just more than something I did because I was bored. It has always been something I really loved doing and allowed me more expression than anything else. Drawing is something that I will always continue doing.

  7. It’s not shocking to me that a duo who have been together for 17 years won the United States’ first gold medal in ice dance. Meryl Davis and Charlie White have been in each others lives since they were 9 and 10 years old respectively. I’m unsure of when they first thought about the Olympics, but to see a dream come true after such a loyal commitment to a sport is nothing short of inspiring.
    I’ve seen videos of them from their younger years. In their first competition as a pair Meryl was not able to look Charlie in the eye because she was embarrassed to be holding a boys hand. While they were able to skate clean routines at this very young age, their chemistry was certainly a work in progress. You can see their artistry progress though as they advanced from the junior level to senior level of competition, each routine including more complex lifts and their step sequences becoming more and more precise. To perfect each element of the performance requires a great amount of trust and natural perception of rhythm of one’s partner. This can only be developed over time, which Meryl and Charlie have had plenty of.
    While I’ve never seen them fall in performance, I’m sure there were many spills in practice causing skin to bruise over after crashing into their cold hard stage. There was a broken wrist that Charlie procured from a bout of Ice Hockey, but beyond that minor set back nothing has held them down. They keep rising together surpassing teams from all over the world. After each performance you can see that they feel blessed to be in the moment together. You can see that the journey to their destination of Gold is what makes the Gold so sweet for them.
    I believe in Meryl and Charlie because of their journey, friendship and undying faith that dreams can become a reality.

  8. Morning dark repeats
    Coffee smells enter my dreams
    As I wake, again

    In the morning, there is no time to linger. There is time to turn the coffee on, rouse the kids to extract breakfast preferences, make breakfast, wake kids again, and make lunch for ice-fortified lunch boxes. Every minute is spoken for.

    Red apple, green knife
    Sharp blade rips the core open
    Lunch served, no napkins

    In the afternoon, meetings outnumber the cups of coffee my body holds. After the third latte, my insides ache. I’ve spent a lifetime ingesting coffee. Meanwhile, questions triple. My best efforts at problem solving fall short. Shipping 151,000 pony beads from Florida tilts the balance. The owls, at least, are beautiful.

    Though no bird song stopped
    While he was getting his first
    Our hearts did—briefly

    In the spring, hearts and tattoos make a circle of love. Or so I tell willing listeners. I feel slightly embarrassed to state the obvious, but the questions keep returning. At times, I count syllables. Mostly, I write short emails to spur others into action. Shall we weld on Wednesday?

    Cross-legged at night
    I grow tired and I head
    Walking in the dark

    Nothing like a haiku to close a day that was tightfisted with broken minutes of grace. Good night. I believe in haikus: syllables of beauty squeezed tight in soft crevices. Good night.

  9. She held herself with dignity, and spoke with the sort of clarity that you could find in a fine diamond. In her eyes, you could see enough love to make all the children in the world happy. She had a strange talent of listening quietly to anyone who needed a shoulder to lean on, and an extraordinary way of being able to speak the loudest with her thoughtful silence.
    One day, we went shopping together when I was about six years old. All I remember is this beautiful red and yellow lunch box, with little black Scotty dogs on it. I fell in love instantly, a fact I made obvious to everyone in my family. I would hint and hint, basically begging for the lunch box. Every time my granny asked if I wanted to go grocery shopping with her, I would jump at the chance, just because I knew that I would be able to see the object that I desired most. We went four or five times before, poof! The lunch box was gone, and my heart broke a hundred times over. I cried to my grandma and told her life wasn’t fair, but she comforted me by saying that God has a way of taking care of everything, and that good things come to those who wait patiently and kindly. Eventually, I agreed with her, and when she brought me home, she said she had a surprise for me. She emerged carrying the yellow and red Scotty dog lunch box AND the matching thermos, perfect with a bow on it and complete with a big smile on her face. She had it the whole time, but she always had a way of helping me to understand the more important lessons in life.
    I believe in lunchboxes. I believe in hidden surprises. I believe in life lessons taught only by someone who knows you well enough to understand that the best lessons are taught by love. I believe in my granny, and I believe I’ll see her again someday, just not today.

    In loving memory of Marjorie Faye Shivel; a grandmother to the lucky, a servant to all, and a helping hand to the world.

  10. How much information do we know? How much of it is correct? Where did we read certain information and how will we know if it is true? As my education continues and my knowledge keeps on growing I have learned to question everything that is said and never believe it right away. I remember being a child-- I think we all might remember being children-- but I remember believing everything that I was told and end of story simply because I did not know any better. But it seems as though many people grow up, they still believe in many things that they see, read, or hear. Many Americans choose to live day in and day out believing things that others say. Sometimes it is not our fault because people we should trust to say and do the right things often do not, which is why we should take matters into our own hands and not rely on others to provide us with the truth. History is full of facts from any period of time, we read textbooks and because the teacher has a degree in history and the cover “looks” very professional and everyone in the entire school has the same book, it is obvious that these books provide the correct information. Well when I got to my senior year of high school I was introduced to the book that is called “Lies My Teacher Told Me” by James W. Loewen. He has written this book because he found that textbooks were misinforming students and were basically hiding stories and telling lies. It is fine to be skeptical and that I am hoping many people are because that is what I want us to do. We all should question the things we read or know and tell if they are true or not. One big thing that I recently found was that recycling is not what you think it is. Many people think that it saves the environment but in reality making new materials out of recycled materials takes up more energy than making a new one. This is only a small part of it and there is a great video you can search on YouTube that is titled: Penn and Teller recycling. There are so many things in society that I believe are untrue but for now not sum up, I just believe that people should be skeptical about things they hear or read and research to see if it is true or not. But like LeVar Burton says, “you don’t have to take my word for it.”

  11. Every couple of months or so, I convince myself that I can become someone who is outgoing, charming, and social. Someone who shows up to events and parties--does not stand in the back with arms crossed--and starts conversations with strangers. After thinking this, I decide to try being social. I say a few more “good mornings” than I normally would, I stop a couple times to make small talk, and I put myself in situations where I might run into more people.

    This usually lasts about thirtysix hours.

    After these spells, I am left exhausted and in need of a mini-vacation consisting of a book, a pot of tea, and several hours of hiding from most social interaction. I am eventually drawn from my hiding place, usually because of an approaching meal, and continue on as my normal self. This means, I say “good morning” to friends and friendly acquaintances and just give a smile to all other people. I do not make small talk or find myself in situations where talking might be a necessary evil. Instead, I go for walks by myself, read in my favorite reading spot on campus, or hang out with a couple of good friends in one of our dorms.

    When I have recovered from my time being social, I try to decide whether or not I should ever try to always be a social butterfly and my conclusion is usually that I should try to be friendly and open more often, but I will never want to permanently be daring, exciting, and talkative. I believe in being that way some of the time because it gives you opportunity to learn from new people and feel like part of the ‘normal’ crowd. But I also believe in sitting in the back corner of a room while a party is going, letting others be the social extroverts.

  12. At the age of 4, something happened in my life that I did not yet know the implications of at such a young age. I had a little brother for only a day before he passed away. Just recently did I decide to ask my mom the details of the situation. Maybe the reason I waited around this long to ask was because I was fearful she would break down; while actually, it was the other way around.

    She began by telling me that his little body began to retain fluid right around 8 months. He began drowning in his own fluid in his kidneys, lungs, and then his brain. She told me that one morning she woke up and told my dad to take her to the doctor right away because although she couldn’t explain it, she knew something wasn’t right. She had felt him move just the day before. Sure enough after the doctor examined her, my soon to be little brother Spencer was in what she referred to as distress. The doctor gave her two options. Those were to either do nothing and let nature happen, or she could stay overnight to allow them to watch her closely and do a C-section the next morning. She chose the second option. However, during the night his fluid began to put her body in danger. They came in during the night and inserted hypodermic needles into her stomach several times to withdraw the fluid. The next morning the doctor decided they had to do an emergency C-section. She told me she was able to hold him in her arms before he died. He was beautiful, she said. A little round face with lots of dark, brown hair.

    I believe in my mother’s courage. I believe in her courage when she chose to continue through with the C-section. I believe in her courage when she chose to have another child at the age of 42 who could not have been born healthier. Without her bravery and persistence, I would have a great piece missing from my life, that is my little sister.

  13. Yesterday, I told my mom that I had officially stepped down from a position in my sorority. While the reasons I stepped down were tied to financial confusion and a few personal issues going on in life, I felt a sense of relief when I stepped down. I told her it was weird to not be in a leadership position and then told her that I hadn’t not been in a leadership position, in almost all of my organizations, since about 7th grade. And then it hit me—since seventh grade I had pursued leadership opportunities as if they were a required part of my life. Don’t get me wrong—I value all of these opportunities, they have undoubtedly aided me in getting where I am today. I’ve been pushed by others to step up into roles that I wasn’t always prepared for—sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I fell down. Being some form of a leader has dominated my social and academic life for a major part of my life, yet I still feel the need to pursue more leadership opportunities. But the thought of just being a member, an active member nonetheless, is a new concept that I’ll have to learn how to manage.

    Up until yesterday I would’ve had a different opinion, but today I can say that I believe in taking break. Stepping down from what you’ve always pursued and looking at things from a different angle in something that everybody should push on themselves occasionally. I believe that there is a time for everyone to be a leader and a time for everyone to be just a member. While being “just a member” may seem like a step down to me I know that it is simply my time to be the foundation of my organization. I have to remind myself that I can be leader without a title, that I can pursue more opportunities without one leadership position, and that it’s completely acceptable to believe in taking a break.

  14. I believe in the phrase “a little dab will do you.” It’s the idea that a small portion is enough. You don’t need to overdue it. Well that is my definition anyway. I try to remember this when doing anything. If I’m playing video games I try not to play to long. It’s easy to get sucked in. I once spent six hours playing Skyrim. I can never get those hours back. There are so many important things I could have been doing at the time. However that is not what I was thinking about while made my travels in this game. You only notice when you finally put the controller down and look at the time. The sun was out when you started and now it’s hidden away. Your friends left two hours ago to do that thing you wanted to do. You know that one thing. Your homework and laundry haven’t even been glanced at till now. The only thing you’ve accomplished is taking down the evil dragon Alduin in a virtual world. A virtual world that has no effect on your real one. You might say that doing that once of twice is no big deal. You could be right, but you don’t know that. The next time you play your game you should try or set a goal of a stopping point whether that be with a timer or specific quest completion in the game. If you don’t you’ll just keep playing. Pretty soon you’ll have the game beat and every piece of hidden content discovered. You say that’s no big deal until you’ve realized years have passed and now you’re old. Your family is dead and the galactic war has destroyed all plant life. You now have to adapt to your new environment and learn how to survive. It’s very reminiscent of the game fallout, but despite what you may think that hasn’t prepared you at all. You slowly go crazy and mutate into a horrible zombie like creature forever roaming the lands. There is a lot of holes to that story and a lot I didn’t take into consideration like how you didn’t die of starvation while you were playing. Not to mention there isn’t a game that last that long…yet. Still you should limit your time and not get so sucked into the game. It will leave more for you to discover the next day. This leaves more time to spend with your friends and be productive. Plus someone else might want to play for a change.

  15. I have always loved music, of all different kinds. Of course, I listened to the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC; along with other artists such as Miles Davis, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Everywhere I went, someone else was playing a whole new type of music for me to listen to, and I loved it all.
    At Gallatin County high school, where my family lives, we would always go down to see the kids play bluegrass instruments. In ballet class, “Moonlight Sonata” always played for our warmups. My grandfather had many tapes of recordings from the 50s of singers such as Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis. My father always played “Celluloid Heroes” by the Kinks in his truck when he had to drive me somewhere. My mom had the George Jones CD on repeat in her car. Every new genre gave me something new to experience.
    Music has always been a positive influence on my life. Whenever I needed something to take my mind off of day-to-day stress, music lessons, band, and choir are able to help me relax. They help me focus on something that is a positive influence in my life. I can put all of my focus into the art and what comes from it is a beautiful thing. Even just listening to a good song can bring me out of any mood to enjoy a moment of happiness at what beauty life can hold.
    The concert Saturday evening was one of the greatest concerts I had ever gone to. After having weeks of stress being thrown at me every minute, it was nice to just sit down and listened to the soothing tones of a cello. Ben Sollee, with his his blues vocals and incredible lyrical abilities understands where the important things in life remain. His lyrics always bring me back to the center of reality, where I come from, and where I hope to grow as a person.