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 12, 2014

This I Believe #9

Hope everyone is having a relaxing spring break!
Essays are due before class on March 18th!


  1. I had never heard of the holiday Baba Marta until three years ago when I was given my first yarn bracelet. It was made of red and white string and decorated with a mass of colorful yarn clumped together to resemble a flower. Baba Marta is a Bulgarian holiday that celebrates the beginning of spring. When you see a tree blossom you are to tie your bracelet to the branch. If you see a stork first you are to bury the bracelet beneath a rock. I’ve never seen a stork in Kentucky so I always tie my bracelet to a tree. The past two years my bracelet has found it’s home on a magnolia tree at my grandparents home. The tree has a tendency to bloom early each year. While I do not intend claim this holiday as my own in the same way as those who grew up with it, it has acquired a special meaning.
    Over the past years two women have stepped into my life who have been nothing but perfect role models. They have shown me the patience and kindness that I honestly don’t feel deserving of. Each of them celebrate this holiday. Spring is a time of change and growth, the green and lush. However, none of this could be possible without a solid foundation. These women have provided me with the ground for my own growth and development throughout my college career and I’m incredibly grateful for them both. I remember Baba Marta as a time for new chances and opportunity. I remember Baba Marta as a time for personal reflection and revision. I remember my foundation and by doing so I believe that I can always blossom.

    1. You can! And I will send you a Baba Marta every year, provided you give me your address. By the way, Baba Marta is now your holiday too :)

  2. I believe in the person behind the crime.

    This past week news broke in my hometown that my former cross country coach had committed a terrible crime. It was shocking for everyone who shopped at his running store, but I think his first team of runners at my high school was particularly effected. This was the man, one of few, who actually knew how to coach, how to create a true team, and how to create greatness. For me, this coach created the first team I had been a part of. He taught me the ways of running, pushed me when I wanted to quit, and gave me confidence in more than just sports. It didn’t matter to him that I wasn’t the fastest and was never going to be—what mattered to him was that I do my best.

    This is the coach that every single time I run I think of him correcting my form the very first times I ran with him. And even though I didn’t stick with cross country, this coach didn’t give up on me. While he razzed me along with the entire team about being a quitter, Dustin always had advice on which running shoes to buy and what races to run. I’ll never be able to convey the confidence that one award he gave me in 2008 continues to give me to this day.

    And before I let your minds wander too far of what crime he committed I’ll straight up tell you. My old coach robbed a local bank at gunpoint and escaped on a stolen snowmobile. I should also add that since no one was injured, I probably have a different outtake than had it turned out differently.

    So what do you do--when an amazing, influential person commits a terrible crime that seemingly has no explanation—what do you think of him?

    I choose to believe in him. I’m not taking away the blame or saying it is forgivable since he was a positive influence on my life. But I believe in him. That even one crime cannot erase the influence he has had on my life, my sister’s life and my closest friend's life. I now understand how families and friends of criminals preach about how great the person was and the influence they had on others. For one act, no matter how terrible, has the power to change the future, it has no influence on the past.

    While I can’t change his recent actions, I can value, act on, and believe in the influence my coach had on me four years ago. I believe that despite the issues now plaguing his life, the man behind the crime, is worth believing in.

  3. It’s the dreaded Sunday after spring break and that means it’s time to start getting ready for classes again. After having no other option but to stay in bed with ice packs on my cheeks for the majority of my spring break, I wasn’t quite ready to leave and abandon the idea of laying around and enjoying my families company. I’d known for the past few days the weather in Lexington was not going to be optimal for travel and unpacking with a 90% of rain and cold temperatures. However, after checking the hourly forecast and noticing that it would not be reaching freezing temperatures until later in the night, I made plans to leave London by 7:00 since I assumed that would leave plenty of time to make it to Lexington safely. I was wrong.

    Whenever I left London at 7:00 it was barely sprinkling with temperatures in the upper 30’s. By the time I got to Berea, ice was hitting my windshield and I was beginning to feel a little nervous. Maybe only 5 minutes later, traffic began to slow down to around 30 mph. The ice was frozen to my windshield and visibility was practically gone. Cars began pulling over into the emergency lanes to park since i75 was becoming nearly impossible to drive on without slipping off the road. Any pressure greater than a tap on either my gas or brake pedal sent me sliding for a second without any control of my car. After I made the decision that there was no way I would be making it to Lexington tonight in these conditions, I called a few of my closest friends who attend college at EKU. One of them was still in London who had decided to wait and drive up in the morning, while the other was in a meeting that would not be let out for another hour or so. Instead of crashing at his place, the second had a truck that I was hoping would be able to take me to Lexington safely that night. After luckily drifting up the ramp and making it into a parking lot (which just so happened to be a hotel), I called my parents and they insisted that I at least go in and ask how much it would be for a night. After laughing at this suggestion, I went in and asked the lady how much it would be for a night. “Eighty dollars,” she responded. After responding with a thank you on my way out the door she added, “Honey, you know i75 north bound is shut down just north of here.” After hearing this bit of information I told her I guess I would need a room for the night. Although several of my friends insisted I stay with them, I told them I would be just fine in my best western suite with two full beds to myself and a vending machine just down the hall.

    I believe in advice from good friends and family. I believe in hotels conveniently located right off the interstate. I believe in trusting my instinct and knowing how far to push my luck when dire situations occur within just a few minutes.

  4. If you would have asked me two weeks ago what I was doing for spring break I would have replied “Nothing!” very happily. I couldn’t wait for a week sans homework, stress, constantly running from one activity to the next, and sleepless nights. In fact, I don’t think I had ever been more ready for a break in my life. However, when someone offers you a road trip, you don’t turn it down. So, Friday afternoon after all of our classes were over we piled a weeks worth of clothes and four girls into my mom’s car and drove south. At 5:30 AM Saturday morning, after fourteen straight hours of driving, we made it to Longboat Key, Florida. To say I was happy to get out of the car was an understatement. As soon as we got everything to our room, I found the closest bed and fell asleep instantly.

    There are certain things you learn about yourself while being cooped up in car for fourteen straight hours. You learn that no one has the same weird music taste as you. You learn that it is literally impossible to get comfortable in the backseat of an SVU full of bags. You learn just how long you really can hold your pee. You learn that the rap section in the song Waterfalls by TLC is really hard to get down. You learn that sometimes the person in the passenger seat has to braid your hair while you drive through downtown Atlanta traffic. But in the end you realize the most important thing, road trips are never about the destination. They are all about the journey and the people that you share them with. I wouldn’t have traded the past week for anything.

    I believe in singing Waterfalls at the top of your lungs. I believe in sketchy gas stations. I believe in travel. I believe in road trips.

    1. Sounds like a terrific experience, one with educational outcomes too :)

  5. I believe three-inch flakes of meat came down like rain at the Crouch family farm in Olympia Springs, Kentucky on Friday, March 3, 1876. Having caught the bottled flesh, I will send it back to the heavens.

    I believe in a city spring-fed with lime that strengthens horse bones, causes bladder stones, and delivered death to the doors of parents whose children first called our asylum home.

    I believe in wonder.

    I believe that Wilbur Riddle, who discovered death wrapped in a tent, unfolded a puzzle for horse breeding: a gestating industry nearly destroyed by caterpillars, cherry trees, and feces.

    I believe in the heart and the mind of a woman who carefully removed the coffins of her dead parents from the edge of a quilt covering her own bed. She laced them permanently into the graveyard: overflowing with four generations of family.

    Our history swells with death.

    I believe my students breathe new life for a city still ailing from the sale of men, one of whom became a King by digging. His living body brought bids from medical students at my own university: investing in a future cadaver. One hundred eighty-one years later, my students invest in their own futures.

  6. While I skim the list of supplies my daughter’s school has already issued for the following year, my mother takes a bukvar out of the blue suitcase with which she travels to America. “This is last year’s bukvar,” she explains. “Only the students enrolled in first-grade this year can get this year’s bukvar. They get it for free and so you can’t buy it anywhere.” So she asked a friend of hers, a teacher, for last year’s bukvar. “A bukvar is a textbook that teaches first graders how to read and write. It also teaches them about life and relationships,” I explain to my American husband. He marvels at the promises contained within so small a book.

    And I marvel at the alliterations sprinkled throughout the bukvar. The dialog between Lily and her mother on page 34 explores the availability of lemons and raspberries. The repetition of “Lily,” “lemons,” and “raspberries” becomes an incantation about a mother and her daughter counting and sharing fruit. But it is impossible to hear the tenderness within their words if one doesn’t know Bulgarian. After reading about a grandmother knitting a sweater and beginning to worry that gender roles might overtake even my very own memories of my grandmother knitting sweaters for me, I read about a male robot that sweeps the floor, knits, makes raspberry tarts, and takes a poodle named Toto for walks. Though Toto is not a Bulgarian name, I am happy that first-graders in Bulgaria can read about male robots making tarts. The name of the robot is Tip-Top: a Bulgarian phrase that means something along the lines of “just right, perfect.”

    My daughter’s interest in the bukvar languishes after the second sing-songy narrative, in which Nino, Neno, and Ani learn not to walk in front of moving cars. “I already know that,” she pronounces and runs to show our next-door neighbor the tray of watercolor paint and the 3 boxes of Crayola crayons we had purchased that morning. I keep on reading about Tip-Top and Toto.

    Today I believe in alliteration and in Bulgarians’ ability to endorse male robots who make tarts.

  7. My grandfather has never been someone to depend on. Overly dramatic and full of flaws, he is a bit of a modern day nomad. He jumps from Arizona, Utah, North Carolina, and Tennessee throughout the year without giving any type of warning. My family will often go three or four months without hearing from him and then get a random call. He invites us to do something or ask to come over. We decline his offers because of the short notice--he rarely plans ahead--but are relieved to have a reason not to go. We never look forward to encounters with him.

    Two years ago, he did something more stupid than anything he had done before. When he asked for help, no one in the family helped him. Even his many brothers and sisters in the midwest basically left him to fix things on his own. Angry, he hardly spoke to anyone for almost a year.

    One day, we ran into him at the grocery store. After a year away, all he only asked how the family was doing and where did Walmart keep the cinnamon. The next week, he invited my family and my uncle’s family to eat out. We agreed to go and prepared for the worst. What would he want to say to his children and grandchildren who had not spoken to him in so long?

    We were surprised. He assured us that he was changing. His focus was no longer on money, only family. He spent an hour preaching about how awful the world is and another saying that family is the only thing you can depend on. He wanted to be someone his children and grandchildren could depend on.

    After the visit, my family decided that we would give Grandpa the chance to prove that he was trying to be a different person. If he screwed up again, we would just cut him off again. Over the past year, he has been changing. He still travels, but he visits his grandkids more often. He still has a favorite grandkid, but he does not ignore the second daughter anymore. He is still sexist and racist, but he does not make as many sexist comments and even admits that not all white people are bad.

    Because of this, I believe that people can change and that those people are worth giving one more chance to.

  8. So it is after winter break and students are back on campus studying and working towards passing their classes. Everything is okay at first but like every college kid, after about the first week of classes they are already checking their calendars for when the next vacation will be. Spring break is two months away from January and people are already getting ready by making plans and organizing events. Yet here I am just enjoying my days and not worrying about what I am going to do. Many college students always hop on a plane or on their cars and head towards areas where they can party and relax for that whole week. People always go towards the coastal areas and party on the warm beaches of California or Florida. Now because all of this drama is happening, airline tickets go up and that is how these guys make their money. Originally I was planning to go back home for break and spend some time with my family but thanks to this wonderful time of the year where everyone goes and has some fun by where I live, the tickets skyrocketed from about three hundred dollars to about nine hundred dollars! So thanks to all of those party-hard spring breakers, my luck changed from going back home to spending a wonderful spring break here alone in my room with hardly anyone else on campus… It wasn’t the worst spring break that I have had, well maybe it was, but it was quite and experience and an interesting adventure that I took for an entire week. Having tons of time for myself gave me the opportunity to explore Lexington and check out some of the things that I never had time to do because i was always so busy with school. I got the chance to check out posters and records at CD Central and i also got to check out some interesting and unusual things at Sqecial Media. I believe that i still have mixed feelings about how awesome or lame or interesting my spring break was but at least things are back to normal now.

  9. It’s always essential for your daily schedule to add a pause– a time for mental meditation away from school work. This year, I decided to get involved with the Transylvania choir. You would think that adding an extra class to my schedule would create more stress from the extra classes, lessons, and concerts that I must attend. However, there has never been anything more soothing for my soul than the progression of beautiful chords created by the members of our choir. Together we share a common passion for music and it is the most beautiful thing when we hit that overtone in a large chapel or when the lyrics of a song brings forth tears to our or to a listener’s eyes.
    As the Transylvania choir was on the road, I created my best memories of my college career and created the greatest bonds and with new friends. I have been able to connect with the members of this choir in ways that I never had imagined before, through music and memories. The 36 hour bus ride across half of America was a rough point, but once we got off that bus and joined in the chapel, all tension ended.
    I believe in those moments when our voices bounce off the walls in echoes during the Lithuanian piece. I believe in syncopation. I believe when everyone in the choir hits the same note in the same octave on the word human in “I Thank You God”, because we are all just that. I believe in the facial expressions from the audience when we start our Finnish piece or how their heads swivel when “Anoj Pusej Dunojelio” starts bouncing off of every wall as the words fall at random moments. I believe in the light echo when our Spanish song ends abruptly and the most beautiful chord sustains there. I believe in “stunning”. I believe in the power of music and the absence of anger, worry, sadness that it creates through its healing wave. My first experience in choir has been a magical one and I am excited for the memories to come. I have had pleasure enough, I have had singing.

  10. Impulse decisions; sometimes I believe they will be the death of me but sometimes they happen to be the best things ever.

    In January I made the impulse decision to buy a plane ticket to Panama City, Panama to visit a guy I had been talking to for quite some time. We had big plans for my trip there during spring break. Well spring break rolled around and things just were not the same. I was second guessing everything and was not sure what to do. I was worried about the amount of money I would lose because let me tell ya, a trip to the country Panama is not cheap. I finally decided it would be best for me to cancel the trip because things would be weird and not the same.
    Friday the 14th gets here and I still did not have plans for spring break. This was my senior spring break, my last one before entering the grown up world where people do not get spring breaks anymore which of course meant I did not want to spend it at home. I was searching for almost anything to do, I even contemplated driving to Florida on my own and just sleeping in my car. Yes, I was just that desperate. Thank goodness I have some amazing friends who wanted nothing more than for me to be with them and have a spring break to remember. My friend helped me look for flights so that I could go to Fort Lauderdale with them. Purchasing an overpriced ticket to fly out of Lexington the next day was definitely an impulse decision. This impulse decision was definitely one that provided with me a week full of sun, good friends, cold beverages, dancing, and so many memories and inside jokes. I will never forget this spring break or the people who made it happen.

    I have a love-hate relationship with impulse decision but I do believe in them.

  11. I don’t have my hair extensions in anymore; I got tired of them last week and pulled them out. Of course, I didn’t want to wait a couple weeks for a hair appointment, so I ripped them out myself without stopping to consider the remnants of the glue that was being left in my hair and the amount of my real hair that I was losing as I was doing so.

    Two days ago, I bit off my acrylic nails. Tired of the way they looked on my fingers, ready for something new, something more natural, if only until next week, when I get them done again. My fingers bled as I bit them into the quick, which is what I usually do when I don’t have $50 fake nails restraining me from doing so.

    And today, look at my face. It merely has bronzer, blush, and mascara hiding my imperfections, as opposed to the usual entourage of concealer, foundation, powder, bronzer, blush, light eyeshadow, dark eyeshadow, eyeliner, and finally, mascara.

    I don’t know what brought on this mood lately. It’s not that I don’t care what I look like, it’s just that I don’t think I need all of those things to look however I want to look.

    I believe in being yourself, every little part of yourself.

  12. I was supposed to write an anthem for our class. But every time I sat down this stuff happened instead.

    I believe this is what I've wanted the weather to sound like in march:

  13. I love the sounds of your imagined March, birds and all.

  14. Growing up my parents were very absent. My father was and still is rarely ever in the US and my mother works nights sleeps days and then works days she's not sleeping off. My mother started sending me to run errands when I was 13, she gave me her car keys, the list, and her wallet. So thats what I did, I drove and did all the errands along with taking care of my brother, the house, myself and school. They stopped paying for me and my little brother when I turned 14 expecting me to get a job and pay for myself and my brother. So thats what I did, I got a job and started to pay for clothing, snacks, toys, and other things. I had been the main “parent” figure in my brothers life the whole time before this and once I started paying for him as well I became the only “parent” figure in my brothers life.I started referring to him as my child. He calls me mom and his friends refer to me as “Evan’s mom”. I stay on him about his homework and making sure that he's doing well in school, I go to as many of his games and tournaments that I could, missing my own things from time to time just to make sure that I was there for him. Once I turned 16 I started filling my name out on the guardian portion of paper work my brother would bring home from school. I went to the parent/teacher conferences and once I turned 18 I would chaperone his field trips. The teachers questioned it when I was younger, around the age of 15, because my brother is only two years younger then me but eventually they came to just accept it. To this day I pay for my brother and myself, I am his guardian or mother according to the schooling system, his friends, his sports teams and our church. When he gets in trouble I am called, his teachers email me when something is going on, his coaches talk to me when they want him to go to an event and his friends and their parents call me to set up things. He recently got a job and uses that money to pay for simple things like lunch out with friends, movies and other little things. I pay for all his clothing, his schooling, sports and extra activities, including his car and gas. I pay for the doctors visits and other important things as well. Because I recently left to go to college I realized how much I am his mother not his sister. We talk ever night and we FaceTime constantly, I put money into his account and I talk with his teachers and coaches over the phone now. He now has to make his own food and go out and buy his own clothes, even though he doesn't have to pay for them himself, he also has to take care of the house all by himself. I feel bad leaving him to take over the things I have always done, because I do not want him to grow up to fast like I did. And because I am his “mother” I feel like I am almost letting him down, since he now has to do everything himself. When I told him this he told me that I was not letting him down, that he was proud of me and that he did not are that he had to do those things that he was glad that he could take over and feel independent but still knew that he could rely on me. Because of all of this, of growing up super fast to raise Evan, only two years younger, taking care of the house and running the errands and driving before it was even legal, getting a job and paying for everything for two people, and making sure that I also was getting my school and dance done I believe in a couple of things. I believe that I can run a household. I believe that I can do most anything. I believe that I can care for someone other than myself. And though I have never had a child, I believe that I am a mother.