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 19, 2017

This I Believe #6

Same as last week - please post your sixth TIB essay here before Tuesday's class. Don't forget to bring a printed copy to class and practice reading it aloud.


  1. My Saturday, in a list of assorted things:
    A pink ticket stub to a 2 p.m. show
    An umbrella, dripping wet
    A sidewalk, covered in puddles
    My friend's room, The Office playing quietly in the back
    A French textbook I strongly dislike
    (A laptop with google translate pulled up)
    One tiny bottle of black acrylic paint
    Several plastic water bottle flowers
    A trip through Lexington
    with the same friend
    to Mi Pequena Hacienda
    A menu, two vegetarian burritos,
    and a UK game playing loudly in the back
    Target's parking lot
    A lot of adorable stationery
    Assorted candles we can't choose between
    A small journal, which I buy
    (Tiny, well-designed notebooks are among my favorite things)
    The aisles of a Walgreen's
    Later, my friend's room, again (with
    refrigerator magnet poetry,
    painted canvases,
    and a desk covered in makeup)
    The clock on my phone, eventually reading 12:00 a.m.

    It is the next day.
    I leave her room and finally return to mine after a day of being mostly away from it.
    I believe in days well-spent--with friends, doing everything and nothing--and none of it planned.

  2. i liked driving through maryland because the roads were kind of pink
    and i could almost always see the white turning points of wind turbines
    over the tops of the farthest hills.
    andrew played tchaikovsky for me before it was even 5 am
    and we were both equally excited when we drove past friendsville,
    snapping a quick picture of us both smiling into the camera.
    we took care of each other in that car.

    at lunch that day he tried a bean sprout for the first time.
    i flexed my legs under the table, my calves
    sore from the drive, and passed thin slices
    of meat around the table using my chopsticks.
    andrew is the pickiest eater i’ve ever met, and even though
    i didn’t agree with him when he announced to the table that
    bean sprouts taste like sugar snap peas,
    i couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly proud.

    i wore the same mumu to bed three nights in a row.
    the second night i fell asleep on the floor
    to the sounds of maura, zach, and andrew wrapping presents
    and laughing. zach patted my legs through the blanket before he went home.
    when zach says baltimore it sounds like voldemort,
    and one night he told maura her fart smelled like savannah, georgia
    and i wanted to somehow let him know how moved his small act
    of poetry made me feel, but i didn’t quite know how.

    i can’t remember what it felt like to drive for ten hours,
    but i can still see myself reaching for maura’s hand-
    on the trolley, walking home, around the edge of my seat in the car.
    i believe in the feeling of her fingers closing around my own.

    1. By the time I arrive at the end of your essay, I feel I have shared the joy of delirium caused by 10 hours in a car. Your stated belief at the very end closes the story with a simple comfort and an awareness that such simple comforts quickly bring quiet to what had been delirium.

  3. Though you are reluctant to admit it, you have always been something of a hopeless romantic, easily charmed by the lives around you. You fall in love yet again one sunny day in early October. After staring at a computer screen for nearly an hour, desperately trying (and failing) to write usable code for a class project, your classmate and partner for this assignment suggests the two of you go to a local restaurant for lunch. You eagerly agree before you can remember that you left your wallet in your room. When you tell him this, he pauses to check the amount of money in his wallet before offering to buy your meal, provided that you keep the expense under $10. You are a broke college student who doesn’t know how to say no to a free meal, even one you fully intend to pay back later. So the two of you end up walking to lunch together, shoulder-to-shoulder on the cracked, narrow sidewalk. He absently hums a fragment of some song you vaguely recognize as you walk.

    It is still warm outside - summer’s last hurrah - and you decide to sit at a table outside while you wait for your food. He lights a cigarette. As you chat with each other, you can’t help but notice the way he is careful not to blow smoke in your face, always turning his head to the side before speaking. It’s probably one of the most considerate things anyone has ever done for you. He finishes his cigarette by the time your food arrives. You hide a grin behind your napkin when he immediately scoops onto his plate the tomato you peeled off your sandwich. He asks why you don’t like tomatoes. You say you prefer not to have a salad in your sandwich. Besides, you can’t stand to bite into tomatoes. He tells you to give them a chance. Maybe you will one day - but not today, you tell him.

    Later, your roommate smirks knowingly as you recount the episode, beaming in the sunlight filtering in through the window. You recognize the playful look on her face and that all-too-familiar, roseate feeling swirling around in your belly, but you stubbornly refuse to acknowledge either. Instead, you choose savor your leftovers and remember the way he delicately held his cigarette between his fingers. It is astounding how easy you fall for someone over the little things - but that’s because you believe that they are what make a person so captivating in the first place.

    1. A great reminder to observe the little things that create personalities--thank you.

  4. TIB 6
    Growing up I never wanted to clean my room let alone make my bed. I wanted to sleep in as long as I could and wake up and leave. When I was a senior in high school, my sociology teacher showed us a video of a military officer that said something so simple, but so true. All he said was make sure you make your bed every day, it will make your day happier. He went into more detail about how you take 5 minutes out of your day to make your bed when you wake up in the morning and then go out and have a rough day, but when you get home your bed is made. How this makes such a big difference in your day is that you get to come home to this bed that you do not have to fight with the covers to get in and that when you get in your made bed it gives you a feeling of relaxation and comfort. You feel like all the worries of the day have melted away for a little bit. Since this video, I have made my bed every morning and I know that the military officer was so right. I know that it is what I look forward to when I have had a miserable day. I feel as if my day was not as bad. I feel as if I can overcome what went wrong that day. I can recollect my thoughts and reevaluate the situation at hand. Now that I am at College I continue to make my bed in the mornings and I believe this is a big reason I have not mentally broke down more than I already have. It gives me a feeling of safety. All this just from taking 5 minutes to make my bed in the morning. I believe making your bed in the morning can make a huge difference in your outlook on the day.

    1. I wonder how many other things we could do each day as similar gifts to ourselves, gifts that appear at the end of a day and were prepared at the beginning, before we had any idea what kind of day it would be?

  5. I believe in words learned early, words learnt when our voices rose into a stream of song with those of other children all because a woman with dark hair and horn-rimmed glasses played a few notes on the piano and taught us:

    O Senor Don Gato was a cat.
    On a high red roof Don Gato sat.
    He was there to read a letter,
    Meow, meow, meow!
    Where the reading light was better,
    Meow, meow, meow!
    ‘Twas a love-note for Don Gato!

    Though sitting atop a roof, Don Gato experienced the sort of emotion that causes one to abandon all sense and jump with glee no matter who is watching; no matter how many feet one might fall if the jump is even slightly miscalculated. Perhaps you are thinking it is okay because cats don’t miscalculate jumps (or calculate at all for that matter). You would be wrong. Perhaps you are thinking it is okay because you have heard cats can fall to the ground safely from a third story window. You would be wrong. Don Gato fell. Ribs, knees, and whiskers were broken. All the doctors came but:

    In spite of everything they tried,
    Poor Senor Don Gato up and died.
    No, it wasn’t very merry,
    Meow, meow, meow!
    Going to the cemetery,
    Meow, meow, meow!
    For the ending of Don Gato.

    I believe in words learned early, words learnt in song that stick and have stuck since second grade, words that were my first introduction to another language and have never made any sense translated into English as “Mr. Cat.” Who besides perhaps the unfortunate soul named Mr. Human would sing about Mr. Cat?

    “Mr. Cat” sounds like the name a 5th grade health teacher would assign to the heteronormative counterpart of Mrs. Cat while trying to explain reproduction in a way that would never sound like sex. Don Gato, on the other hand, is the name of someone who, discombobulated by love, plunges to their death only to be reanimated by the smell of fresh food.

    I believe in words learned early, and songs for children that introduce both Spanish and reanimation.

  6. I adore my Keurig. The ability to make an individualized hot beverage at any time of day with only a few seconds of preparation astounds me each time. I realize that the single-serving cups are harmful to the environment and not necessarily the best economic option for a broke college student, but I continue anyway. Due to feats of modern technology, I can have a steaming cup of coffee or tea in my hands in just the time it takes me to put on shoes. I press a button, I count to ten, I enjoy.

    I stand in his kitchen, doing my best to help but mostly just getting in his way. Thankfully, he doesn’t mind. We roasted the beans in his backyard two nights ago with an old popcorn popper and a wooden stirring stick. I held the flashlight. After cooling and measuring and calculating percentage weight loss, the beans found themselves in a mason jar, waiting for their perfect time. Now, I see them bounce around the grinding machine as they become smaller and smaller versions of themselves. A heavenly aroma fills the small room. The journey has just begun; water must be boiled, filters applied, brewing enabled, and a final extraction. The next steps seem to take forever, but I find ways to pass the time. As the kettle comes to a boil and the timer starts for the pourover, I take a few steps to the makeshift incubator and check on the young chickens’ progress. A few cracks have appeared in their shells, but it will be several hours until the chicks finally emerge and officially enter the world. Soon, but not too soon, they will join their mother in the backyard I now know well. I look back and see him putting the finishing touches on an enticing mug. I put it to my lips (after a few blows to cool it down a bit) and take a sip of one of the best damn cups of coffee I’ve ever had.

    Some things are objectively easier than others. Sometimes it makes sense to choose convenience over quality, but I need to make sure that I don’t make a habit of settling. I believe that with coffee, chickens, and so much more, good things take time.

    1. I really enjoyed reading this one, Carrie. It's so easy to forget that taking one's time can be rewarding, since we are constantly in motion each day (especially when you're, well, us).

    2. Your writing is so calming and peaceful, and I really love how you structured this.

  7. One month before my first return trip to Bulgaria I started to worry. I worried they may let me back in only to make repeated departure impossible. I worried that during my three-week stay I may disappear and never be heard from again. I worried that border patrol may find a glitch in my American visa and refuse to let me depart. I worried enough that I asked my department chair—a woman from Poland—to look for me if I failed to return.

    My anxiety came from what I already knew.

    What I knew: while working on a class project at the American University in Bulgaria the year before I left for America, I made my way to the office of the local Chief of Police. As soon as he found out I studied at the American University, he grew suspicious of my intentions. His quick change of demeanor made me wonder how easy it would be for him to harm me. Because no one knew where I was, no one would know what happened to me. Others before me had disappeared without a trace.

    Because I am writing this, you already know that I did leave the office of the Chief of Police. But I can recall the coldness against my skin the moment I realized I was without protection. I still worry every time I return to Bulgaria on my own. Twenty years later, I still need the invisible shield American citizens wrap around me. It’s as if their presence can guarantee a return to a country where people keep their curtains apart event at night: a country with no walls and no fear of the unknown.

    Twenty years after I saw my first American curtains, this country has started to build walls of hatred. Though I am an American citizen now, I still worry about traveling to Bulgaria unaccompanied by Americans. Today I also worry about so many others: those who travel in fear, as well as those who aren’t allowed to leave.

    I believe in curtains open wide and in countries without walls.

  8. I believe in a damn good house party

    It was my senior year of highschool. I was involved with the international baccalaureate program so our IB class of around 50 became fairly close over the years as we took the same classes together. As our second semester came towards spring, there was no time for senioritis. We were all focused on college acceptances, scholarship rewards, and our series of IB exams that would determine whether or not we earned a piece of paper that would tell us all of our work was worth the tears, all nighters, and “oh shit I have three tests this week, two papers, and a presentation”. This meant that in order to destress we had a series of wild ass parties at people's houses. Occasionally, I mean like every other weekend for about a month and a half, someone's parents would leave the house alone with their kid. We would then organize via our group me the details: where to park, who was coming, and who was bringing the goods. Well, one weekend my parents decided to be gone, and I thought why not? Let’s throw a party at my house! So we did and here are some highlights for the night.

    40 people I knew showed up.
    35 people I liked and invited
    5 people I didn’t like and didn’t invite, but were invited by someone else. This I took as a good thing because I threw a party that got people I didn’t like there.
    One girl ended up like crawling through the doggy door on my back porch, she was always on some level of crazy.
    There was this one moment where one of my friends who spoke like 5 languages refused to speak english, and so he had to be talked down by some of my other friends who spoke a myriad of languages like french, spanish, and arabic.
    We had a poppin playlist full of early 2000’s hip hop/r and b throwbacks.
    I think we went until like four in the morning?
    No fights
    No alcohol poisoning
    Just a damn good time

    Although I look back now and am like wow…...these parties were really irresponsible and the amount of drinking was not entirely safe….I can’t take back the success of them. So yeah..I believe in a damn good house party.

  9. It was already a long day when I came home from work around 10 in the morning. I almost always feel like a ghost or a shuffling zombie coming home to the house before anyone else has really gotten up. My vision is often narrowed to my path from the door to my bedroom and then to the shower. On this particular day, work had been busier than ever and I’d used a lot of my energy reserves to be polite and cheerful towards the countless customers needing coffee and donuts so I was exhausted. When I finally came back upstairs from my room in the basement, the bright light of the sun greeted me. It seemed brighter and warmer of a light than usual, which began to work through my stiff joints and relax them slightly. Then I took in the kitchen. It seemed bigger than usual, and brighter. I was confused until I realized someone had finally finished the sink of dishes that has been a constant for months. They had also put all the dishes away, which was a miracle in itself. The counters were wiped down and the gross gunk had been scrubbed off the stovetop. Everything was cleaner and less cluttered. I loved it! I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen since I have to make most of my meals and I love to cook. So I took out what I needed to try and make a new recipe. The atmosphere of the kitchen lifted my spirits immensely. I found myself humming along to the music I played while I cooked and couldn’t help smiling. It’s amazing what a clean kitchen can do for the atmosphere of a room. I wasn’t sure which of my housemates had performed this feat but I felt enormous appreciation for our resident cleaning fairy. I believe in the magic of a clean kitchen and I believe in the cleaning fairy.

  10. I’ve been waiting for a letter from my the first graduate school I applied to for over a month. I reach my hand into the bronzed mailbox next to my front door every day, wiggling my fingers inside, hoping to fish out an acceptance letter. I don’t even know if it will be an acceptance letter! For all I know, I’m spending too much time each day worrying about a future that won’t happen at all. Perhaps the Pacific coast will not be a few hours drive away from my apartment, but I can’t seem to accept any other future. I cannot stay in Lexington for another year or this discomfort would eat me alive, and you might find me shriveling up in the corner of Al’s Bar, or in the drive thru at Indi’s. I would end up wasting gas by driving to other cities for the weekend to curb my desire of different views and the silent walk through an art museum. If I stay here, I see myself drooling at a job inside the mall, never getting over the complexities and annoyances that are guaranteed during the drive home on Nicholasville Road. Listen, I’ve written poetry about my love of Lexington, my love of Kentucky; these rolling hills will grab any romantic’s heart. The amount of good this city as given me, I think I have enough to share it in other places. I want to be listening to bluegrass music while waiting for the subway, I want to wear my Kentucky shirts out in bars in hopes to spark conversations. I want to watch UK Basketball with a friend from across the world, and share the terrible excitement Lexingtonians feel when we shoot a three. I especially want to bring the love of art that this city as instilled in me and teach others about my experience with working with/for art non-profits. I want Seattle to learn from me as much as I want to learn from them. Or Portland. Or New Orleans. Or Edinburgh! Who knows? Thankfully, I’ve learned the importance of traveling and the impact of being in different environments has on your perspective. I think to be the best arts administrator I can be is by learning how other cities and nonprofits do their work, so when it come my time to be a director (God willing!), I’ll be the best one I can be. I will keep sticking my hand in my mailbox everyday, as well as continuing to work on the other applications for other places I might go. This I believe in my future, because I know in my guts it won’t be here.

    1. This gave me chills-- I adore traveling and art as well. I'm from a very small town but have always loved cities, so Lexington being Transy's home was largely the reason I ended up here.

  11. Lexington is a summer city. When the weather is warm, the sun is clear, and the greenery is out, a haze cloaks the city. This Southern town begins to look like a melancholic landscape shot from an independent film with an ambiguous setting. I always feel like I’m in a dream. It’s a good dream.

    Right now, it’s February. There shouldn’t be summer weather. There should be blizzards that bring a foot of snow. Our campus heating should be protecting us from the chill outside rather than suffocating us out of our rooms.

    But it’s nice. Right?

    Driving to the grocery with my sunroof open, I feel overjoyed by the warm weather. I fantasize about the liberating nature of my previous summer breaks. I feel the weight of the academic year melting away with the sweat on my forehead. My worries blow away in the wind that rustles my hair. The world is dying, though.

    It is unseasonably warm right now because the human race is killing its Earth. I know this. I mourn because of this and try to prevent this on a daily basis. But how can I mourn in these moments of beauty, when my home blossoms into a Paradise? How can I look past all the smiling people taking their celebrations of perfect temperatures to the streets and grassy fields?

    Weather is confusing. In Berlin, people experience seasonal depression for half a year because of the cold, windy weather and perpetually grey skies. Maybe this summer-esque weather cures our temporary depression, and so we allow it to blind us from the fact that unnatural amounts of CO2 have a chokehold on our planet. The relief of my temporary depression is simultaneously a death threat against my future children.

    But still, the weather is nice. And I generally take whatever temporary happiness I can find. At the same time, though, I am rather hopeless regarding the survival of humanity’s only home.

    I believe in the emotionally-confusing nature of global warming.

  12. There is a collection of knick-knacks on my dresser. Things that have no real use and that I rarely take time to admire anymore but keep nonetheless. A shot glass shaped like a boot that my brother bought me in Germany. A piece of mother of pearl in a corked vial a friend bought me at a museum. Three heart shaped stones with inspiring words engraved on them. A shell from a trip to the beach with my boyfriend. These things have been accumulated since coming to college. I had a similar collection on my dresser in my parent’s house. A figurine of a puppy that looked just like my first dog. A boxed set of fairy books so small it fit in my hand. A Hot Wheels Corvette that my mother gave me for my sixteenth birthday after telling me she “bought me a car”. A ball with a figurine of Ariel from The Little Mermaid in it that a girl I babysat left at my house. These things take up space in my life. I’ve moved them from dorm room to apartment, to different apartment. I’ve packed them and unpacked them time and time again. If I lost any one of these things I wouldn’t be upset. Each of them has a distinct memory attached to it but they don’t matter that much to me until they’re considered together. Together these things tell the story of what’s important to me. It’s an uncurated kind of decoration. These are not things that I picked out at the store because I thought they were beautiful or because they matched my bedspread. Mostly, they are gifts from people who matter to me. Most people have a collection of little things like these. Everyone’s collection tells a different story. I believe in knick-knacks.

  13. As I look at her, she reflects a smile towards me and I can’t help but feel as if the world just got a little bit brighter. In the past I have been a babysitter, teacher’s assistant, volunteer, tutor, mentor, and friend. Throughout all these experiences, there is only one reward I truly search for; happiness. I have always found a great joy in making others happy and I know I always will. It has become a bad habit of mine to place others before myself and although it isn’t always the best practice, I found that others’ happiness provides me with much more ecstasy than my own. I tend to be a very empathetic person when it comes to emotions, and find that my attitudes very often reflect those I see. Looking into the eyes of those I work for and finding complete and utter happiness just exhilarates me. Even the little things always add up and I can’t help but be so grateful when they do. When I complete an action to me that seems like nothing; calling my parents, walking into the home of the little girls I babysit and being tackled with hugs, handing a meal to someone who needs it at the soup kitchen, or even offering a hand to someone who seems to be struggling. The emotions I receive from the recipient of my kindness overwhelm me, they always have. I strive to make others happy. I believe in happiness. It might not be anyone else’s goal, but if I accomplish nothing else other than making others happy for the rest of my life, I can promise you it will be a life well lived.

  14. I am who I am
    I’m rock
    I'm the sun
    I'm the wind
    I'm e water
    I'm the oxygen
    I'm an old man
    I'm the first and the last
    I'm the light
    I'm love
    I'm a country song
    I'm life
    I'm the rock that is shaped by the wind
    I'm the water that covers 3rd of the Earth
    I am a friend
    I believe I have lived for thousands of years, passing through time. Are across time and space. I have lived though my great grandparents, great parents, my father, and mother. I believe I am one piece of history caring my great parent's blood from parents. I have too many people to thank for my personality and my character, and too many to thank for being here
    I am Cubaka

  15. poverty and nonproft. what are the roles of the nonprofit in the fight to end poverty have there been successful or not? reading from the from the Subcommittee in Nutrition United State House Committee on agriculture it looks like ht numbers are going high and higher how can we stop it. is regulating what you can buy the bust way to do use SNAP. onbe of the think I looking to hear from you are all the benefit that comes with SNAP cuz I feel like more people that that use SNAP does not really know more bout the benefit that comes with the card where and what you can buy with it. can the numbers be the role on the role of solving poverty ?