IN THE WORDS OF ESTEEMED WRITER, POET AND 1ST BLACK RECIPIENT OF THE PULTIZER PRIZE, GWENDOLYN BROOKS:
Good Day, "Musical Mamis & Legit Lads"! This is your Artistic Endorser, D.C. With another entry from the DC Theatre Blog!
Theatre continues breaks new ground in many ways; As a tool of self-discovery, allowing folks to grow as individuals, having had the experiences of another; As a means of reflection, as a performance, a scene or even a moment can connect as a representation of previous thoughts within one's own meander through life; As an inspirational muse pushing one to greatness or a mental challenge of the impossible, shown and proven. Take my own life as an example: As a young entertainer, I knew I wanted to become an established & well-respected professional artist. I also knew I had to work hard to get there, so I would double down and push hard in all situations... Sometimes to my detriment. People I've performed with will tell you with great certainty: I had the habits of Will Smith in his early days on the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air".
Don't cry, Will...
What I mean is, I would sort of mouth the words of other actors, unintentionally & unknowingly, during scenes. The way I see it: I was fully invested in my performance because if something went awry, I had to be ready. Perhaps I was a little TOO invested but, sometimes, things did go wrong. Once during a performance, I injured my ankle doing a Swing/jazz dance routine. I played through it but could barely walk back stage. It felt like the worst night of my life. That is, until the end of the show. A small, frail black woman, who'd professed to being in her nineties, stood up after the show during our talk back, tears welling up in her eyes. She told us that it was her birthday and we managed to take her back to a time that she thought she'd never see or hear again. We were all touched but there was a statement that she made that overshadowed it all for me:
but good things
stay the same.”
What. Did. She. Mean? Well, during that time, Barack Obama had established the promises of hope & change, taking office as the first African-American president. So, the phrase could have, honestly, meant anything to her at that point in time. But, when she made that statement, I felt the full truth of it.
She meant literally Everything was Changing.
She'd lived throughout nearly 9 decades. She'd watched several presidents take office. Dozens of movements & progressions had taken flight & left their marks in history. Her children & grandchildren surrounded her in celebration, generations of Black men and Women with their own stories & paths chosen.
The center of her words echoed to me. We're all growing up, getting older & passing on. We're all having experiences that shape our existence & outlooks on life. The spiritual and physical plane will continue to shift as time continues to roll... But in all that changes, all good things remain the same. The Good Meals that we consume. Good Music that made us move. The Good Conversations we value and the Good Situations we find humor in...
Ha. Good Humour.
So, while all things around us Change, be them better or worse, all that is Good, to us, remains Good to us. That was the wisdom that woman departed to me. Her Reflection taught me to look forward to my future & truly treasure the Good things when they come. I now keep that with me... and it something I learned on what I easily pegged as one of my worst performances. Theatre Reveals. Theatre Reinvents. Theatre Reinvigorates. Theatre Changes. Both the broad spectrum of people and within its own construct.