My Mom had a rough go of it in 2017 and almost none of it had to do with the presidential election. Major heart surgery in May, post-op complications, blah blah blah and a long road of incremental progress. She survived because that's an inspiring skill she's been practicing her whole life, that plus a lot of help from a supportive family and community along with some trained professionals, and after many challenges and triumphs she's rapidly returning again to spending many of our interactions these days unrepentantly browbeating me into someday providing her with a granddaughter. It's an as yet unsuccessful nuisance. I'm grateful to be annoyed by my Mom.
After a gladly welcome gluttonous and leisurely holiday season I found myself back in Cincinnati settling in for a couple weeks of respite before my season of NYC event production work started up. I was really looking forward to a lot of sitting, but something came up. My always-friend, sometimes-employer, and occasional-tormentor Andrew (artistic director of the KNOW Theatre) asked me if I wanted to learn a play in a week. I was certain I was incapable of the task but with the excellent fellow they had cast in the role suddenly navigating some familiar familial emergencies I accepted that I ought to try. It was an extraordinarily stressful week where I was pushed past my limits, something I often advocate for despite the inherent discomfort and looming prospect of self-imposed shame and failure. It's easier said. My FitBit activity tracker was convinced I was having the most cardio heavy week of my life when in reality I was merely standing, pacing, and experiencing extended clinical panic for the prolonged waking portions of 4 days in a row. Towards the end of the memorization process my heart rate hovered over 100 even while I was asleep. I couldn't eat, but I could still throw up.
But the show must go on. Opening night was coming. That's what everyone in the village is working towards, and if you're a member of the tribe then the only thing you have to do is all the things you can do to help get the Thing done. Just like everyone else is.
We made it through opening weekend. Derek Snow is back in action and has taken back the baton to finish the run. Only after I'd gotten my head above water and learned the show well enough to catch up to the team that had already been working on it did I have the opportunity to appreciate that through happenstance and misfortune I got to act with an outstanding and intimate scene partner in Nicole Smith, help some friends and colleagues tell a resonant story, and play a really satisfying character in a fantastically well-written play that coalesced into a business-as-usual magical experience at The KNOW. Some people wrote nice words about it and I hope lots of people get to see this show.
Telling stories by trade is a fool's errand, but teamwork makes the dream work.
SuperTrue by Karen Hartman
That ring in the photos? My Mom gave me that maybe 15 or so years ago. Still no granddaughter though, my body my choice.