Monday, August 24, 2009

Seasons Changing

I wrote this in a darkened Belwood Hall during Act 2 of Dress Code on Saturday night, the capping performance in our summer season:

What a summer. I don't think I'll go into all the gory deatils - if you read this blog you're probably well enough aware of them. I keep looking for a fresh start here at Grinder, a new beginning, a Phoenix just waiting to rise from the ashes of this season.

But it's on nights like this that I seem to understand that we're not on a simple yes/no track here - there are no fresh starts, just a single, multi-faceted, bifurcated world that is my life and the history of this comppany.

A lot of old frineds came out of the woodwork to see Dress Code, but it wasn't like it was old-home week in Belwood. Things have changed. People have changed. I have changed, and as the run progressed I found myself filled with a pround sadness, an understanding that the shows that brought us all these old friends are now long gone, and with them the things that made us friends in the first place. While we're still friends today the nature of our frienship is profoundly different - it's more distant, sometimes awkward, sometimes even painful.

In the early of dawn of Monday morning my henscratch is a little hard to make out, and I've had to make a few changes to the syntax, but I hope at least you understand the essence of what I'm trying to say.

I enjoyed Dress Code. Jules really enjoyed Dress Code. While I don't personally think it's the best play I've ever written (that one doesn't exist yet) it seemed to strike a chord with the people who came to see it. Judging from the revelry at the cast party (captured in pictures and posted on Facebook) I think it's safe to say that the cast and crew enjoyed themselves as well. It was the perfect end to a far less-than-perfect season.

But now all the highs and lows of the summer season are past us. I'll celebrate, cherish and remember the highs: the impassioned "Come on Eileen" from Dulcitus, the held-over run of 5 Women wearing the Same Dress, performing a one-man version of Commedia D'ell Arte and of course Melanie's big moment in Dress Code (with an honourable mention to Darth Vader).

I'll also see what I can do to learn from the mistakes of this past season, to sort out the mistakes from the whims of fate and a bad economy, and ensure that next summer things go better, no matter what the unemployment rate.

Most importantly, Grinder lives to fight another day.

And as for all those old friendships, I admit I haven't got that one figured out yet. Reconciling past and present isn't easy, especially when both they and I have changed in such profound ways, to say nothing of the changing "realities on the ground" from when I was doing shows with them to now. I realize that there's a certain amount of letting go that you have to do - you can't live in the past - but at the same time the bonds that were formed during those shows were so profound, so powerful - just like the bonds that I saw forming this season, on Dress Code and other shows, that I can't simply ignore them.

Like I said, I haven`t got it figured out. A few months ago I wrote about reaching out, about non-invasively inviting the good people from my past to play a role in my life once again. I think I'll keep on trying to do that, even though I've now been at it long enough to know that reaching out can be a painful experience. In time I think I can find a balance that works, and I'm sure that my "realities on the ground" will change in the coming weeks and months in ways that will make what I have to do become much more clear to me.

So congrats to Becky and her gang for all their great work on Dress Code, and thanks to everyone who played a part in our 2009 season, onstage, backstage or in the audience. You are all still my friends, new or old, and while it make take a few more seasons changing, sooner or later I'll find a way to re-connect with all of you.

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