As Our Second Production Opens, We Reflect on Highlights From Our First (part 1)
It's not like we've been slacking. It's just that we don't blog like we used to and frankly, who does? Blogging is so last decade, right? But it's still the best place for longer-form reflecting - Of course, who does anything long form anymore? Well, the Smart Set, for starters, and we'd like to be counted in that crowd. Instead we've been crazy producing and micro-blogging with status updates on The Book of Face - for better and for worse (distractions!) - We've kept a steady stream on Twitter, and Instagram's been trotted out from time to time too. But the blog has tarried, even though this blog's been berry-berry good to us with some key idea-pillars posted over spring and summer [set pieces we've drawn from; a place to carve out thoughts about mission; about why we're doing what we do]. And with two major speeches given earlier this month I intend to post in the coming days, it feels like this blog needs to fill in what's been missed; which is to say the experience of our entire first production! Let's summarize in FB postings what the experience meant. Because it meant the world.
Yet here we are, five previews into THE GOSPEL OF LOVINGKINDNESS — with urgency here to attend to the current production, as we wait on reviews and revel from 3 separate opening performances on Sunday (2) and Monday (December 13 & 14). We'll begin to do a better job of reporting on GOSPEL and all the conversations it triggers. For now, I'm gonna post some Greatest Hits (or Greatest Posts) from our UNEXPLORED INTERIOR run and it will wind up focussing on the 5 weeks worth of discussions that were convened after so many rousing performances of Jay O. Sanders' play. We're going to share the photos and the identifiers and hope that a good iPhone picture is worth a few hundred words worth of reflection. You'll get the idea of what we created; what we're so proud of.
As the great Caleen Sinnett Jennings posted on FB after our first preview of GOSPEL: "Mosaic is 2 for 2! A timely and important piece of work. Sorry we couldn't stay for the talk back - But I am so very glad we saw it. You, Serge and Jennifer are doing some seriously heavy lifting -- lifting our eyes and our consciousness."
Well, that's a very nice thing to hear. About what's happening right now! My intention however is to reflect back to last month. To all that was wonderful, fulfilling and lasting. Let's pick things up as UNEXPLORED INTERIOR prepared to preview:
Cool. a Facebook posting on the blog! Let's do more!
And onto the drama of previews, productions meetings lasting till 1 am, and staff staying till 2... as we build toward opening!
There are more opening night pix to revel in -- pix of the band, and our dancing, and more toasts and poses, and the thrill of bringing 300 together to salute an achievement and a promise. But we're gonna move onto the discussions now, where we began to expand on the impact of the play in our fostering of an engaged community that doesn't just revel in the art, but sows its relevance back into the world of activism, scholarship, partnership and audience reflection. We believe in an active audience - one that partakes and shares back and is hungry for more.
We start off every run with talk-backs during previews, when we hear from the audience how we're doing as story-tellers. Here's one of my favorite pix from the run, following the 2nd preview of UNEXPLORED INTERIOR, when i was joined on stage by the youngest cast member, Isaiah Mays, and we took in audience feedback, seated ever so at home on Luciana Stecconi's extraordinary set.
After some back and forth, Isaiah turned to the audience to ask, "Why do YOU go to the theater? Really, i want to know!" The question was more important than the answer. But the answers came back resoundingly strong: "We come because of evenings like this!"
More pics from panels and school matinees to come in the next post - promise!