community · expansion · growth · love · theater · trying

B’reishit: In the Beginning…

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This week in the Jewish calendar, having unscrolled and read
the whole Torah throughout the year, we come again to rewrap it all the way back to
the beginning to read the very first word: B’reishit, “In the
beginning.”
We’ve come to the end of something, and we wind it back to the beginning to start again.
I can’t think of a more appropriate coincidence and parallel
for my own life.
Yesterday afternoon, Addams Family The Musical closed to a
full house, once again. We said our final jokes, we emphasized things a little
more. We cried at that one “Happy/Sad” song that reminds us that most things in
life are a little of both. And when the final bows were over and the final
patrons thanked, we came back to the dressing room for the last time, finally
and pleasingly and thank god-ingly taking off our sweat-soaked costumes. The
last time getting someone to help me un-pin the dress, the last time taking off
the long and elaborate and hot wig, the
last time returning my mic pack to the sound designer.
And when this was all done, and most of the makeup had been
removed from our faces…
We began tearing down the set. The set that only a handful
of weeks ago we’d built, and painted, and staged, and seen evolve right before
our eyes. The same stage that only a few weeks before that, we’d all stood on
for auditions in the remnants of the set from the previous show.
And now, here we were, making this, our set “the remnants of a previous show.”
Because To Kill a Mockingbird opens in 4 weeks.
I asked some of the old-timers if they got a little wistful
breaking down something that was like another character in the show, if it was
sad to have put it all up, just to take it all down? And each of them said, No.
It’s part of the gig. They’re used to it. To the turn-over, to the letting go.
I’m not, yet! It was happy/sad for sure. It will be strange
tonight to come to the theater for Mockingbird rehearsal and see the bones of our Addams set on the stage, picked clean of the character we’d
built. And yet, if this isn’t a great lesson in the constant ebb and flow,
creation and destruction, then I don’t know what is.
In the beginning, we were tentative and perhaps shy,
getting used to one another’s personalities, contributions, moods.
In the beginning, we created something out of nothing, out
of a few words and notes on a page, sitting in a small room with a piano,
laughing a little, tense a little.
In the beginning, we didn’t know about the tech problems or
the extra rehearsals. We didn’t know the petty arguments we’d have, or the
number of times we’d have to control rolling our eyes.
In the beginning, we didn’t know the kind of joy and
laughter we’d create on-stage or back-stage. We didn’t know the relationships
we’d form, and the singular role each member of the cast and crew would take.
We didn’t know that we’d come to love each other.
And now that we’ve unscrolled to the end, and we’re about to
bring it all back to the beginning again, I am sure that we have learned
something, something critical to the nature of life and love and joy and
experience, that we didn’t know we would and that will carry us forward as we
start once more with new words and notes and castmates.
In the beginning, we were strangers. We’ll never be that way
again. 

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