Saturday, May 7, 2011

No contradiction

the students

Ted from the Woodshed Collective and a group of visiting drama students from Atlanta are waiting for me on the steps when I arrive.(I remember Ted from his Ruth era Yankee hat.) We go up to the balcony theatre for conversation. The students want to know about the ghost. But first I want to go through the social history of the church. The struggle for lgbtq inclusion. The SANE/FREEZE offices  in the former balcony luxury boxes. The impact of AIDS. The founding of the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness. And the theatre built by Joseph Papp where we are now.  
And then I tell them about the ghost. The previous pastor who committed suicide on Christmas Eve. Holly saw him first, the when she saw his portrait with the slash through it, that’s him she said, that’s the man I saw. The students like that. And they have questions. About the church’s historic commitments,uncommon to their church experience in Atlanta. About perceived conflicts between church and theatre. As that question comes up, Jane appears at the top of the stairs.   I invite her to answer, too.
She talks about how church and theatre started together and then how the church feared arts’ liberating powers and shut the theatre out. How her study, her work is about bringing it back together again. Both paths to spirit. Or spirit inspired paths. She tells the she, too, is an actor. Asks if anyone knows the play Vanities. Nope. No one. We share a laugh at that. 
I finish my talk and leave them to go with Jane and her assistant Tia. Do the tour again. Jane’s pretty clear she wants the two front offices inside the 86th Street door. To start with. I recall that Woodshed wants then as part of their immersive theatre. For the first time, I begin to worry about what their residency might mean. I want a way to have them both. So who needs to talk to whom?
I bring Danielle outside to help with the sweeping. Things have been accumulating. Starting with an umbrella carcass. Papers. The inevitable cigarette butts. And dog feces. No, not that again. Seriously. But things look good when we’re done.  

I’ve got to get to a Dos Pueblos meeting on Nicaragua. Danielle will stay until Woodshed’s workshop is finished and the Three Graces  folks arrive.  At least today is over. 

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