Wednesday, June 10, 2009

161/365 Guest Post by EJG

Life is funny. A week ago, I was attached to tubes in ICU struggling to live. Today, I am frustrated that I can’t resume my life just as it had been the day before my brain decided to bleed.

I am quite a miracle - the lucky recipient of the talents of a great surgeon and hundreds of prayers sent to G-d by a network of friends and family. I was visited in the hospital by so many people that I had no time to wallow in despair. The phone calls, guest blogs, Facebook comments, flowers, and edible fruit! were all daily reminders that I was loved. They lifted me up when I stumbled in self pity, and carried me back to the reality of my good fortune. No blog post could begin to express how much you have all meant to me. So I will just say, thank you.

One of the ironic downsides to recovering so fast was being able to visit the set of Theatre Jacksonville’s “Into the Woods” yesterday, in which I had been cast as the Narrator/Mysterious Man. Sitting there in the back of the auditorium, I looked out at something so familiar, yet untouchable. So close I had come.

In trying to get a good turnout at auditions, I often tell my students in the beginning of the year about the benefits of being in a play. I tell them about the camaraderie, the feeling of working on one thing to completion with so much intensity and focus. I share with them the benefits of teamwork and the pride in hearing your efforts and commitment pay off in the sounds of applause.

I started off my journey into the woods with double vision, the result of an earlier injury that most definitely led to this last week’s grand theatrics. In fact, I had to audition without my glasses on a stage that I had never been on… something I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. However, through dumb luck I was cast. Having not been in a play since college, I enjoyed every minute of every rehearsal; the musical rehearsals with Sam at the church, the crazy blocking rehearsals up in the green room, and the slow unfolding of the play on the actual stage. I enjoyed the camaraderie, the eating (weren’t we always eating!), and even the “waterfall” in the orchestra pit during that week of endless rain. I never missed one rehearsal… mainly because I was having too much fun.

In fact, I only missed a handful of rehearsals the entire three months. Unfortunately, they were the critical ones; the ones that took the play from a works-in-progress to a real, live, breathing thing. Watching last night’s rehearsal was tough, but I was able to make peace with myself that I was no longer part of it. Don’t get me wrong; it was difficult to see the play run without me. I still knew all my lines and songs, but something had changed. During the week I was gone, a level of confidence grew over the cast that would perhaps be hard for others to spot. But not me. I had witnessed this group of dedicated thespians struggling with Soundheim’s speedy music and James Lapine’s wicked lyrics. I was one of them. But last night, I saw none of that. This cast was a lean, mean machine… ready to charm any audience and bring them out of their seats.

And you can be sure that I will be in that audience. And I will rise up from my seat, applauding until my hands hurt after the last “tableau” has been constructed. Because I know things now, many wonderful things, that I didn’t know before….


Beth said...

It's so wonderful to see you posting! Promises kept, indeed. May you continue to defy the odds and experience a full and complete recovery very soon. I'm sure your support from the audience will mean more to the cast members than you will ever know.

MJ said...

EJG, if you had typed "thanks, guys" we would've thought this a good post--a beautiful post--but then you went on to craft a post with wordplay and emotions that swept over me bringing chills. I hope to be seated near you in the audience and even better, I look to see you on stage again soon!