I am trying to learn how to live at the heart of thank you.
Sixteen months ago, in March of last year, I left New York with a new play, The Grace of God & The Man Machine, born from the success of my one act play Onaje at FringeNYC. Mind The Art Entertainment (MTAE) had taken over management and production of the play and we were getting ready for an off-Broadway production. An unimaginable dream was coming true…Life was good!
Then COVID hit. Members of the team got sick, had to leave New York to recover and in some cases got the long-term devastating effects of the disease.
These people were my friends. These people are my friends!
The theaters closed. The effect of the pandemic on New York Theatre and on my friends was devastating.
During these dark times, the play was picked up by Riant Theater. They gave a surprising and outstanding virtual performance directed and staged by Van Dirk Fischer with amazing backdrops and brilliant actors who performed seamlessly from different locations and even different states. A remarkably large audience saw it and stayed on the Zoom call to discuss it for almost an hour afterwards. The pandemic loomed on unabated but the heart of theater kept beating…
On July 4 I was surprised and ecstatic. I received the following text message from MTAE:
“Mind the Art Entertainment will be presenting The Grace of God & the man machine by Robert Bowie as their opening mainstage production of their 15th season”
We were on again! We were headed for off-Broadway again! After almost a year and a half we were still alive. But then…
On July 27 I received a follow-up message from MTAE: The Delta variant is expected to continue impacting theater openings. This puts theaters back in closure scenarios for the winter.
… We were off again. There would be no opening this fall or coming year. Then yesterday I get this message…
“It looks like we are moving forward. Good. Sending you some project updates this week.”
This play will happen!
I jokingly sent a message back to MTAE
“We are going to Broadway even if I have to go in a coffin!”
I’m sure they laughed because they get it!
These people, for me, have more fortitude and courage than I can imagine. They have brought into light the courage of numerous others who have faced this pandemic with great courage: the overworked healthcare workers, the selfless care givers who have seen the elderly die without loved ones around them, or the deceived who begged for the vaccine too late.
I have been learning that if I can convert the selfishness of my own pain to a selfless understanding of others’ lives, I will be better off. I am trying to learn how to live at the heart of thank you.
All the people at MTAE and The Riant Theater are the heart of theater, and the heart of theater keeps on beating.
The theater for me has always showed me, on stage, who we are. Now the theater has shown me, in real life, what I hope I can learn. I am grateful.