when I found myself in the village of Boxes, just south of Boulder, Colorado.
I had stopped there, intending to stay only a little while. It didn’t work out that way.
The village was populated by ghastly, inhuman residents with the power to trap and hold me for days on end.
What I saw at first as I slowly surveyed my surroundings was Boring. No design committee had been at work here. Every structure had the same dull brown siding. The only variances—size and signage.
From small to large, each boasted a hand-lettered sign on the front, identifying the wares to be found inside. A tall garment house. A small store of cosmetics/personal items. Even one named Memories. Office Supplies. Food. Seasonal clothing. Kitchen appliances. Pantry items. Everything a person would need.
The seemingly endless array quickly became overwhelming. Yet I felt myself forced into spending more time there. One day followed another in hours of dark monotony. I wanted to be done with it.
Finally, the clouds lifted and I saw before me a sign pointing to a now-open highway.
I didn’t look back as I left. I had learned the hard-truth bottom line:
It takes a village to move a person in a New Direction.
The two actors stood stage left, on an otherwise empty stage.
One asked the other, “What do you get when you put a spider together with an ear of corn? (*Find out at end of blog)
The answer drew hoots and cheers from the audience watching a sold-out performance of How to eat like a child—and other lessons in how not to be a grown up (Based on a book by Delia Ephron).
But there was a more intriguing question behind and underlying the entertainment. What do you get when you put young people with special needs together with middle and high school students who are passionate about theatre?
The answer is CenterStage’s Tapestry Theatre Company (CSTC), in Louisville, Colorado.
CSTC is the brainchild of Elizabeth Goodrich, a special ed teacher and member of the Board of Directors of CenterStage, and Lynne Niston, a special needs paraprofessional. Each has a long standing interest in theater as part of the arts and both were initially members of other theatre groups. Through their professional and personal interests, they became aware of groups around the world that cast individuals with special needs in theatre productions. Then six years ago Ms. Goodrich and Ms. Niston put their heads, hearts and talents together and started Tapestry.
A Different Kind of Theatre Company
CenterStage’s Tapestry Theatre casts actors with special needs, ages 11 and up in lead roles. Peer mentor actors are partnered with them as understudies and support. They work together during rehearsals and appear together on stage during performances.
I have been attending their amazing, talented, heart-opening productions for the past four years. In the interests of full disclosure, one of my grandsons is a Tapestry peer mentor. That’s how I learned about this unusual company.
As their website (centerstagetheatrecompany.org) explains: “Tapestry Theatre provides actors with an opportunity to participate in Theatre that is safe, welcoming and adaptive and inclusive. This creates a community that encourages youth to experience diversity and forge long-lasting friendships, culminating in high quality musical productions.”
Tapestry is not affiliated with any other theatre groups. As part of CenterStage, it receives support from various community organizations, including the Association for Community Living, which is part of The ARC; The National Endowment for the Arts; the Boulder County Arts Alliance; and the City of Louisville.
Originally the intent of the two directors was to provide involvement to individuals with special needs through the age of 21—the age when school services end. However, they have now started a young adult program and have also expanded their performances to include multi-generational and multi-ability casts.
Ms. Goodrich is passionate about the results she sees. “Our mentors bring an openness to relationships with people of all abilities and an understanding that persons with special needs have valuable gifts or talents that are most often overlooked.
“Mentors not just there to share their own talents, they are there to receive those gifts. Understanding this can lead to a breakthrough in changing society. It is what is so magical about what we are doing.”
Shakespeare Got It
In penning his play, “As You Like it,” Shakespeare included this line: “ All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” In directing Tapestry, Ms. Goodrich knows how she would like it. “It is my hope that beyond entertaining our audience, our performances will open doors past theatre into everyday life for people of all abilities.”
I applaud that thought and all that Tapestry is accomplishing.
*Answer to the riddle: A cobweb.
Oldest Daughters: what to know if you are one or have ever been bossed around by one (Rudzik Press, 2017) is available at Amazon.com, Kindle.com and select book stores. For more information, go to http://oldestdaughter.com
After posting my Memorial Day weekend blog yesterday, a sharp-eyed reader raised a question about one of the pictures. The picture (the one above) was smaller in yesterday’s blog. Nevertheless, the reader was certain she recognized the location and event. She was correct.
Celebration at the Station
The photo was taken a few years ago at the Kansas City Symphony’s annual, patriotic “Celebration at the Station.” The location is the Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, and the “Celebration” is appropriately performed just down the hill from the National Museum and Memorial to World War I. Here’s a little more info:
The “Liberty Memorial”
Opened to the public in 1926 as the “Liberty Memorial,” (and still known by that name), it was designated by the United States Congress in 2006 as America’s official museum dedicated to World War I. https://www.theworldwar.org
The concert tomorrow (May 28, 2017) will mark the 15th Celebration at the Station.
Whether you are lucky enough to be there to enjoy the concert or will be elsewhere celebrating this kickoff to summer 2017 —
Happy Memorial Day!
ICYMI, you can find yesterday’s blog at http://oldestdaughter.com , then follow the navigation guide at the top to “Blog.” And as that blog suggested, If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.
The response to her husband surprised me. He had called from the downstairs great room where we were sitting to his wife who was upstairs in their bedroom.
“We’re supposed to be there in 15 minutes. Think we’ll make it?”“I’m very almost ready,” she called back.
He chuckled. So did I.
It was an answer I immediately committed to memory. I loved the wording. Much better than what’s been said so often that no spouse believes it — “Just a few minutes more.” A vast improvement over the honest, but negative, “Not quite.”
Filled with hope.
I have begun to use this combination of of words in a variety of situations. Sometimes to describe actual progress. Other times to describe feelings.
I’m very almost finished writing my book. I’m very almost finished with Christmas shopping.
Or I’m very almost in love with you.” (That might not have been what my future husband wanted to hear when our dating became serious.)
Now I’m wanting to say, I’m very almost done with all the political talk on television, requests to write to my congressman, or (most often) send a contribution. Very almost.
I believe it’s still important to stay tuned in, to become/remain informed.But am I willing to do more than that?
To be out front or take a stand with others? To weather a storm of possible personal reactions?
Those who study such things say that oldest daughters are leaders, influencers. In our families and often beyond.
I’m very almost ready to decide what, if anything, the oldest-daughter side of me will do.