Calling Out...

Our production of  Green Day's American Idiot opens tomorrow night. These are the director's notes from the program. They are the result of whatever's been banging around in my brain for a while now. Read them here...or don't. Read them at the show. I hope you do that. It'd be great if y'all came...and I'm sure you will. Probably every single reader...Which is either a condemnation of my readership or my audience draw, you decide.

Director Blah Blah

We live in a world that is sweating…and forgot to take a shower. Is it global warming or a fever dream? It is hard to tell when we went to sleep, but we’ve been down awhile, at least since September. Sometimes we might think we’re awake…sometimes it might feel like growth, but then you look around and don’t recognize where you are, how you got here, and you realize that the breath of air, that hint of something you thought was fresh, you thought you had caught, was really just the cool side of the pillow and your arm has fallen asleep underneath your head.

For a summer musical we wanted to talk about a world so radically out of balance that our mission, only just over a year old, feels not only impossible, but somewhat unrecognizable. The news, fake or not, outpaced our ability to integrate our thoughts and feelings. 

But this isn’t new…and this is the point.

It’s coming up on 2 years and we’re still surprised by the behavior of an unprecedented President. 

It’s coming up on 17 years and we’ve got a new tower but we’re still standing to Bless America instead of getting back to when we could just root root root for the home team at the baseball game.

It’s coming up on 80 years but would anyone be surprised if one morning you looked out on a street of broken glass?

It’s coming up on 160 years and we’re still measuring the value of humans relative to our own and none of it is new. But with every added layer and iteration of repetitive history the mystic chords of memory are thinner stretched and our better angels are harder and harder to find. 

 

This is the story, disconnected and dislocated, of the kids of war and peace. They’ve grown up never knowing a world where any of our problems couldn’t be solved by an armed occupation and positive rhetoric. They came of age under the drone of depersonalized combat and active shooter drills at the daycare. Is it any wonder that they don’t know how to be? They may not know what they want but they know that they want to come home.

JustArt Theatricals is committed to creating works that seeks balance in an unsteady world. We made this show with that heartfelt wish. This isn’t about assigning blame. It is our darkest selves that look outward at the Moms and Brads, or the media, or sex and drugs and rock n’ roll, or the tv or the movies or the President… and lay blame. 

We’re not calling out the American Idiot, we’re calling out to Idiot America. Desperate to hear the call returned by voices who, try as they might, can’t seem to make themselves heard.

Here they come, marching down the street, like the desperation murmur of a heartbeat, these sons and daughters of rage and love, and if all we will give them is the 7-11 center of the earth, they’ll know that the motto is a lie, they may feel isolated, they may feel abandoned, they may feel bullied…they may think they walk alone, but after they’ve battered their way through, coming out bruised or bruiser, they will still come home. 

Thank you for witnessing this waking, because 

Are we? We are, the waiting. 

And if we keep raging, and if we keep loving, 

when September finally ends we may finally wake up.

The Best...

This is the best thing...the best thing I've seen in a while. Maybe ever? Yeah...I think maybe ever. This is the best standup comedy I've maybe ever seen. This is among the finest solo performances I can remember ever seeing. I'm really late to this party, and I know that...but I've got excuses and kids and a show coming up and this is the first time I've had a minute to watch something. 

It is a pat sort of weird sort of cliche to say you've laughed and you've cried. But this genius made me laugh, realize what was being said was absolutely gutting and that she was crying and then I was crying then she said something hilarious but didn't stop crying herself so I didn't know what to do...

and then she told me that was the point...and it was good for me...and she was right. 

Just watch the thing...

I'm so glad that I did and I will do it again and again...and I will try to get every student I teach to watch it...