Eaton Rapids & Albion MI

So I finally got to say, without irony, “we’re putting on a show in the old barn!”

L to R, top/bottom: arrival at Millers Dairy Farm in Eaton Rapids (which is also an ice cream parlor-!); the gorgeous interior; entrance to barn, Jessie prepares in doorway (surreptitious photo by castmate).

So, look. I drafted half a post about the barn show in Eaton Rapids, and the quaint country loveliness of the town, and the cute ice cream parlor attached to the barn, and the 1870 schoolhouse and blacksmith quarters and the really really good cake made by someone named Jeremy that had lemon curd in it… and how the quaint country lovely town had quaint country Trump/Pence signs and confederate flags here and there, but the (older, white) crowd seemed  politically mixed and they responded well and sincerely and emotionally (if politely and quietly) to the show…

… but then I deleted most of it.  Because we played tonight in a school cafeteria in Albion MI in front of a vibrant, enthusiastic, emotionally available, racially diverse, vocal and passionate crowd, a mix of local college theatre students and older community members all or most of whom had lived through , well, Sweat, basically, and an older Africam -American gentleman raised his hand at the talkback and said this,  fighting to speak through emotion, and now I kind of feel like it’s the only thing that really matters:

I didn’t know, until I saw this play tonight,  that I was angry about the plant closing and losing my job years ago. And it’s a dangerous thing, to be angry, and to not know you’re angry. Cause then it’s easy to take it out on someone, to blame someone else. And I didn’t want to come tonight; my wife dragged me {huge laugh}, but watching it now I realize how I felt, and that I’m angry.  And I didn’t say it to anyone, all that time, not to my wife, not to anyone, that I was angry about it. And now … I feel better.

Honorable mention also to our first Latina voice in the talkback, who talked about feeling invisible because, you know, often its either about being black or white, but I’m Hispanic… and about how shocked she was when someone recently (!) asked her, “Why are you so brown?”  Her response: ” I spend a lot of time outside.”

 

Birthday cake by someone named I believe Alexandria, playing space in Marshall Opportunity High School Cafeteria; arrival at the school

There is so so much more I could say about tonight, including the private triumph that was FINALLY letting go of some of the self-conscious garbage I was still carrying around and contacting the magic of simply listening to and living out something with my amazing castmates onstage, but it’s hard to put that in words, even when you aren’t emotionally drained, sleepy, and packing to fly to Minnesota. So I’ll just keep saying thank you for this whole thing and that’s all I got.

Except for this.

lansingwildturkey

             A wild turkey (for real) approaches the tour bus in the parking lot. 

See you in Minnesota. No turkey.

Love,

Rebecca

 

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