ONE month ago, today, I woke up to a number of emails letting me know that the show I was performing in had ended; that the night before was our last performance. The day before this news, my cast mates and I were talking about the fact that Broadway shut down all shows and operations, in New York. When The Bacchae closed, I recall being deeply concerned, worried and feeling like something was taken away from me. Here I was, at one of the most prestigious theaters in the country, working on a show I fell in love with and boom, done. Gone. Just like that.
Here I am now, currently watching the weather in Minneapolis dance between bright & sunny, and dark, cloudy & snowy, grateful to at least still be here, without the worry or concern. Thankfully, given the present circumstances of the country, housing has been extended and made available until July, which brings me immense joy. I admit I had wavering concerns about traveling [to be with family] and risk exposure while en route. I am safe, sane, centered and even more creatively inspired than before things began going awry. My days are spent as they would be if I were on an Artist Retreat: writing, singing, cooking, dancing, reading, etc. The occasional binge-watching, but all that to say that I am whole and happy, keeping my wits about me. At first, I questioned my eerily deeps sense of calm and increased energy, but then I decided to give humbly into the journey and let it guide me where I'm supposed to be. After all, how much does worrying really aid in a situation?
Everyone is waiting. For what, is the true question. For a solution, a vaccine, a return to stability. The floating "new normal" is a concept still so abstract because we have no idea what is to come, though we know what we want...sort of. We are already a changed society - world at large, really - and while the old normal has faded, and the current "normal" is still in mass negotiation, we are all, on some level, looking to the next knowledgable source for answers. Never mind the equal mix of facts and misinformation floating around, regarding COVID-19, which only exacerbates national concern. Every day is a new discovery, a new beam of hope, a new reason to stay in, or extend the waiting. We are all experiencing this for the first time. The best thing to be done in this game of waiting is to stay present, breathe through it, as marquee'd at The Guthrie: Promise This World Your Love.
Okay it seems that it will be a longer length of time before I get to see my family. I am fortunate to be able to see them at all. I am happy to know that we are all safe and surviving. And if waiting a little longer is the biggest sacrifice I have to make, for the sake of safety, then I honestly will accept that with eternal gratitude. Thanks to technology, there are a plethora of ways for us to check-in and converse with one another, so I truly cannot complain. A heartfelt thank you goes to Guthrie Theater and SITI Company for being so exceedingly gracious, generous and insightful with all that is going on. Deeper thanks go to the New Soldiers of this new era: healthcare employees, custodial employees, customer service employees (inclusive of grocery stores, pharmacies, shops), delivery employees, construction employees, technicians, and even those working from home, because you still are taking on a load that you wouldn't otherwise bring home. May you, the reader, and your family/loved ones remain safe, healthy and equipped to get through this. Until soon...
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Donnell E. Smith