Gratitude and Thankfulness
Nina Foxx's Just Short of Crazy was an amazing success, far beyond anything I could have imagined. Thank you all of the people who supported the effort, either through the IndieGoGo Campaign, through direct contributions or by putting their body in a seat. Over 500 people did.
There was actually one person who came every night and brought a different person with him each night, and no, he was not a relative. There were people who bought a copy of every book I had. There were companies who donated food so my talent could eat during long rehearsals, and others who donated money for concessions. Thanks to Starbucks Coffee Company, Ezell's Famous Chicken, Weichert Realtors, The City of Seattle Arts/Langston Hughes Institute (building grant) and our presenting sponsor, The Paul & SallyJanowitz family. With your help, I was able to bring a message of positive self worth and female empowerment and draw attention to the issue of domestic abuse in our communities in an entertaining manner.
As an artist, the world you create within your head makes sense to you, but you are never sure about how it will land with others. When the curtain goes up or the first page is turned, you stand naked before the world. On opening night, I sat in the directors chair literally shaking in my shoes. And the audience saw what I saw. The cheers, laughter and the tears made me grateful for and overwhelmed by the storytelling ability and that I have been given and the production skills I have learned, and humbled by the talent of my team. Every night, before the curtain went up, I was still unsure that the audience would come with me on the journey through Ayzah Brown's world.
On Monday morning, when the theater went dark, I received a message from a fellow author that I didn't even know was in the audience. I imagined him poking his lip out as he told me that I had him in his feelings". He related a story about how a woman he'd loved broke up with him because his job wasn't fancy enough, just as the women in the story were discussing. He felt that I had put some really ugly issues in our community in our faces and made the audience look closely. Sexual harassment, talented women of color leaving corporate jobs to do their own things, domestic abuse, our opinions about whom we should marry and judging people by their titles rather than their self worth. The main characters Could not get it together until they figured out that other people and more things weren't going to make them happy. He said that he didn't know that all that was in the book that the play was based on.
I laughed, but was finally able to relax, and assured him that that had been in the book but no one could tell it at first glance because they'd wrapped it a pink and polka dot cover.
I learned a lot on this journey, about the industry and about myself. Sometimes, you really do have to do things for yourself. Yes, it is incredibly hard, but the experience of the journey is well worth it. No one is going to tell our stories like we do. As Alma Davenport (producer/stage manager) put it, "Sometimes YOU have to be the old white man in the scarf." Ayzah Brown, one of the main characters summed it up in the last line of the play, and the music said the rest.
"God will carry you."
"God helps those who help themselves."