When a great movie or TV show is created, the world has a treasure.
When we create moments of live delight, the world has hope.
Now, as much as ever, the world needs hope.
So, for our showing up live tonight, let’s give each other a round of applause.
When I remember quitting my job in May, I remember feeling cramped, alone, and in the dark. My back was to the door and my knees hit the underside of the table my supervisor and I sat at. There were windows in the room, but my memory has the shades drawn. I spoke quietly and slowly, hardly believing what I was doing. At the end of outlining all of my reasons for leaving the organization, I was told my resignation wouldn’t be accepted. Even in my leaving, my supervisor discredited my voice, my decisions, my feelings. I didn’t leave feeling hopeful for that organization or for my future in Portland.
Which made it the best time to hear the words above.
While I frantically applied for jobs by day, I kept an ear out for theatre things to do during my nights. With that reframe of my (relatively) unexpected unemployment, I met Matt Haynes at the Theatre Vertigo season premiere party.
While I ate a bunch of crackers and veggies, remembering that I get really anxious when talking to new people, Matt, a self-proclaimed “engineer of delight”, struck up a conversation with me that carried us into the theatre and out of it. We talked about plays we liked and where we were from, how I like jumping in puddles and love being Italian, and how he has a theatre company, Pulp Stage, that’s a little like karaoke and a little like one of my favorite plays, A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters.
The concept is pretty simple. Thematically, the play has to be sci-fi, suspense, or pulp fiction-y. There’s no stage directions and no props. You should be able to act this play after dinner with a few of your friends off an iPad or phone.
I’ve been part of the volunteer reading group these past few weeks. We read a play off of the National New Play Network or a play someone in the company has been working on and then we talk about it. What about it works or could work for Pulp? Why doesn’t it? What kind of questions would we want to ask the playwright? All of those dramaturgical and development questions that I love. But it’s also been really fun acting in this context. I’ve played the Ghost of Christmas Past, a robot who doesn’t know she’s a robot who’s on a date with… (you guessed it!) a robot, and woman who’s a conjoined twin trying to get out of a dressing room. To make it even sweeter, we end each night with the reflection at the top of this post.
When I’m at Pulp Stage, I have a lot of hope. I have a lot of hope that this city is the right one for me to be in, despite some unexpected challenges in this first year. It’s the hope that I’ll be able to keep making theatre and that I’ll become an engineer delight too.
Cover photo by Rio and is borrowed from the Pulp Stage website.