Monday, May 13, 2013

the actors' gift

Our Town lives!

with middle schoolers,
just as with me,
the sublime and the ridiculous
are the two faces of the coin of each moment,
the sacred and the profane both spin
and can manifest at this moment or that,

such mercurial intensity is challenging,

the school year is unwinding to a close
and our worst sides can slip out of us,
we can know no center, only impulse,
so what else do some of us do at this time,
when dissolution calls so strongly to us?

we put on the play, Our Town,
and the kids push the limits of what’s possible 
in understanding and expressing character and story
well enough to risk acting and reacting true and full,
like putting on a costume
each becomes the character
and lives that way life comes at them
and the way they come back at life,

a play is born,
each part alive, growing, 
pushing to be seen and appreciated,
and each feeling the larger fabric come together
as each of their threads connects and holds 
the coming fabric that aches to be,
I look in each of their faces
and I see a wholeness that will be released,

when we watch them on stage building and releasing the story
they hope to know well enough that they can reveal it to us,

we in the audience become better through our knowing the actors’ gift:
the way out to the play becomes the way in to the world 
we know when we are at our best.

by Henry H. Walker
May 8, ’13


Spaulding said...

What an excellent production and a beautiful poem. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Well done!

Anonymous said...

I remember being an actor in "Our Town" when I was a high school sophomore and how much I love it and how profound an experience it was. What a remarkable play! I saw it again a couple of times, the latest at Flatrock Playhouse in Hendersonville, NC. It remains one of the most powerful plays in my experience. I wish I had seen your production!

Good thoughts in the poem!


Mountain Class said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa C. said...

Thanks, Henry, for always going deeper and pointing out the truth that always emerges when kids and teachers come together for a shared purpose.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this and everything you did, Henry!