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      T18729 copyTonight was to have been the opening night of our production of ALMOST, MAINE. Nearly 20 actors and crew would present a charming, wistful, humorous evening of good theatre. When the virus broke out it indeed seemed like something that was happening and would only happen somewhere else, but not here. Then a cruise ship in San Francisco. Then a doctor. Then a report of a positive test. And another. And then more. And though the “more” increased fairly rapidly, it was still somewhere else.

      thom444The question “How do we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137) still haunts me. In the last few weeks, this is the very question we have asked ourselves over and over throughout the choral community and in a variety of ways as we wonder “how,” in a practical way, we are to sing anything in this newly found “strange land” caused by a worldwide pandemic, and “how,” in a spiritual way, can we sing anything in this time of despair and hopelessness. . . .

      b29We would have been in final dress rehearsals for ALMOST, MAINE now. So, I'm thinking about the play and about the playwright, John Cariani. He includes notes of all sorts with the script--on punctuation, on place, on the northern lights, on the people, on cast size and ages. He obviously thinks a lot about this sort of thing. Here is one I think we could use in our everyday life. In the script, sometimes you see dialogue in brackets. [like this] The character does not say these words. It is a guide to what the character leaves unsaid.

      thgom1It's been a bit overwhelming of late to suddenly become the most famous person in the U.S. Honestly, it is not something I dreamed of or even aspired to either as I was growing up or during my adult years. OK, well, yes, there are a few times that I might wish I were famous just so people would listen to me and be more apt to pay attention to the things that I could crawl up on a soap box and shout about: things like not using one-use plastic, and eating organic, and getting kids out of foster care, and voting for people who respect science realizing that we are destroying the earth and must do something to stop doing so. Y'know, just things like that. Things like music and the arts need to be in our schools with a high priority, and live theatre can generate the kinds of dialogue that challenge and change for the better, and there really is no such person as the “other” and we can/we must welcome all with respect and meaningful hospitality, and our differences are something to embrace not fear. Y'know, just things like that.

      t99I got up this morning and put on a pair of fuzzy colorful striped socks. I guess I thought that would make my feet happy. But I quickly realized that it wasn't for my feet at all. It was to conjure up the sock dog. And, of course, the sock dog asks questions.. [By now readers fear for my sanity if they don't recognize the sock dog from Every Brilliant Thing.]

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