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      JUST SHOW UP by Thomas Putnam

      jsu“Just show up.” 

      Next to “Make your bed every morning,” “Just Show Up” has become top on my list of good advice. Advice that I give others; and advice that I'm offering to myself. “Just Show Up.” The last 16 months have opened our eyes so that we're looking at things more clearly, or perhaps we just looking at things more. I've also found that sometimes it's just plain hard to look at things.

      I've found that there are times when I just don't want to do anything. I think some people call this depression. I think some people call this being lazy. I think some people call this arrogance. I've finally been able to simply call it reality. I tell myself this is a result of the last 16 months; of not being able to gather with other bodies/voices/eyes; of not being able to do the work I've been doing for 30 years. Couple all that with some medical issues and some family stressors and I simply call it reality.

      But “Just Show Up” keeps showing up. And recently I've just showed up. A few days ago I showed up at the first rehearsal for a show we're re-producing, Ring of Fire. I was tired and unprepared and wondering if anyone else would just show up and wondering if this was such a bright idea. I showed up and was treated to two plus hours of nine committed, talented, fun people singing Johnny Cash songs, a bit roughly, but delightfully. I was glad I just showed up.

      This past Tuesday we had our first day of HG's theatre arts camp. A new location. A new date. A new format. Way fewer campers than normal. I just showed up at the Whitneyville Fairgrounds and was treated to six hours of campers who wanted to be there, who love theatre arts, who love. I have worked with all but one of them, and hadn't seen most of them since our last camp well over 16 months ago. Each day this week I've just showed up and I have been glad I did.

      We're opening a play tonight: A Midsummer Night's Entertainment. It wasn't planned. Less than six weeks ago we decided that since our regular programming has been so weird and random these past 16 months that we could do something fun and fairly easy to produce and with some talented people. I asked the individual cast members if they'd be in the show. We put it all together earlier this week. I was treated to seven actors who have committed to providing a fun midsummer night's entertainment for people this weekend. Who knows how many community members will enjoy this, but even after a full day at camp and even with the aforementioned family and medical issues, I am very glad I just showed up. 

      This Saturday and Sunday there are auditions for a comedy we're producing in October. Titus Himmelberger is directing; his first time. He's showing up. I hope others will just show up. Who knows what will happen when we just show up; that's the fun part. Our summer intern Tim has been offering sessions all about the art of theatrical improv at camp; just showing up is the baseline for improv—in theatre and in life. Where it all will go we haven't a clue, but just showing up is the first step.  

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