Saturday morning, I found myself standing in an all too familiar spot: a circle. Stepping back a few steps so I could see everyone's face, I found a couple of new ones. A couple new degrees of separation in this giant, small network of theatre artists I'm lucky to be apart of. It wasn't long before we recklessly jumped into something entirely physically exhausting. I was filled with joy when there wasn't an ounce of hesitancy in the room. Laughs filled the room as all of us "friends" threw ourselves at something that the ITW ensemble has been doing everyday. I, for one, couldn't really keep it together. Making a theatre company was happening right in front of my eyes. The weekend was filled with a lot of those moments for me. Moments of shock and disbelief came and went as my friends made something I always thought only the grown ups did. We're on an island making a piece of theatre and it might not even work at all. That risk is in the work and that risk fills that barn with a spirit. Obviously, it was contagious. I think that energy is best felt in a tradition that has established for the ITW ensemble: a toast before each meal. No matter the liquid, no matter the day, a toast is made. Anyone can do it and they can toast to anything they'd like. This moment of appreciation and gratitude is essential. It brings the group of artists on the island that day (and it has certainly been switching up constantly) right to each other. It is celebratory, social, and something they recognize and love. In this endeavor to be the grown up artists we've always wanted to be, we happily remind ourselves that this whole thing, afer all, is really, really fun. I'm lucky to play. This whole ensemble is incredibly lucky to play everyday out on that island and they are having a lot of fun doing it. In my bouts of doubt in theatre, the thing that I'm always reminded I want to share with the world about this art form is just how much fun it is! A spirit of play is at the heart of effective storytelling, so we can't help but dive into that feeling whenever we can. It feeds the work. It is the work. I have a big blank page in my mind for ITW. It can be anything it wants to be. I think this photo of ensemble member, Annika, with the wide blue ocean behind her puts it perfectly: we've got a lot ahead of us! We're young and we're silly and we want to tell some good stories. I can't wait.
Founding Connectivity Director
📸 Jonathan Taylor and Vena Johnson perform an improvisational duet together during the weekend.