Thursday, April 5, 2012


Alright, just to get it out of the way, this post is not about the bosom heaving, sighing away the hours in the arms of a talented lover with whom I have such intense physical chemistry that I lose time and a sweat away a few pounds kind of passion. THAT is N.O.Y.B and while what is written below might contain enough sentiment* to be written to just such a lover, it is about a very different sort of passion...*you've been's full of it, and some parts are downright gooey, but I do mean every word.
I always sort of thought that if I ever managed to be lucky enough to stumble across my passion, it would be in the pages of a novel I was writing or on a canvas I was painting.  I thought maybe I’d find it somewhere hidden in a mountain cabin after months of quiet, contemplative solitude.  Instead I found it smack in the middle of the town square, the air filled with the sound of a half dozen beating drums, shouting at the top of my lungs to a crowd of a hundred people, with dancers, jugglers, singers and fire spinners standing behind me waiting to entertain them, “Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight we present to you....”

Passion is a difficult thing to explain. It is different than obsession with its all consuming nature, taking without any sort of return.  Obsession depletes but passion gives back.  Passion is at once a feeling and a thing.  It is symbiotic; its energy is increased by its self fueled creation.  

It is this passion that drives me to stay up late at night rewriting a press kit, updating a website, entering name after name into a mailing list database or negotiating a booking contract.  It is what brings ideas into my mind for show themes, scene introductions, or skit ideas and it gives me the commitment to write them down, flesh them out and eventually bring them to life on a stage.  

Passion gives back.   It is in the joy I feel when a performer pushes their limits and succeeds at something they never thought they could do.  It is in the excitement that comes with hearing music played and realizing that this unexpected grouping of musicians has become a band.  It’s in that thrilling moment when the lights are dark, the crowd is waiting and I know that with the next breath I’ll be stepping out on to the stage.  

I wonder sometimes what exactly made this so different from the other places in which I have sought passion or purpose.  I love to write and do so often, but if it’s late and I’m tired or frustrated I’ll eagerly put it off until another day so that I can climb beneath the covers and snooze.  Yet two nights ago, with little sleep the night before, I was up until nearly 1:00 in the morning, happily working out set lists. And is isn’t that I don’t have moments of exhaustion, frustration, or doubt.  Oh, I have them, I do; but they are just that, moments...and moments pass.  

Maybe it’s in the people who are a part of this.  When I step back and look at this creative and talented group of performers that have come together to make this idea come to life I feel awe and inspiration.  They dance, twirl and juggle their way across the stage bringing music and song to life and in response the audience laughs, stomps their feet, claps their hands and sometimes even arises to dance themselves.  I’ve had the pleasure of watching many of them grow in their art, step outside of their comfort zones and try things they never thought possible which has in turn, pushed me into new creative territory.  

It could be in the creative exchange.  The sharing and mutual development of ideas and the room for them to grow. Music that is written for a particular performer, a skit that is written to bring out another’s talent for physical comedy, space that is provided for a solitary dancer to tell the story in her heart, or a musician who finds himself brought from the behind the scenes to center stage and unexpectedly finds he is comfortable there.

We are still very small in so many ways, but we have come far.  What was once just a street show has made it’s way to the stage and beyond.  Though we are not very well known outside of our state, that is changing steadily. We are traveling to three other states for performances this year.  This is something that back in 2008, when this all began, I’m not sure would have even occurred to me as even being possible.

...I have this vision sometimes, many years in the future, where a group of us who were here now but much, much older, are standing at the back of a theater watching the house lights go down over a full house.  It won’t be the first time we’ve done this, watching a show from the audience side of the stage; we will have passed the performing torch on to others many years before but we are still here, still involved.  How could we ever stop really?. Yet, though we may not be on the stage, as the lights dim we still feel that familiar pause in our breath, that quiver in our stomachs that says, the show is about to begin.  The spot light will come up and solitary figure in a top hat will walk out, he or she will be younger than most of us are now, and begin to tell the audience of the journey they will be taken on that night...

You can be sure that I’m not doing this without a plan, and yes, I’ve big hopes for us, but in many ways I’ve no idea where this is going to end up.  I know that I am terribly lucky to be a part of it and I know that I’m on board for however long it lasts. And I do believe it is going somewhere great.  Where ever this passion brings me, and where ever we may end up, I’m so very, very grateful to be here now.  

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