Medora is pretty much where it wants to be right now–I distributed it widely and am waiting for my friends to give me feedback.
So I’m jumping into another “chapter”: Narroway Productions, “The Broadway of Christian Entertainment,” in South Carolina. On the former grounds of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s PTL ministry, oh yes.
What remains remarkable about my experience at Narroway isn’t the play. Not even the bizarre, picturesquely rotting grounds of the former Christian Disneyworld, Heritage U.S.A. What sticks is my encounter with Rebecca Martin and Yvonne “Birdie” Clark, Director and Musical Director of Narroway, and our conversation, sitting late into the night into the empty amphitheater where they do their Passion Plays.
We talked about art and theater and our backgrounds, and we just–clicked. Spiritually, we met each other and connected. It sounds odd, cheesy or dramatic or something, when I try to describe it, how powerful it was–but it’s true. I was ringing like a bell for three days after our meeting.
So tonight I’ve been reviewing the transcription of our talk, and came across one of the best things Rebecca says, which was possibly one of the best things anyone has ever said to me about performing; the moment when I knew I wouldn’t have the safe cushion of a liberal snicker,that these women were truly special.
I think the reasons actors respond to [doing theater]–I really have a philosophy on that, and that is: I think what you and I do in real life is acting–you know, with you being a reporter or someone who’s going to write a story, I’m acting a little bit in front of you and I can’t let my guard down, you can’t let your guard down in front of me, you’re acting, and we do that, we have to do that, there are certain expectations you have of me, I know that, and so I try and fulfill those expectations.
“What we do in real life is acting…and people are tired of that pressure. And when our cast comes in, what we try and tell them to do, is be yourself—people think you’re acting. Be yourself, be everything you’ve ever wanted to be, do all the things you ever wanted to have the authority and the freedom to do, and just imagine yourself in that character, imagine yourself back in that time, and just—you know–
“If you’re singing and you want to raise your hands, or if you want to do something, then, it is an empowering thing, you can be really who you are, because people think you’re acting.”