Yesterday, on my Timehop (and yes, I check my Timehop every day), a notice popped up that one year ago today, schools were canceled for the rest of the year. I wrote:
"I am devastated."
What a difference a year makes. While I was devastated and was forced to mourn the losses we were experiencing as a community and the losses the class of 2020 experienced on a devastating scale, little, did I know what a year of going dark would feel like?
Ever since I was 17, I have been directing theatre. I was an addict. I had no time to breathe, no time for family, no time for reflection. In my 18 years of directing, I directed well over 100 productions, often attending multiple rehearsals for different shows in one day. I was sometimes driving all over the Baltimore Beltway to get from venue to venue.
And yet, in 2020, this loss turned into one of the most transformative years of my life. Not only did I take time to pause and reflect on what was truly important to me, but I also began to think about what I truly wanted.
So, as the pages turn on this new chapter, I am a new artist. I am poised for the challenges that lie before all of us and yet invigorated by young people’s tenacity and bravery. You see, after nearly a year of being dark, the auditorium started humming. Filled with hope, possibilities, and dreams, we welcomed these young performers home again. With this renewed passion, I approach working with the next generation of theatre artists and theatre lovers. It is with this renewed passion that I come to the delicateness it takes to tell a story. With this renewed passion, I am finding my place in the world again, in my home, the theatre.
Those who do theatre are better prepared for new inventions, positive risk-taking, building their attention spans and developing a work ethic of which we can all be proud. Through theater, all of these things take place as well as learning history, reading skills and building core confidence in themselves and most of all, realizing that it's okay to dream and everyone has a time when they can "shine".
- Freddie Gershon