I sit and write my final blog post after we’ve finished up final presentations outside Giorgos’ (where I’ve made my home the last month) with a cat in my lap. And I’m feeling a lot of different things right now. In our last few days here in this glorious country – happiness, sadness, fulfillment, anxiety, denial, excitement, and other feelings I can’t even name. But there is one feeling that seems to surface most at the moment and that is gratitude… and the deepest I’ve ever felt at that.
I got the idea for my blog post from a conversation I heard this morning walking between final presentations of my fellow apprentices. It was about last night, or rather, very early this morning. One apprentice decided to give us her presentation late at night (after our second performance) because it involved lying down and gazing at the stars (I will not go into much further detail about it to withhold the sacredness of the experience). The stars have been one of the most special aspects of this trip, because here in the mountains, there’s so little light pollution we can actually SEE them. Let me tell you, the first night here when I saw them (after having gone years without that sight) I nearly cried.
However, unlike many others here, I had yet to see a shooting star and I was starting to think it wouldn’t happen. So last night, laying under the vast sky and giant mountains with my favorite people, not only did I catch one, I got several and these people I’ve grown to love so much saw them with me. I counted seven that night.
Anyway, back to this morning’s conversation. It turns out the stars were part of a meteor shower (which made it even cooler). But then Estelle, a company member and one of the people conversing, mentioned something about shooting starts that practically exploded my heart. You know that the whole thing that we’re supposed to make a wish when we see shooting stars because they grant their wishes? Well, I can’t quote Estelle perfectly, but she basically took that idea (myth?) one step further, saying that wishes are the shooting stars way of saying to us, “Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for seeing my fleeting brightness.”
And of course upon hearing this my mind was blown and my heart swelled and I didn’t even try, I automatically thought about my experience here and the art we’ve made. And later that day, when another fellow apprentice made a presentation about the beautiful ephemerality of the art we made, I of course thought of what Estelle said about shooting stars and everything clicked.
The idea of being a star (sorry about all these tangents) in theatre has been weird for me because I’ve often associated it with ego (and not necessarily the good kind). I’ve never wanted to consider myself as someone who shines because it made me feel selfish and the art I make isn’t about me, it’s about something much bigger than me. But it’s so clear that this program has shown me the star-like brightness in the giving wholeheartedly of myself and my support to something outside of myself. And I have seen how much all the other artists here have shined in that way. And I think of how much energy it must take to shine that hard for stars and people and I’m reminded that in art we give so much to things that don’t last very long. The brightness is blinding, but fleeting. Just like shooting stars. But, like shooting stars, give us wishes (assuming we believe in their power to do so). We artists give our audience so many beautiful things (often what they wish for), because we, too, want to stay thank you for seeing me. Thank you for seeing me shine unapologetically and letting me do so. (Yay, finally I got to the point of all of this.)
And so I return full circle to the fleeting gratitude – for everyone and everything. Thank you for encouraging me to shine and helping me to see the brightness in myself. Thank you for teaching me things I never knew before and including me in the creation of something truly beautiful. Thank you for being my family and my home. Thank you Ianthe, Jackie, Natalie, Bryony, Kevin, Georgia, Heather, Richard, Danny, Nicole, Ethan, Estele, Agelita & Spiros, Olivia, Tatiana, Meropi, Jess, Amy, Anisha, Aniya, Andrea, Aislinn, Diane, Kate, Karen, Savannah, Steven, Liam, Lukas, the mountains, the animals, the trees, the flowers, the water and all of the people who live here that I’ve met and befriended, especially the people of Papingo who have taken us in like family. I love you all. This experience may have been as quick as a shooting star, but (at the risk of sounding cheesy) it will mean everything to me forever.