Today we open Now. Here. This. It’s exciting, scary, fun, nerve-wrecking, and joyful. I’ve spent the past three months working intensely with this group of people. Revising dialogue down to the “five minute till show” call, rewriting around the green room table after a performance, or falling asleep during late night Skype calls. In the spirit of the show, I’ve tried to live in these moments, take note of them, be entirely present and feel everything that comes up within that moment, no matter how hard or fleeting it may be. And, much like Thomas Merton states in his theory, when you do get to the intersection of Now Here This, there is happiness. There is presentness. There is life.
I made mental notes of the moments in which I captured the now, here, this of “Now. Here. This.,” but wrote only one of them down. It was a moment from back in January, when we spent a week living and writing together up at a house in CT. A house we only left to by groceries, go to the gym, and shovel the driveway during a snowstorm. We wrote intensely while sitting on the living room couch, on beds, and jamming on keyboards that were set atop ironing boards. I clocked a few moments over the course of that week, but this one remains one of my favorites:
The moment I felt it all hit me was during a read-through we had on Saturday. I was on lunch duty, chopping up strawberries and watching the snow fall through the kitchen window. Behind me I heard four voices singing a song with Larry on keyboard. It was a song only about seven people have heard, but thousands more will soon here. I stopped chopping for a second. I felt the physical weight of the moment, of how calm I felt, how happy; how beautiful those voices and music/lyrics sounded. I heard Michael tapping away at the keys on his computer, and Heidi laugh, midsong, at a joke Hunter made; I smelled the fragrant sweetness of the strawberries. The song ended and I let the moment go with it, flying away at the speed of sound.
I’ve learned so much from this experience — things that fall well beyond the scope of simply working on a piece of theater. I’ve found a group of people I love and trust and who love and trust me. In these three months, I’ve grown and changed almost as much as this show has. It’s thrilling, exhausting, exciting, hot-making, extraordinary, and incredibly fulfilling. I’ve also learned that old Trappist monk Thomas Merton was right when he wrote:
“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself.”