The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The rest is...

Finished. Rough cut. Whole durn thing. A few places I need to fix yet - vocal tracks, a few little camera glitches, and whatnots - but more or less, done. I was a lot giddier before, but my body's reminding me that what makes it giddy is sleep. To which we will shortly succumb.

Because, yes, precious, life is so very, very good. The boys thrilled me, so that with confidence I can declare, "fo' shizzle, my nizzles, we pwn mad nubes." (Although the correct punctuation rather ruins the effect, non?) No - 'tis good. Better than good, great. I'm finally psyched about the actuality of Guys and Dolls. This, mes cheres et mesdemoiselles, will be good.

And I realized, as I did the dishes this evening, inbetween watching with mia familia Act V and various other bits of Hamlet, that the grieving and post-play for this show has been deeper and more long-lasting than I had thought. But then, I've been living with this show in my head for over a decade. And, even above and beyond how excellent the play was...last summer was what life should be. There was something there, blessed. Full of grace. It's a rare show that transcends the boundaries of rehearsal room and stage. I'm not sure I'm fully done grieving for the end of Hamlet, but I think I'm reaching a sort of peace with it.

Isn't it odd? We build these little worlds, and nourish them, and live in them, and play in them, and make them shine and sparkle for a few brief hours for our delight and the delight of others, and then we experience a thousand little deaths with the close of each show. I suppose that's why what I love best is first night out on Fridays - to Friday's most often, God bless the wait staff! - because the world is still vibrant, the close is yet to come, we've finally woken to the wonder of the time we've been given, we know that is it so very, very good. On that night, that first night out, we kind of float - buoyed up by our communal participation in what is, frankly, miraculous (I've rarely seen a show that ought to turn out as well as it turns out opening night - it's always off-kilter right up until the moment it all comes new at last). We cherish. We live in the ever-present and yet all-too-fleeing now, and taste a little of the eternal joy. It is good.

So, why Hamlet? I mean, why does it mean so much to me? In part, certainly, the decade or more waiting, thinking, pondering, cherishing; in part the frustration with having the cast and being denied (during the year) to put it on (although thank God for His better judgement!); in part for the majesty of the work itself, both on-page and in life; in part for the great goodness that is every beloved person who joined in for Gaudete; and in part - yes, in large part, I think - because the story that Hamlet tells is simply true. ("She would find a language that was truer than others.")

I wept last night, as I only weep for Sam's carrying Frodo up the mountain, and Christ in His passion, and for Jean Valjean and Eponine's deaths - as I wept after this summer - because as I edited together Horatia's final speech it struck me: the whole play, we were watching these characters, these people step closer and closer, inevitably, inexorably to their deaths. Where we began, we ended. "What would you see?" Why did we come here? What did we come to learn? And, no, it's not the morbid tale that our modernists would make it out to be, but it's an honest story that we have only the time here that we've been given - and we don't know how long it is, and that we must do something good and true and beautiful with it. Because life is worth living, no matter how short, no matter how long, and it's worth the risk of loving, and it's worth the risk of - yes - dying for a cause. And it's full of heartache, and it's full of sorrow, and it's full of daily sacrifice, and temptation, and small, unseen victories, and quiet, quiet moments when we speak the loudest without a single word.

And we don't take all that out and look at it enough. We just...glance at life. We just try to fill up the hours, try to pass the time, we waste the time we have. We speak but never act, we rush rashly into action and never take the time to really think, we don't stop and thank God that we have this moment, this very moment, full of so much beauty. We uglify the world, and we allow it to be uglified - and here, in this story, was one man trying, trying vainly it sometimes seemed, trying against his own faults and sins and weaknesses and cowardice, trying to do what was right. And we don't try. So often, we just don't even bother to change our lives. Because it seems easier to just lie down, give into fear, and to die.

We must not merely die. We must not go quietly into that dark night. We must not stop fighting, fighting all the time, because this world is worth fighting for. We must go on, and have no fear. We must trust that there is a certain providence in the fall of every sparrow. That's what Hamlet's all about. Not the inane jokes and spoofs and lampoons about the famous lines, the half-known speeches, the melancholy Dane languishing poetically with a skull in hand. The question, the true question, is will you fight or will you die? Will you finally be the person you might be, or will you obscure your face because you can't bear the weight of Glory? Will you live - truly, truly live?

I put before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.

Choose life.

Mood: Dangnabbit - weeping again.
Music: "Dare You to Run" - seem appropriate
Thought: Oh...God. Thank You, thank You, thank You so much. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You, Daddy. Love You, Your own silly little Emmamee. Amen.


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