35 Days to 35: Rehearsing Joy


Today, I took a break from the book. I felt like this weekend we spent enough time together, so I took care of small projects and mostly looked forward to tonight. For tonight, we began the six week rehearsal process that will bring It’s Complicated: An Evening of One Acts About Life, Love and Other Important Things from ‘page to the stage.’

Because this kind of show gives us the freedom to do so, we (Russell, Jill and I, who are sharing directing duties) have broken things down into three groups.
Group A rehearsed today, Group B tomorrow, and Group C on Thursday. We arranged it so that actors who are driving longer distances have all their material rehearsed on one night, making the process a smoother and more enjoyable one during these chilly winter nights. If people are donating their time, we certainly want to do our very best to show them we value that time.

One of the neatest things about bringing a group of people together from the community to rehearse a show is the process of actually bringing them together. Before tonight, this particular group of people may never have performed on stage together…and if they have, it will be a different experience, because the roles or the circumstances may have changed. Those who have been cast may not have ever met before the first night of rehearsals. But, by the time performances are complete, the cast will (hopefully) have become good friends.

We have people from all skill levels in our show. Some have been performing for thirty years or more, and some have never performed before. However, at one time or other, each of us have never performed before. There was a first show for everyone, and it’s encouraging to watch as more seasoned actors help guide the newer ones. It’s part of the cycle of theatre. One day, when that particular actor is seasoned themselves, they will be able to guide another newbie through the process.

This, for me, is part of what makes theatre a true source of joy. No matter what else is going on in my life, such as book cover woes, or some other such thing I have no control over, coming together in the evening to create a piece of art for the community to enjoy gives me a shot of energy, a sense of purpose, and a way to release pent up anxiety.

Oh sure, if I’m acting or singing (especially singing) I get nervous about performances. I am a recovering neurotic after all, (notice how optimistic I am about the recovery) but somehow, when it’s done right, theatre is the balm that heals.

If only everyone was able to find something they loved so much!


Right at 35 days before my 35th birthday, Rachael and I found out that a book we wrote about our experience making our first film “No Lost Cause,” was being returned to us by the publisher after a year of waiting for it to be printed. Instead of wallowing in our collective misery, I committed to blogging every day while I searched for ways to overcome this perceived rejection and obstacle to our goal. I currently also have about three other projects brewing at the same time, and write about the progress of each of them. This is part of that series.

Read the first entry here: https://ashleyraymerbrown.com/2015/01/23/35-days-to-35-dealing-with-rejection/

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