Monday, September 30, 2013

Boyack Weekly - ok two week Report

I suppose it is about time that I caught up on the Boyack report.  We have entered that time of year where there is plenty to do... but it's routine, and let's face it... boring.  Chad has started classes at Chemeketa... Hannah goes to the high school all day... and Lillian and I hang out at home to do home school.  It makes it hard to feel motivated to write in a blog about what we have been up to because there isn't much to say... even if we do feel terribly busy.  We did take a Saturday afternoon and went to the Pentacle Theater Volunteer Appreciation Picnic.  We had to laugh because the main attraction was a picture with Cinderella, the Prince and the carriage... been there, done that.  Still, Hannah wanted a picture with Kimberly and Sterling.

We went to our first Central High School Football game for the year (It will most likely be my only football game for the year.) Hannah is really into being a Super Fan.  She and her friends dress up and act crazy in front of the Pep Band.  i don't know if they really pay attention to the game.  I guess it doesn't matter.  They are having fun.  That game Central won.  The following week, Central lost.
 It was raining and chilly.  I know... big surprise.  We brought Case along because Laura was MIA.  That happens quite often.  She hasn't been too consistent with her schedule as of late.  At any rate, we were ready to go to the game and she hadn't come or checked in, so we bundled him up and took him to the game.  Once we got there I finally got a text from his mom.  Her daughter-in-law found us at the game and took Case at half time.
The main reason I went to the game is because Lillian was a Cheerleader at half time.  Since she did Cheer camp this past summer she got to perform as part of Half Time Entertainment.  I get the feeling that the football program doesn't support other programs well.  For example, the choir sang the National Anthem.  No one could hear them.  (Hannah sang in the choir and we didn't get to hear her because a) they weren't amplified well and b) we were a little late so we just went through the gate when the National Anthem started.)  another example is the support the football program DOESN'T give the cheerleaders.
 The cheer coaches aren't paid like all the other coaches at the school.  The cheerleader have to pay for EVERYTHING themselves.  And when the little people came, no one could hear their music because the football people don't want to bother with making the hook ups work.  It makes me mad.  There really is more worthwhile things at Central High School than football.  My friend Megan helps with cheer leading.  She doesn't get the credit she deserves.  That makes me mad too.  I watched her work that night.  She works hard.  Frankly, the cheer program wouldn't fly without her.  She should be given more credit.
 Anyway, Lillian has fun doing all the cheer stuff.  In a way, I am a little bummed.  I see too many football games in my future.  She is pretty good at it.  She is loud.  She does the moves and the dances well.  I think dance classes have helped with that.  At least I only have to go to games once a year for a couple more years.  :)
At least the students and their goofy outfits are entertaining.  I had to laugh at Emma's outfit.  Those boots were crazy.  I got a funny video of her dancing.  Too bad I couldn't get it off my phone.  Oh well.  I've been to my token game.  Hannah and Chad have been to a second game.  There will be one more game after this week.  Then they have away games.

 With everyone back to school and our lives becoming more routine, Lillian is getting tons of work done in a day.  She is willing to get up at 5:30 each morning to do scriptures and prayer with the family before Hannah and I take off for seminary and John heads to work.  Then she gets a shower and makes her bed.  She got a new bed and I cleaned out all her stuff.  Her new bed is a queen size bed.  I told her that if her room doesn't stay clean I will give the bed to Hannah.  She is keeping her room clean.  (The real reason we got a "big" bed was because we needed somewhere for visitors to sleep - now that people have moved away and we are now "grandma's house".  :)  After her shower, Lillian usually starts school.  When all goes right, Lillian is done with all of her school and chores by noon (that is often before Chad even gets out of bed.  LOL).  Lillian also helps with four dance classes and is taking four dance classes.  She is becoming very responsible and has even been given her own key to the Dance Studio because she is so responsible and always the first person there.  She often opens the doors and turns on the lights for all the dancers.  It's weird that she is growing up so fast.

 We've been working down at the high school a couple of days a week to move the prop room and to clean up the scene shop.  Case and Lillian have been helping too.  They discovered the swords and gladiator helmets.  Kids.  Case even took on Lillian while lifting a barbell.  LOL.  He had us all in stitches.  Case is still coming most days.  I have been encouraging his mom to get him into some kind of head-start program to help him with his language problem.  The kid is suppose to start school next fall and no one can understand him.  It is frustrating to him.  He knows what he means and gets real mad when people don't understand.
I sure hope he gets help before next year.  School will not be fun for him unless he does get help.

Chad has classes nearly everyday now.  He is getting up at 6 in the morning and leaving for Salem by 7:45.  We don't see him all day.  He has a few classes at one building and a weight class all the way across the campus.  He seems to like it.  He also passed his Eagle Board of Review this past week. I think that is pretty amazing.  He did that all on his own.  I've stopped pushing him along a long time ago.  We will have a big party after all the stuff comes back from the National Scout office.

We've started the next set at the high school... Crimes of the Heart. This week I made a model...
 ... and drew up plans...
 Saturday John, Hannah, and Lillian came down to the school and we started putting the set on the stage.  Students in the play and a few of their friends all came to to help... as did my friends Scot and John Hatch.  We worked for a few hours (from 10-2) and legged all the platforms and started a few stair units.  This play is a little different.  It is the first play that Central is putting the audience and the play on the stage.
 We worked so fast that we even started the walls.  The truth is, IF I have the right kind of screws... IF I had got all the batteries plugged in and charged before the workday... and IF the kids all had skills, we could have had everything constructed.  Still, I am happy with the progress we made.
 By the end of the day the set looked like this...
After working on the set I took the girls to Salem and went shopping.  Have I mentioned that I hate shopping?  Here are a few reasons why:  There is never enough money... It takes for ever to find stuff and try things on... and store are insane, as is the traffic. Plus... Hannah is officially a teenager.  She didn't really want me to take her shopping.  I'm not cool enough and have no sense of style (obviously).  She wanted me to get one of my friends to take her that dress cool.  I couldn't find anyone, so she was stuck with me.  That meant that she HAD to take a friend.  so much for a girls day on the town.  Still... Lillian got the shoes I promised her for doing well in the show... Hannah got her dress shoes for choir and new tennis shoes. She also found a pair of jeans and a shirt she liked.  I got a new baby rice cooker.

I needed that.  I will be making a whole new menu for me now.  I am going to be on a Candida cure diet foe awhile.  A yeast overgrowth seems to be the next stop on what is going wrong in my body.  Sadly, that means a whole different menu for me.  When I made my menu and shopping list I made one for Chad, one for me, one for the family, and one for Lilli.  Chad only eats certain things.  I can only eat certain things.  John and Hannah don't really want to eat what I will be eating and would rather eat what I can't eat.  Lillian is just plain pick.  That means for every meal I make and clean up 3 different meals.  That is dishes for 9 meals a day.  It's not pretty.

This past weekend was "the storm of a century".... not.  It was big hype over nothing.  It did rain a lot... the wind blew a bit.  But I saw more rain in early September out at the Pentacle Theatre during a thunderstorm.  I loved that the guy on Fox 12 said that the media was making the storm into a big deal and needed to calm down.  I think I'll be watching his weather reports in the future.  He seemed to be the only one to call the storm right.  Come on guys... this storm was like any other winter storm around here.  It was just a couple months early.

So that is the big report of the past couple of weeks.  See boring and normal... yet still plenty busy.  It is crazy.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Finding Myself in The Secret Garden

I had the extraordinary opportunity to direct The Secret Garden for the Pentacle Theatre, a local community theater in Salem.

At first I wasn't sure about it.  It’s a big show.  It has very difficult music.  It’s not a well known musical.  However, I decided to attempt the show anyway with the encouragement of my friend Jeff and one beautiful dream.

I read the book, The Secret Garden, as a child.  As I reviewed it I was surprised to rediscover a story of death, abandonment, fear, and neglect housed within the pretenses of a flowery tale of a precocious girl and a garden. The novel was unexpectedly truthful -- probably one of the reasons so many of us were intrigued by the story as children. Burnett respected young people and had faith in everyone’s abilities to face the darkness of the world and emerge with the light.

I love this soaring musical version of The Secret Garden, which begins with a mood of secrets, solitude and sadness and yet, ends with joy and redemption.  It’s a tribute to the human spirit; a tale of loss and rejuvenation; a feast for the eyes, the ears, and most importantly, the heart. As I've read through the script of The Secret Garden, I couldn't help but be aware of the themes of human companionship, friendship, determination, and love.  The main theme is that no matter how dead someone or something seems on the outside, there is always a spark of life left in them. If this spark of life is allowed time to grow and is nourished with love, it will come back to life and happiness, and will have a second chance to live up to its potential of having a full and complete life.

The human heart is a powerful force in this story. It has the capacity to cause the most exquisite pain, a miraculous ability to heal, and the precious gift of feeling love.  Most importantly, I love the theme of healing and personal change.

The story centers in a garden, a central symbol of personal devastation (as in Lily’s death and Archibald’s mourning), self discovery (as with Mary’s self discovery and change of heart) and renewal (as with Colin’s recovery and a family coming together).  The story follows Mary’s transformation as she befriends others, especially Martha and  Dickon. They becomes her gateway to a mighty change of heart. Through their budding friendship Mary begins to thaw and grow, like the earth around her. She then in turn affects others for the better.

I love how this theme is illustrated in a couple of ways in this play. One very obvious example is the way that the garden came back to life after years of neglect once it was found and cared for again. Another illustration of this theme is in the way that Colin, Mary, and Uncle Archibald each flourish and gain strength after they find friends and are given something for which to live.

One such example is the character of Colin who is sickly and has been hidden away from the world’s view until Mary accidentally discovers him one night. He, like the garden, has essentially been un-cared for except for the basics of food, water, and medicine. His existence is severely lacking in love, affection, and any kind of creative outlet. Once Mary enters his life, she tends to Colin like she does the garden, applying everything she learns, hoping to transform him into a happy, healthy, and curious child.

Mary, as the central character, is the one that grows the most. When she comes to Misselthwaite Manor she is an emotionless, sallow little girl. As the play progresses, Mary’s cold heart and hard shell begin to crack, and she starts to grow warm. Mary shows the most growth as she learns to care for the garden and for Colin. She learns that it is okay to hope and to love another person.

Supporting this main theme is the idea that everyone carries within themselves their own special magic. They can use that magic to care for and love other people and things, resulting in healing for themselves and others.

An additional theme is the concept of forgiveness and second chances. No matter what happens in life, there is always an opportunity for a second chance. If people can forgive themselves and let go of guilt and regret for events of the past, they can embrace the second chances they are given, and they can move on with their life and be happy. We see this theme personified in Archibald Craven. The most difficult character to gauge is Archibald Craven. His healing has been excruciatingly slow.  He, perhaps out of all the characters, needs the deepest emotional healing.  Once he was willing to let go of the pain and regret that he felt over his wife’s death, he was able to move forward in life with his son, Colin, and niece, Mary, and find happiness once again.

One of the principal themes driving this story of growth and life is, ironically, death. In our world, life and death are paired. You cannot have one without the other. Mary loses all the people that she knows within the first few minutes of the play. Archibald Craven has lost Lily to death and longs for death himself. Colin has lived in death’s shadow every day of his life, knowing nothing else. Many people who have lost someone to death ask, “Is this all? Is there any life after death?” The Dreamers in this story are an attempt to answer these questions.

The Dreamers represent both life and death at the same time. They are a
reminder of everything that each of the characters has lost due to the death of
others. Yet, while symbolizing death, they provide hope and help to those they
cared for in life. Even though the Dreamers are in a world apart from ours, they
have the power to influence the real world. They still care and they are still close
by. The Dreamers help keep the hearts of each of the characters alive, even
though the spark of life may be very small. They are happiness and sorrow,
despair and hope all at the same time. They use their magic to make the spark
of life grow in the hearts of the people in the real world. In many ways they are
the only ones truly alive, until they pass that life on to those in the real world at the end of the play.

Composer Lucy Simon said, "What Marsha has done is find the adult story that's there between the lines. The power of the story is not just Mary finding the garden and bringing everything back to life but helping Archie out of his mourning state, helping him to accept and find his son again."

There is nothing quite like having a secret hideaway or like watching something I’ve planted actually grow and develop and live.  It gives me power and strength.  It renews me spirit.  It truly is a bit of magic.  I have come to believe that great things come to pass in gardens.

Perhaps the greatest lesson of The Secret Garden is taught by Dickon: “The strongest roses will fair thrive on bein’ neglected, if the soil is rich enough” (2.4). Given the chance, even those in the most dismal of situations can grow and flourish. It is then no wonder that this tale of redemption and healing has such wide appeal. While The Secret Garden is best known as a piece of children’s literature it offers deeply powerful themes and principles that are at the very heart of the human condition.

The Secret Garden is part ghost story, love story, travelogue, family saga, and even seed catalog, all joining in an unforgettable memory in the making.

 “However many years she lived, Mary always felt that 'she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow'.” 
 Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

I will never forget when my “garden” began to grow.  I will not forget auditions.  I will not forget making phone calls to recruit a few people.  I will not forget rehearsals.  I will not forget character building experiences.  I will not forget moving performances that have changed my life for the better.  Along the way I have discovered that imagination – “charm” or “magic” or faith is the power to transform lives.

The Secret Garden is a tale of redemption, rich with biblical symbolism and mythical associations. I have learned so much from each of you and my own faith (which is pretty strong) is has been strengthened because of my association with you and my experiences with this production. 

I learned from Dr. Craven, Archie, and Mary's parents, of a fallen world waiting for healing and rejuvenation. Consequently, some, like Mary and Colin are physically and spiritually malnourished, and, in the words of Burnett, down-right rude. Archie’s redemption, orchestrated by Lily’s love and at the hands of Colin and his niece ensures the return of good rule to the ancient, gloomy house and of health to the children. Dickonconstantly surrounded by life and nature evokes St. Francis or Pan.  Martha, a plain-speaking Yorkshire woman, resembles the archetypal earth mother and embodies an ancient folk wisdom seen neither in Craven nor in Mary's deceased parents. I love that the spiritual growth of Mary and Colin aligns with the seasons. Mary arrives at Misselthwaite in winter a dour and unhealthy child. She begins her gardening in the spring, and as crocuses and daffodils push up through the warming earth, her body begins to bloom and her manners to soften. Summer sees the complete regeneration of both Mary and Colin, and by the time Craven returns to Misselthwaite in autumn, the children are harvesting the fruits of their laborhealth and happiness. Archie too has found healing.  Finally, the overarching symbol of the story is the secret garden, a lost paradise of love and happinessa version, perhaps, of the Garden of Eden, now reclaimed and rejuvenated.

Simply beautiful.

Here are a few simple lessons I’ve learned along this journey.  I apologize if some of those lessons are religious in nature.  However, I am deeply religious and I make no apologies for that.  Just know that each of you have played a part in strengthening my faith in God and in His plan for us:

God can only help when invited.  We must be humble and ask.  Help came for this show when I stopped trying to be that “One Woman Show”.  Thank you everyone that came to my rescue.

God orchestrate all things, is ever present, healing in His wings.

By small and simple things all things move forward.

We must listen with the heart in order to move forward.

We must leave things behind to move forward into joy.  Whether it is sin or pain, or sadness, or bad habits,  or pride, we must put it down, let go and move on to better ourselves and find lasting peace and happiness.

The way is prepared.  Sometimes it’s people.  Sometimes it’s circumstances.  So many people prepared the way for this show to happen.  You know who you are.  Thank you.  Mostly, I know that God prepared a way for me to share how I feel  in an art form I love.
Healing takes work.  Creation takes work.  Nothing comes easily.
When you feel joy share it.  Your joy rubs off on others.  

Healing is a mighty change of heart.  Thank you for helping change mine.

He only could unlock the gate.  I know many will find this too simplistic.  But I do believe it.

Life is change. Everyone has gone through a day that has changed them in a way that prevents them from being the same person they once were.

Forget your past, forgive yourself, and begin again right now.

No matter how much it hurts now, one day you'll look back and realize it made you stronger and better off in the long run.

Bad days come sometimes just to remind you that you have plenty of good ones to look forward to. 

Someday you will be just a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.
It really is the little things that mean the most... like a long hug at just the right time. 

Great challenges make life interesting; overcoming them makes life meaningful. 

Do not let the shadows of your past darken the doorstep of your present and future. 

Let go, forgive and move forward. 

It is not who you are that holds you back, it is who you think you are not.

Until you're broken for awhile, you don't know what you're made of. It gives you the ability to rebuild yourself, stronger than ever before. 

When ordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances, they become extraordinary because of it. 

Whatever hurts you, leave it behind. Whatever helps you smile, keep it in mind.

A moment of success is just the final page of a story. It holds very little meaning without knowing the rest of the story leading up to it.  This show is living proof.

Every ending is the beginning of something else. Every exit is an entry somewhere else.  

All of the greatest things ever to have happened in the history of the world have happened in a garden… the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, a Sacred Grove (a bit of a garden), and for me, a Secret Garden.