Anyone who has ever worked on a play, at some point or another, figures out how that play applies to them directly, how it somehow mirrors their own life. You don’t need to be Romeo or Juliet in order to know what it feels like to be young and in love – you, no doubt, have your own, unique version. And so it is with Stranded on Earth. Throughout the first week of rehearsals, director Bill Brown, actress Brigitt Markusfeld, playwright Eric Coble, Stage Manager Jenny Daniels and I (your humble dramaturg) spent a considerable amount of time discussing just how much of ourselves and our lives we see in the story of Alexa, a woman whose life can very distinctly be divided into “before” and “after” sections following a life-altering event.
One of the topics that came up again and again (prompted largely by Alexa’s recollections) is those simple moments on any given day that help make a our often-chaotic and overly-hectic lives a little bit easier, the quiet events that keeps us on track when we’re dangerously close to going off the track altogether – what Alexa refers to as “little honeymoons.” Sometimes it’s a daily routine or ritual, other times it’s an infrequent but equally-important gesture, but the end result is the same – a centering, a reminder of the simplicity in life that so often gets obscured.
One of my favorite daily moments is the simple act of pouring my girlfriend’s first cup of morning coffee (or vice versa – finding my coffee waiting for me on the kitchen counter) – it’s such a simple and brief act but somehow it inexplicably makes my morning a little smoother as I prepare for the demands ahead. Another is the walk from my parking lot to the theatre. It’s about a five minute walk and, aside from those winter mornings when it’s 5 degrees below zero, I love that walk on the way in to work and, again, on the way home. It’s this little sliver of time where I can just disappear into my head and let everything sort itself out. Or, just completely empty the brain altogether and watch the crow population take over downtown – no matter. It’s simply this patch of solitude that I realize I’ve come to greatly appreciate.
So, what are your moments of ritual and reset? What are those small, quiet mile-markers that you anticipate throughout the day?