Small yet Large Transformations

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Heading into our final week of performances for Lewiston/Clarkston, I am thinking a great deal about what transformation actually means.  Night after night, Sam Hunter’s characters begin to shift their lives in ways that are simultaneously micro and macro.  A granddaughter reconnects with her grandmother. A young man finally sees the Pacific Ocean. I have watched our audience absorb this production with such an open-hearted spirit - walking into the theater in eager anticipation of a transformative experience - many leaving with the ache of the characters sticking to their ribs.  

In preparation for this production, we gutted our theater with an eye towards many improvements we hoped to make. Although the idea of renovation seemed like a massive undertaking, for now, we are transforming in small increments.  When Lewiston/Clarkston closes, we will install a new lighting grid, flexible seats and moveable seating platforms. This investment in flexibility will allow us to transform our audience and staging set-ups more easily.  It is an investment in the dynamic ways in which our artists will be able to make work and through which our audiences will experience the work.

I have been chatting with audiences on the stairwell on their way up to the theater. I’ve been asked if the bathroom is still on stage and whether an elevator is coming. I too have been hoping for all of these changes. As we all know, transformation takes time.  And money. We are planting seeds for further big changes down the line when we have the means to achieve these changes successfully.

Destruction can happen in a blink of an eye, yet transformative change -- the building of new programs, new initiatives, and new ways of thinking -- takes methodical planning, scheming, listening, and dreaming.   I constantly remind myself about this -- take a deep breath, allow the process of building to take its time, create the scaffolding as a community.

And I choose to embrace our idiosyncrasies. Our bathroom is on the stage.  And we are teeny and rough and raw. This is who we are. At Rattlestick, we prioritize making work more than making fancy spaces.  Look at the larger metaphor -- how can we prioritize the people in our lives rather than the fancy stuff? How can we be patient with ourselves and with one another as we find our way to transform - to build and re-build - often against the tide?

Thank you for being a part of our community and may this be a meaningful holiday season for you and yours.


Daniella Topol