It has been over a year and half since I have directed or acted. The birth of my lovely baby girl took me off the stage for a little bit and I was glad to have the opportunity to delve back in slowly with this year’s Winter Acts.
I was also a little nervous. Becoming a mom changed the whole world for me — it became a lot more colorful, but also a lot scarier. I had no idea how this would come through in my art.
What I have come to realize over the past couple weeks of rehearsal is that experience only makes us better. It does not matter what kind of experience — as we layer on personal perspective, as our knowledge base grows, we only benefit from understanding a bit more about this beautiful, wonderful world and why it goes round.
And so I came to be the Director of Fun House with a whole new appreciation for everything around me and was thrilled with the challenge I found myself in.
The cast and I started the process figuring out what was going on. The world of this play did not have clear rules and so we set out to define them. What were the parameters for the science experiement that Larue and Atlas found themselves a part of? We picked out all the facts from the sciprt and built the experiment from there. We also had to make a few of our own choice about these characters. Where were they going before they found themselves in the fun house? What were the promises that were broken?
As we continued on this journey, we all came to realize that it was not the setting that we needed to focus on, but the relationships of these three characters. The interactions were defining the place, the Fun House, for us. Once the severity of responsibility to others was added, the play became much scarier and the motivation to figure out what was going on became more intense.
Mary, Jeff, and Loren have discovered incredibly rich characters with so much history to each of them. All of that experience, that knowledge base, is brought to this 15 minute window of their lives to tell a thrilling, moving story.
And for me personally, that brought it back to my new role as Mommy. My new base of understanding has absolutely created fear and uncertainty of the things that I cannot control, but I have never been more grateful for the experience of a new perspective than that of being mom to my stunning daughter.
-Heather J. Strickland, Bare Theatre Artistic Director