August 31, 2010

Actors warmup before The Outsiders

I thought of this story from the Jewish tradition today when I went to the dollar store and couldn’t resist buying crayons, colored pencils and magic markers in anticipation of the first day of classes with the Durham Family Theatre. It was a fun break from researching press contacts and grants and writing press releases.

The story is about three yeshiva students on an annual trip to visit their Rabbi, a great teacher. It’s a two-day trip and they stay overnight with a devout husband and wife in a small town on their route.

When the couple learns where the students are going, the wife, Sarah, is very excited. She says that she’s heard of their teacher; he is a spiritual master. She begs the students to ask their Rabbi to grant her and her husband their wish for a child.

Secretly the students think Sarah is silly. No one make such a wish come true. One student, Isaac, says that he has been asking the Rabbi to grant he and his wife a child for years, with no result. Nevertheless, when they reach the Rabbi’s house the next day, they keep their promise and tell the teacher of Sarah’s wish.

A month later, on the trip home they stay with Sarah and her husband again. A brand new baby carriage sits in the middle of the living room. The couple has spent most of their savings to buy the carriage in anticipation of the baby they are certain will be granted to them soon. When they leave Sarah in the morning, the students laugh at her innocence.

A year goes by and the three students set off again on their annual visit to the Rabbi. Again they stop at Sarah’s house for the night. The minute they step in the door they hear the sound of a baby’s sweet laughter. Sure enough, Sarah and her husband have been blessed with a child just as they wished.

When the students arrive at their Rabbi’s home the next day, Isaac is very upset. He says to his Rabbi, “I’ve been asking you for years to give my wife and I a child, why did you give Sarah her wish but not give me mine. Haven’t I been a good student? Aren’t I as faithful as Sarah is?” “Yes,” the Rabbi says, “you’re filled with faith. But did you ever buy a baby carriage?”

After the trip to the dollar store, I came home and put the crayons in bright plastic pencil boxes that were on sale for children heading back to school ($1 each.) Then I sorted through costumes, props and fabric pieces collected over the summer and packed them in their own large plastic containers. And filled a cloth bag with musical instruments.

I can’t wait for DFT classes to begin. And today I have full faith that through putting all our wishes together and taking the steps to prepare for when the wishes come true, we can build something good and strong. Durham’s very own community theatre.

Warmly, Jenny

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