Court Martial at Fort Devens by Jeffrey Sweet came at the right moment. It’s not like we could have planned it or set it in motion. February 25th, 2012 came, and off to NYC we went to audition more than 50 people. Then it was back to Connecticut to audition the locals. Why, am I doing this I thought to myself? The answer wasn’t there. Especially when I left with, what I thought was a lot great choices in mind, but with hard decisions to make.
I came back to Connecticut with moments of uncertainty about the lack of men that we could cast. In fact the choices we had in NYC were slim and in CT were even slimmer. They just weren’t there. I figured this would be a challenge, because we always came across such a factor when we have difficulty casting a show. It told me that we didn’t have the right people yet. As in true fashion it showed to be true. Right down to weeks before our first rehearsal we were missing one crucial role. After many failed leads, and phone calls we got the right one.
We were ready….or were we? They were coming in off book with – with three weeks of rehearsal. Our usual MO. The women we found from NYC where the best for their roles. We had chosen the best cast of characters from NYC. Thankful and grateful was I as producer to have gotten it right. CT auditions proved to be a bit more challenging – especially where the men where concerned. I had ideas of those that I wanted, but couldn’t seem to make it work. no casting company had the right people. I made a few calls to people, I knew would foot the bill and could come through after all of my choices had been exhausted. These were the ones I know would work beyond a shadow of a doubt. I needed to stretch the limits of myself and to continue to make myself open for new opportunities for growth.
When those who said I couldn’t….well I just proved to myself again, that they were wrong and God is always right. I am better for my contributions to ETC because I was and am surrounded by a FAMILY of people. People who believed in my passion, to change the minds and hearts of people who may be lost on their journey about the importance of all people. That race should have no place. The education of people through theater is one of the most powerful tools, we can provide our youth to make change in a world. In a world that seems to be blind to the rights of others. After 6 performances and 4 of them sold out, I am humbled to know that we change one life of a patron. One who stood up and gave praise for the production and to us that she had been change. That she has seen one of the best performances of a theater company. Our work is not done! We are just beginning to change the world one show at a time.
ETC provided moments for all people to come and have a conversation about the differences of people in the world around us. We opened up a moment in time to talk about racism and how it affects all people, and not just those of color. Jeffrey Sweet is a powerful playwright, who looks for the opportunities to share parts of our history that many have not heard about. Thank you Jeffrey! I am thankful for recording artist, Kystal A Livingston for being part of this production and providing the music that connects us a people. Her voice is a gift from God. I am thankful for Tony Capon, a professor from Three Rivers Community College for coming and mediating our discussions about racism in American. I am thankful for my cast and crew who gave so much of themselves to make a moment in my life real for another to enjoy. I am thankful for the First United Methodist Church in Mystic for opening their doors, so that we could change someone’s life even if it was for just a moment. I am thankful for the patrons who came, participated, and joined the discussion of a subject that many want to hide or shy a way from.
Lastly I am thankful for my family and friends who continue to support a dream of mine to change the hearts of people across the globe through theater.
The production of Court Martial at Fort Devens, by Jeffrey Sweet was made possible by the Community Foundation of Southeastern CT, The Puffin Foundation of Teaneck New Jersey and the many donors of their time and talents. I am so thankful for all of you.
ETC will be back this summer with our SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAM to continue our mission of helping youth and under-represented communities change the world one step at a time. Registration is now available for more information please contact me via email. Info@emersontheatercollaborative.org