Last night, I went to Dallas Theater Center to see “Fly By Night,” a new musical written by Kim Rosenstock, Michael Mitnick and Will Connolly, three very talented young people from the East. They closed their beautiful new play with a sky filled with stars. The night before, at Kitchen Dog Theatre, my kids and I saw “Se Llama Cristina,” a brand-new play by Octavio Solis. There, towards the end of his darkly funny and poetic play, was a burst of stars on stage and in the audience.
In this same theater space, a year ago, Kitchen Dog produced my play “Ruth.” And the closing scene?
Early summer. Overhead and all around us, AN IMMENSE STARRY SKY
“Cristina” and “Fly By Night” have what the theater biz calls “legs.” Octavio’s play is enjoying a rolling world premiere, and the musical, well, if it doesn’t land on Broadway and run forever in national tours and regionals and civics and colleges and high schools, then the rest of us hacks need to lay down our laptops and go sell shoes. (As for “Ruth,” she had a great local success and garnered great local press but she’s not going anywhere. That’s the way baseball go. Thankfully, my hopeful feeling goes beyond the success or failure of my writing. That in itself is a miracle, as I am a person of passionately held self-centeredness.)
“Se Llama Cristina” is about the terror and wonderment of being a parent. It was nothing about my life, and yet it was all about my life. “Fly By Night” disassembled my grief and patched it back together. I saw my sorrow, the ache and loneliness. I saw my mother and myself, my sisters and myself. I wept, a lot, and I am not an easy mark anymore. I used to be a sucker for real emotion, especially played out on stage, but these days you gotta earn my tears.
Three plays, three very different plays from writers of very different backgrounds, with a common thread that felt important enough to take a few years of our lives to write about it.
It’s about connection. Despite the pervasiveness of Us-versus-Them rhetoric, the smug righteousness, name-calling and mud-slinging, the basic truth is that we need each other. We want to make contact. We need and want to be connected, to each other and to the whole.
This morning, I went to church for the first time in several weeks. I love our church and my friends there, but going to services hasn’t been easy for a while, for reasons that have everything to do with grieving. I went in this morning feeling the familiar pinch of loss in my gut, but there was also this “thing with feathers” (thanks, Emily). And what is the scripture today about but…hope.
“…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts….” (Romans 5:1-5)
This morning, Rev. Mary Claire Lowrance reminded us, emphatically, that “nothing can separate you from Love.” Not belief. Not doubt. Not distance. Not age. Not divergent lives and experiences.
As long as there are stars in the sky, if we can remember to look up, there’s hope.
There is hope.