Unavoidable Memorial Day thoughts of our Vietnam Vets and the over 58,000 soldiers lost, immersed as I am in MISS SAIGON. WTTW featured a documentary special, INTO HARM’S WAY. So moved by it, I searched online for the makers of the film and found DOCGROUP. It’s a sad and stirring piece about the West Point Class of 1967, when 846 young men entering during a time of peace and optimism, graduated into the US Army “embroiled in a strange and unpopular war in Southeast Asia.” This descriptive line jumped at me: “an honest and often painful look at the shadow war casts long after the guns have fallen silent, and at how the Vietnam War in particular continues to occupy an unsettled place in the American psyche.” Haunting stuff.
I’ve had the pleasure of sitting on panels lately to discuss work in the theatre and Paramount’s newly established place on the scene. The School of Performing Arts in Naperville and Actors’ Equity Association at The Goodman, though contrasted in age and experience, struck me with the enthusiasm and ardor for the performing arts within those attending both gatherings. How both the pros and the youngsters strive to improve! And their passion was matched, even exceeded at times, by those sitting beside me on our side of the table. It gratifies me to no end to be a part of these forums sitting there admiring the questions and the answers. To teach, give back, you redefine your own aspirations. Healthy, exhilarating sessions. And afterward on the drive home, reflecting back on what was said and learned. Mostly about oneself. Reminded why I ever was drawn to this work. The love of it. Whether you see it as a competitive business or a vocation, you’re in it because you love it. Professing love, truth, beliefs.
Tuesday is another day of IN THE HEIGHTS call backs and next week, another round of MISS SAIGON calls, and soon, RENT auditions begin!
Stay tuned, Dear Reader!