ADAPT!

A WORLD PREMIERE
Written and Directed by Blanka Zizka
March 22, 2017April 22, 2017

Journey through the Creation of Adapt! - What's Waiting?

An Actress's Notebook by Krista Apple


When I was in college, three Tibetan monks arrived on campus to create a sand mandala. They worked nonstop for a week in the library atrium with precision and devotion, creating an intricate and colorful design like nothing I’d ever seen. Then they said a prayer and swept it all away. I struggled to understand the meaning of it, then.

I think of that mandala, now, every time I close a show. By design, it all has to disappear. Like mandalas, and like the best moments of our lives, plays are precious because they cannot last. They are suggestions of time, marking beginnings and middles and ends. But they are transient. They pave the way for something else.

Many of us in the cast were in acute phases of transition and adaptation, ourselves, while rehearsing Adapt! The title felt apt. Professional and family identities have been rapidly changing; the structure and vision of the Wilma is evolving at lightning speed; and the world around us is changing so quickly and precariously that we can hardly keep up.

We weren’t even out of costume before the drilling began on stage, to start the dizzying 36 hour turnaround the crew had to execute for the next production. Ballet X, the Wilma’s resident dance company, is now already in tech. There are dancers and a bare stage where our wall and chariot used to be. Days after the ballet, the Wilma lobby will start adapting, as well. A large-scale renovation will transform the current lobby into a working cafe that will encourage audiences, artists and community members to gather for coffee, conversation and informal programming.

 
Aneta in North Carolina.

Our onstage wall is gone, but the threat of Trump’s wall still looms large, as congress heads to a budget showdown on Friday. The US is trading jabs with North Korea; anti-semitic incidents in the US have spiked by 87% in 2017, and immigration arrests have risen nearly 33%, including arrests of individuals with no criminal record.

Meanwhile, we’ve all returned to our lives. I’m wrangling my students in the classroom; Sarah and Steven go into tech soon for The Arsonists with Azuka Theater. Aneta is in North Carolina, learning to surf before she leaves the states. Aneza is already back in Athens, in rehearsal for a new production.

The world is vast. We are still learning its language. The language of theatre is the language of time. The language of Adapt! was the language of dream and chaos, and the thrill and fear of change. It was a language of courage, youth, and freedom. It was a language we all spoke for three months together, artists and audiences alike, before catapulting ourselves into the future. Who knows what that future holds. As the final song of Adapt! asks: What for me is waiting? What’s waiting for me?

According to Tibetan Buddhist belief, those sand mandalas re-consecrate the earth, cleansing and healing its inhabitants. They are designed, by nature of their transience, to heal. I suppose that’s how I think of plays, too. As both artist and audience member. The play is an extended moment in time, a collective breath we all take together. It bridges past and future, and clears out some darkness. It paves the way for something else.

 

This is my last post about Adapt!, dear reader. Thanks for taking the ride with me. I’ll see you next season, both onstage and off.

 

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