When I saw my father on Friday afternoon, he commented his surprise that I wasn't marching against Washington.
First let me say this: my father is a good man. But we share vastly different political views. He is a conservative Republican with a suitcase full of conspiracy theories. I am a radical liberal with a passion for equal rights and visibility.
He voted for Trump right from the beginning.
I did not.
If I had the option, I would have gladly been in D.C., Boston, New York, or Concord protesting for what I believe is right. I would have stood in solidarity with all who give voice to these causes.
Unfortunately, inauguration weekend was a packed schedule for me. Appointments and work ran circles around me, making marching impossible. That same evening I opened Fiddler On The Roof with Educational Theatre Collaborative at Plymouth State University alongside a cast and crew of well over a hundred.
Despite my conflicts, I was not silent.
Theatre people are perhaps some of the most forgiving and welcoming people you will ever meet. They are the outcasts and gems of their generations. The theatre, at least for me, has always been a place where artists bound together to create a safe and encouraging space for anyone who needed it.
On January 19, 2017, the theatre community came together across the country to recognise those safe expressive spaces. Brave spaces. The Ghostlight* Project brought thespians together to celebrate the diversity and beauty of this country, and to promise that the theatre will continue to be a welcoming place for everyone.
Inspired by the tradition of leaving a "ghost light" on in a darkened theater, artists and communities will make or renew a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone--regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
*Ghostlights are lamps placed in theatrical spaces. The folklore is that ghostlights keep the spirits of the dead from being destructive. They also serve a logical purpose in that they allow whoever is the first in the theatre (which is typically windowless and dark) from injuring themselves in their quest to turn on the lights.
So, no, I did not march this weekend. I didn't even end up watching the inauguration all the way through. But I gathered with the company of Fiddler On The Roof and we supported each other via the Ghostlight Project. We performed a show about tradition and change that is all too relevant in this world. We sang together, as loud as 95+ passionate people can. And it gave us all a little more hope.
A very wise woman once told me "Making art heals us," and I couldn't agree more.
In fact, I think that the arts are the greatest revolution.
Many of us are having our fears realized this week and in the coming months. Already the LGBTQ page has disappeared from whitehouse.gov, the National Endowment for the Arts has been threatened, and the ACA is being dismantled.
But none of it will stop us.
No matter what happens, artists will continue to create and share. We will not be snuffed out.
Because one light is an idea, but many are a force to be reckoned with.
#BeALight #AllAreWelcome #WeWillBeTheHopeful