And it has finally come down to this. The shows are all over. The set was destroyed. We cried our last tears and laughed our final laughs. We have said our goodbyes. The Laramie Project Spring 2011 is over for all intents and purposes. But the moments and experiences I shared will all of you is something that I hold very dearly in my heart. I honestly haven’t felt so deeply about a theatrical experience since last summer when I went overseas for the Duke in London Drama Program. Then, I felt overwhelmed, challenged, and incredibly privileged. I feel the same way about Laramie.
I have been wondering what my final thoughts should be to this overwhelming experience. To briefly sum it up: beautifully humbled and fantastically enlightened.
To Jeff: Thank you so much for casting me. You have no idea how much being in this play means to me. As an African American Christian woman raised in the South, it is really hard trying to fight for LGBT rights back at home. Being in Laramie has given me an opportunity to do that through what I love most: Acting.
To Jules: JULES RULES! JULES RULES! I know you are sick of me saying that by now, but I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true. You do rule! I feel so blessed that you a) worked with me on Me Too Monologues and b) worked with me on TLP. Your skill as a dramaturg is unparallel. Now that may not mean so much coming from me (considering I have never worked with a dramaturg before), but trust and believe that I really do mean it. I also deeply appreciate how you opened up to all of us personally about your life and struggles as a lesbian in North Carolina. I feel like I found a new friend in you, and I look forward to future conversations with you.
To the cast: I just want to thank everyone for allowing me to share the stage with them. I remember during the first few rehearsals in the classrooms and how intimidated I was. It seemed everyone else was really stepping up to the plate and embodying their multiple characters. There was many times where I felt like I was the 13th most talented person in the room. If I was ever any good, it was because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be half as phenomenal as my cast mates were.
Ultimately, I appreciate this play for how it made me expand my realm of possibilities as an actress. It exposed to me my strengths and my opportunities for growth. Now, if and when I decide to pursue an acting career, I have more insight on what specific things I need to go from being a “good” actress to a “great” actress. I wouldn’t have that insight if it wasn’t for Jeff and Jules challenging me or for the entire cast raising the bar so high.
Be fierce and prosper,