Raising children is a very big adventure. But when those children are raised, and begin to leave the nest, sometimes it is hard to imagine the rest of your life as having any adventure left in it.
A group of us, (friends because we have shared the adventure of raising theatre kids) decided to band together through this transition phase, by creating periodic "Small Adventures." A couple of hours, periodically, experiencing something we'd never done before, such as spending a sunny October afternoon picking apples on a farm, or in a warm kitchen on a cold November evening learning to cook Thai food.
Our most recent Small Adventure turned the tables on our close-knit group. As theatre parents, we are very at home backstage, we're used to building sets, and filling seats in the audience. Last night, thanks to our friends at Theatre B, we were the actors on stage in an experience called Reader's Theatre.
The owners, husband and wife, and theatre parents themselves, joined us for a potluck dinner in the lobby, then led us through the process. The play they chose for us to read was Almost, Maine. A play about a cast of eccentric couples who have conversations about their hurts, their fears, and their needs. It is set in a small town in Maine, but with it's sub-zero temperatures, and aw shucks attitude, it might as well be our very own FM. Even the emotional terrain covered seemed oddly familiar. This series of vignettes all take place at the same moment on a cold clear moonless night as the characters experience crucial, but every-day moments in their lives.
In The Story of Hope, Hope rings a doorbell and a small shrunken man answers. She had come to this house believing her old boyfriend Daniel would always be there. She pours out her heart, guilty for leaving town, and leaving Daniel's question to her unanswered. She suddenly realizes that the quiet, smaller stranger is Daniel, transformed because he's lost a lot of hope.
Where it Went. After skating on a pond, Phil and Marci talk about disappointment and frustration with each other as they search for Marci's shoe. They finally confess they are both lonely and wonder what they are waiting for.
Seeing the Thing was the last vignette, read for us by our directors, the only two who felt comfortable on the stage. They portrayed Rhonda and Dave, snowmobilers. Dave has painted a picture for Rhonda, but she can't seem to tell what it is. She also won't admit they are anything more than buddies. Dave kisses her and changes her perspective, allowing her to see what the picture really is.
Whether or not they did this on purpose, the play our directors chose was very much like our lives. The lines we read were about real people who are honestly dealing with tough things - just like those of us gathered there on stage. It was a little scary, it was a little exhilarating, just like starting a new phase of life.
With our Small Adventures, we are not waiting for our lives to happen to us, we are choosing to experience life, and we're finding out that there are plenty of new adventures left!