Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter's Tale Director's Notes

The following are my director's notes from the program for Winter's Tale.

I am always amused when people applaud performing artists for their creativity, as if creativity were the sole domain of the stage. That view of the performing arts, and art in general, underlies these hard times, where creativity often takes a back seat to “useful” qualities like technical skill, business sense, and political acumen. For proof of this, one need only see that the news is full of headlines about crime, the economy, or politics, leaving stories about artistic achievement usually buried somewhere deep in the paper or later in the news hours. For more proof, look at the funding, or lack thereof, for art programs in our schools.

In our day and age, art is simply not revered as it should be. The irony is that now, more than ever, we need art. As our lives get harder and our world gets darker, we need art to help us understand ourselves and our world better. Art reflects who we are. Art makes us who we are. What Percy Bysshe Shelley said of poets could very well be said of all artists: “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Art may not be able to legislate economic prosperity or political harmony, but it can certainly promote more understanding, more empathy, and more humanity within and between ourselves.

Above all, art can reawaken the creative spirit in all of us, which has been sadly eclipsed by destructive energies. Whether it be politicians playing politics, pundits criticizing everything, or terrorists and lone gunmen taking lives, society, as a whole, has become more destructive. However, just as we were all created by the divine providence of God, or by the miraculous accidents of evolution, we too are all called to create, for only creation will heal the destruction that has beset our world.

Tonight, we celebrate the beautiful creation of actors, singers, dancers, musicians, art designers, crew members, directors, and one of the greatest writers, dramatists, and artists of all time, William Shakespeare. Likewise, further north, we celebrate the creative artistry of ballet as Anna Glushko, her ballet family, and some of the world’s most renowned ballet impresarios stage masterpieces of dance. And throughout this holiday season, we celebrate art brought to our community by the Friends of the Arts, the Thespians of the Western Pacific Islands, the Paseo de Marianas Promoters, and numerous other groups and organizations. As we celebrate these creations, I hope that we also celebrate, cultivate, and ignite the creative possibilities within each of us, for we are all artists, and the world needs our creativity.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize and thank those who have contributed in so many ways to this production. First and foremost, I thank God, who, in creating us “in His likeness”, bestowed upon on us not just the gift of creation, but also the gift of creativity.

I also thank my wife and my kids, who put up with and celebrate my obsession with the theatre. I couldn’t do this without you.

Thanks to IT&E, Kathryn Barry, and Edilberto “Ed” Javier for your generous sponsorship of the show.
Thanks are also owed to Will DeWitt and the Saipan Southern High School Manta Band for sharing their creative genius with us. It is an honor to share the stage with you. Much thanks to Maximo Ronquillo, Jr., Minda Castro, Scott Guerrero, and Andreau “Andy” Galvez for sharing their creative genius with us as well. We are truly blessed by your participation in this production.

We are also blessed by the participation of Mount Carmel School alumni and Theatre Club veterans who have returned to grace the stage yet again with their art. Jon and Jake Igitol return with stunning music and Ignacio “Iggy” Benavente returns with beautiful choreography. Thank you for coming home.

Lastly, I thank the cast and crew of this production. I love all 80 of you guys as my second family. You are beautiful artists who have created something wonderful and beautiful. And while your creation may be fleeting, I assure you, your creativity is not.

To you, the audience, I thank you for coming tonight. Now, I challenge each of you to let this show take you away to that distant memory of yourself, that part of you that yearns to create, that lost self that has been, is, and always will be an artist.