Online Hubbub: Let Me Down Easy, Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Which character was your favorite and why?

“I found the juxtaposition of the two female victims of Rwandan genocide extremely compelling. The first woman’s visceral understanding of the word “forgiveness” contrasted poignantly with the second woman, who seemed to have intellectualized her trauma. She said that she was “learning to think,” and it was interesting that both women seemed to believe that thinking was incompatible with cruelty; this belief seemed to be the source of both women’s sense of forgiveness. I found their insights into grace profound, and I continue to think over that particular of the performance as I explore grace in my own life.”—Lily L.

“All of the characters played an important role and I think that each builds on the other. The one that impressed me was the doctor in New Orleans who learned that as much as we (physicians) may want to deny inequality in health care exists, the reality is that it does, despite our efforts as physicians to think or do otherwise. I have and continue to work with underserved populations to make a difference, however I realize that minority and underserved people in this country are not getting equal care. As an individual I give them top of the line care, but wish this were true for all physicians. I struggle with how we can increase awareness and cultural sensitivity on a more global level.”—Dr. B

“Doctor at Charity Hospital – she communicated so clearly about the have and have nots that many people in this country simply don’t seem to be able to comprehend – each of us could just of easily have been born a “have not”.    Ann Richards for her brash pride, lack of fear and ability to keep a sense of humor.”—Meg C

“Ingrid and Ann and Liz because Anna almost got lost in them and not the other way around, and because they are such compelling life forces.”—Lori

“Ingrid Inema.  Her remarks about stoning (it takes time) were haunting.”—Lottie S.

“Rev Gomes – he was portrayed just as he is, funny, frank and poetic.  I also liked the Tibetan Monk and the NYC Imam. I guess I liked the clergy.”—Reema

“I loved the choreographer towards the end.  I think as dancer and performer I could relate to her very easily and also could relate to A.D.S’s relationship to her.  Animated but not caricatured. Very truthful!”—Michael W.

“The physician in the New Orleans Charity Hospital was wonderful and the fact that this piece was a bit longer was appreciated. In general, I was most moved by the healthcare section and would like it expanded.”—Suzie CK

“Each character was set off by the radiance of each other character, so it’s hard to say.  I was moved by the “funeral” led by Peter Gomes near the end.  Ann Richards’s tremendous life energy was much appreciated among the somberness of the surrounding characters’ stories.  And I particularly appreciated “seeing” Susan Youens, as I am a singer who has read several of her books but had never seen or met her.”—Barbara M., Bellevue, Washington

“The Governor of Texas.  Because Anna seemed most alive in the portrayal–I knew so much about this woman, so many layers.”—JS

“I liked the minister from Harvard; what he had to say about the Business school students wanting to be nice, but felt that they couldn’t.  Also, his last speech about death (‘bring flowers’) was beautiful.”—Genevieve M

“Perhaps Ann, the former governor of Texas… its hard to say because I loved them all. She was one that I could really identify with ~ I felt like I knew her.”—Cindy H.

Who else would you suggest that Anna interview in her ongoing exploration of grace?

“Bill T Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Anne LaMott, Elie Wiesel, Seamus Heaney, Mary Oliver, Dorthea Tanning, Tina Packer.”—Lori

“What about Maya Angelou or Obama.”—Dr. B.

“Hilary Clinton, HH the Dali Lama.”—Lottie S.

“Interviewing victims of major events is powerful, but it would be interesting to include everyday people from around the globe who invite grace into their mundane day-to-day lives.”—Reema

“Parents.”—Michael W.

“A prisoner… a child…”—Cindy H.

“I formerly served as a Mormon missionary, and while I was on my mission the issue of grace came up frequently; Mormons have a very different understanding of “grace” than mainstream Christians. We understand grace to be a source of divine strength that enables us to do good works, without which we cannot lay authentic claim on the title of “disciple of Christ.” Grace was a topic of intense study during that period on my life, but I have not yet heard a talk by one of our church leaders only about “grace.” Perhaps such talks have been given, but if Anna could get an interview with the prophet–and current president of our church–I would be most interested. His name is Thomas S. Monson, and I believe his insights–or any insights from the current twelve apostles who serve with Monson–would be a valuable addition to this play. Traditionally, Mormons tend to be marginalized by mainstream Christians, and I would enjoy seeing this particular theological perspective represented somewhere in the play.”—Lily L.

“Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin , Ruth Ginsberg, a Catholic priest like Walter Cuenin”—Meg C

“Perhaps interview a health care worker who visits the elderly — an untrained health worker who is NOT a nurse, who receives low pay, yet who give so much of herself.”—Suzie CK

“The overall play lacked a sense of the liminal…it was very of the earth, when the topic really isn’t.  I’d recommend she interview everyday people and also some “out there” mystics of various denominations…wiccans, Jewish Kabbalists, etc.”—JS

“My friend suggested convicts from American prisons.”—Genevieve M

Have you experienced grace in your life?  How?

“I have experienced grace…it is a constant thread that grows, at times, into a river or current that shapes everything I do.  I am an atrocity survivor, so I know the kind of darkness Anna describes in Rwanda…the way grace can occur so suddenly in the middle of horror, a door opening, a glimpse, of light.  I think it exists next to us, a secret country, but we can make ourselves available to the opening of the door, we can become more like that place, we can intuit where to find it…because while grace lives outside of us, a force, it also lives inside.  It is our refusal to go down into the dark, our refusal to give up on Light…and out of that search, that determination, we stumble into stillness, where we just know…and that is grace.”—JS

“I’ve come close to understanding grace while reading the works of Flannery O’Connor. I felt and saw grace one frigid February morning standing at the commuter rail station scowling, frozen and feeling sorry for myself. Down the platform from me was an adult man with Downs syndrome standing on a patch of ice. He looked at me, smiled and started mimicking a figure skater moving elegantly across the ice.”—Lottie S.

“My friend Kirk wrote a song for my daughter and sang it at my baby shower. It starts with “Child we come to celebrate you. Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The good news is the earth made you. The bad news is you are made of earth.”  And we all started to cry.  And he ended the song with “The good news is the earth made you. And the other good news is we’re all made of earth. Child, we are all made of earth”.  Kirk possesses a wild sort of courage and unwavering commitment to truth telling. The wonderful horrifying beauty of his words overwhelmed me, and the shared experience of listening and crying was a profound moment of grace for me. For me, grace is intimately connected to witnessing and being seen.”—Lori

“I often see it in my young toddler’s response to his world.  Also, everyday acts of kindness or connection with people I meet/see at work, on the T, at the store, in the street…”—Reema

“I search for grace… long for it, but rarely find it. I lack grace, physically, emotionally, spiritually… perhaps even intellectually. But I wish to cultivate it within myself, if that is possible. I try, and that is all I can say.”—Cindy H.

“I experience grace every day. Grace is what allows me the luxury of hope and faith, and it allows me moments of charity. I feel grace whenever I am able to quell feelings of accusation and anger, and grace is what allows me power to be my best self. Recently, I have felt grace powering me through my masters program and student-teaching. During times when I doubt my capacity to serve the students I work with in a way that meaningfully empowers them, I experience moments of grace that keep my hopes to teach alive.”—Lily L.

“In coming to understand, and believing in myself as we are all ultimately alone, and we better get used to it and like it.  My grandmother who never judged, my middle daughter named Grace who is calm, clear, and sets a great example of peace for me.”—Meg C

“The closest thing I have come to the feeling of receiving grace is when New England has a very warm day in mid-December.  It is a feeling of being blessed when one has no right to expect it.”—Barbara M., Bellevue, Washington

“My definition of grace is energy that comes from God to give you strength to carry on.  I recently saw a friend of mine go through a horrific divorce, and I think she had protective energy around her at the end, because things worked out for her.”—Genevieve M

Other comments?

“Found the show very depressing, as the brutality of humankind and the human condition is inescapable.  Feel better today after reflection on the possibilities of overcoming evil.  Maybe the concept of original sin isn’t so barbaric.  The more I live the more I realize how it’s a struggle against the human condition and the selfishness of that condition.  When we gain compassion and empathy, it is truly amazing to behold.”—Meg C

“Have followed Anna’s work from the early days. Had no idea how captivating she could be.  This was very profound.  The progression of characters was excellent.  She is truly an American treasure!!!”—Genevieve M

“In the second half, I mostly lost the grace theme. The characters were well done, but the thread of grace didn’t work for me.”—Mark A.

“An extraordinary production.  Theater at its best.”—Andy

“Five of us came together and as a group, we were tremendously moved. The length of the evening flew by and is no problem. The Rwanda section was simply stunning. But mostly it is the quiet grace that Anna creates on stage that makes it. Also, we want to say that the stage crew and the way they help Anna also totally works. It creates a quiet caesura in the action that allows one to breath, and it flows perfectly with the entire piece. Well thought out.  Anna is a wonder. A genius who helps us see what we must and should. I am so grateful for this evening. Thank you thank you thank you.”—Suzie CK

“Thank-you for another outstanding play! While student teaching this past summer, my mentor, two other student teachers and myself taught our students, “Twilight: 1992 in Los Angeles.” Your play engaged students more than any other piece of literature our students read that semester. Thank you for your outstanding work and inspiring performance.”—Lily L.

“This was an amazing experience!”—Cindy H.

“Anna, you let me get lost in your thoughts and my own at once.  Thanks for that :)”—Michael W.

“Though I found the interviews of victims/witnesses of major tragic events powerful, I didn’t always get the connection to grace.  Sometimes they felt more gratuitous.”—Reema

“I found Anna’s production to be enormously moving and full of grace.  I know that, because her grace spoke directly to my inner most spirit awakening such hopefulness and feeling of possibility. I am so thankful to have been there.”—Susan D.

“Thanks to ADS for transporting me so many places.”—Lottie S.

“Loved the show and thought ADS was brilliant and simply a genius on may levels. I would love to meet her someday.”—Dr. B

“I am excited to see this again as it melds and shape shifts and what stories will converge when.     Thank you so much for your work. And for continuing to make work.”—Lori

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3 Responses to Online Hubbub: Let Me Down Easy, Wednesday, October 8, 2008

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