I spent the afternoon photographing my childhood home garden. The fall colors and natural patterns were so beautiful. During these quarantine times, it's easy to focus on the limitations of the world. The lack of human connection and gatherings, social distancing and being isolated. Today, I chose to focus on the small intricacies and beauty around me and I was not disappointed. So many of these photos have stories: the persimmon cookies my mom makes every fall, the mini succulent garden my sister planted, my dad's grape vine that we use for Middle Eastern family traditional food, the plants I grew up seeing every day throughout each season. Everything is paired with a memory and emotion, more so than I thought. Being able to take the time and capture some of these memories was a wonderful welcome to the fall season and a reminder of the silver lining of this time: appreciating home, the people, and places that made me who I am today.
A year ago today, I started a contract at ASF (Alabama Shakespeare Festival) as a part of the Acting Fellowship. I had never been to Montgomery, AL, but I shipped my things and moved there for seven months (almost seven due to COVID). This contract taught me so much about acting, theatre, community, education, and life. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is an incredible theater and community. The artists that work there are kind, passionate, thoughtful, supportive, and dedicated to bringing the arts to their community and greater Alabama. The Fellowship involved performing on the mainstage at ASF for the general public as well as morning performances for thousands of students a week. During the last two months of the contract, the acting fellows took to the road bringing a production of Midsummer to schools throughout Alabama. Being able to perform, educate, and discuss theater with high schoolers and students throughout the state was a dream come true. It made me appreciate being in a career that involves sharing stories and inspiring self expression. I miss the artists I worked with at ASF and I hope that we are reunited again in a better, more accepting world than the one before COVID.
Since quarantine began, I have been unable to swim laps, usually my main form of exercise. I am a member of the Webster University 100 Mile Swim Club. Swimming offers a wonderful way to exercise and clear my mind. With public pools closed, I turned to a form of exercise I had always dreaded: running. Fast forward about three months and I am currently two weeks away from running the length of a marathon. I am planning on doing the run using an old marathon trail in San Francisco. The photos above are from big running milestones I have accomplished within the last three months of training. I have seen so many new places that I had never explored before. Running offers a daily accomplishment as well as an activity that requires you to be in the present moment. I am so thankful for that every day.
About a month ago, I stumbled upon a virtual relay race coming up. The race was called "Womxn Run the Vote" and was being organized by a female owned athletic store called Oiselle.
The race involves a 680 mile virtual relay from Atlanta, Georgia to Washington, DC. The money for Registration goes to the organization Black Voters Matter which battles voter suppression in our country. As your team passes virtual locations on the course, Oiselle sends out emails with information on the Civil Rights Movement and the historical significance of these places.
I decided to organize a team, called the Wonder Womxn, to run this race. These 20 Wonder Womxn come from Kansas City, Illinois, St. Louis, Sebastopol, LA, Montana, Connecticut, New Jersy, Texas, and Santa Rosa. I also started a Facebook group for the team and this group has provided so much support and enthusiasm for each other, even if their only connection to each other is their relationship to me and this race. The genuine support each team member has given and their openness to sharing this experience and photos of their daily successes has provoked many questions and thoughts. What if this positivity and uncomplicated support of other women was always part of our lives? What if I was constantly building up other women instead of comparing my life’s experiences and passing judgement where there’s no need for judgement? Why does one person’s successes instill insecurity in another person? Especially in this time when we can’t socialize in large groups or be in person with everyone we love, how can we keep connecting and finding ways to have positive encounters with others?
Over the past few weeks, I have been working as a Core Team Member creating the Ghost Light Audition Group. This is an organization dedicated to "Creating equity and accessibility for all seeking to change the world of performing arts through higher education." I am part of the Admissions and Outreach department and we are so excited to have just published our professional website. My job involves creating core content for the website. This content includes how the audition process works, what the application process entails, and how we will interview students for scholarships through Ghost Light. Check out all of the information that our organization has gathered about the audition/college application process for students interested in a career in the performing arts. Below is our organization's introduction video as well as the link to the website!
As the school year approaches, my partner and musical collaborator, Jeremy Jacobs, has returned to his hometown to see his family! Unfortunately, this has meant a pause in our Two Scoops Live concerts on Fridays. I have included buttons below with videos of our previous weeks on Two Scoops Live. Click on the genre of music you'd like to listen to and enjoy! Thanks to your generosity, we raised over $400 for our favorite local ice cream shop: Screamin Mimis in Sebastopol, CA!
During this time of quarantine, my boyfriend and musical collaborator, Jeremy Jacobs and I started a Facebook Live Cabaret to share our love of music with everyone we know! The donations we make go to buying ice cream and supporting our favorite local business: Screamin Mimi's! Videos and additional information can be found on my tab above called "Cabaret" or click the buttons below!
Due to shelter-in-place, my contract at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival came to an end two weeks earlier than expected. My time there taught me so much and gave me so many opportunities to grow as an artist. Here is an article below about my experience and what makes the Alabama Shakespeare Festival such an amazing place to work!
Last week, we opened And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The production was directed by Addie Gorlin and to say that it is an honor to be in this production would be an understatement. The collaboration and ensemble work the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Acting Fellows did on this show was a joy to be a part of. ASF focusses on bringing theater to students and it is a privilege to tell this story about the Holocaust to thousands of middle and high school students. I play the role of Young Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor who now lives in London. The production includes video interviews with Eva and another Holocaust survivor and then the acting ensemble reenacts many of their experiences during the Holocaust. We are heading into the second week of shows!