Eleven years in (written Sept. 2012)

I entered my relationship with Playback in just the same way I entered the now-32-year relationship with my spouse: blithely.  “This is fun!” I thought.  “I’ll give it a try.”  My philosophy in both love and art was to just let things unfold day by day, and the future would take care of itself.
Eleven years into doing Playback, I’m still in love with it… but in a far more complex way than those joyful days of the early honeymoon phase, when almost every performance was a high and our troupe members were simply thrilled to be together.
Now I’ve so many feelings woven together at once, I’m like a tableau of seven actors each portraying a different side of me. Let’s watch!
Actor A is on the ground, bruised and exhausted, heart torn open by all the comings and goings within the troupe, the conflicts resolved and the conflicts left hanging.   Right behind her Actor B stands peacefully on a box, accepting that almost every Playback company around the world goes through these growing pains if they stay together long enough.   Actor C leaps forward with gusto and confidence, delighted by her ever-increasing Playback skills, while Actor D weeps in frustration that he and the whole company are still so artistically clumsy compared to his vision. Actor E crouches defensively, feeling criticized and confused by the contradictory strands within wider Playback community, while Actor F happily gathers as much information as possible, intellectually stimulated by the diversity of views. Standing on a box, above the fray, the seventh actor stretches a sapphire blue cloth studded with stars, and sings a warm, continuous heart-opening note.
As I am with my life-partner, I know now that I am in this for the long haul, and there’s nothing blithe about it.   As with my life-partner, I know Playback and I will go in and out of many phases through the years, not all of them easy, not all of them fun.  Yet there is richness in the struggles and the consistency, and depth that can only happen through sustained commitment.