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Holiday Hibernation…yeah right!

December 30, 2008

OK so maybe we’re hibernating a little, but our little-theatre-company-that-could is never far from our minds.

2 quick updates before I get to my reason for calling us together today:

1. Our last few readings have been off the chart wonderful! I know I’m biased but, truly great times were had by all who attended. If you are not among those ranks, hurry up! We only have a few left in the season. This is your opportunity to see great professional talent for FREE!

2.Speaking of readings… our next one is Feb 12th @ 6PM, called Act A Lady, by Jordan Harrison, directed by Jessi Burgess, at the Greater Reston Arts Center in the Reston Town Center. Now I know some of you tried to come to our last reading at GRACE, and were unable to find us, as GRACE was previously located in a different location within the Town Center. The Greater Reston Arts Center is currently located at 12001 Market St. which is the end of Market Street farthest away from Reston Parkway, catty-corner to Il Fornaio.

Now that that’s done. I’ve been thinking about something lately that Michael Kaiser touched on in the Post this morning.: Bailouts. It’s become one of those words thrust into our culture’s common language. We all know what it means, what it refers to. While I won’t pretend to understand the complexities of economic science, or the tenuous process of what it takes to balance, and restore economic health to our nation… I would like to suggest a missing ingredient to the cure.

The Arts. Yes I know, painting may never put food on your table, believe me I know, I’m the daughter of a painter. Theatre may never pay your electricity bill. But art can offer something that exists in the absence of all other things: cultural identity, community of shared experiences, comfort.

The economic state of the arts has been in need of bailout for a long time, dare I say it, far longer than the business industries that claim to keep the American Dream alive. What is a dream, if not a story that we tell ourselves? How do we remember this dream? We share the story of it with those we love, with those who strive along beside us.

If we cast the process of sharing our dreams and life experiences through creative mediums aside as a non-requirement, what will we become? Who will we be?

I won’t be so bold to suggest that it was a lack of art in our everyday lives that caused banks, businesses and individuals to consume, and gamble beyond their means. However I can’t help  wondering if the slow demise of support for our regional theatres, musicians and visual artists has at least in part, led us to forget who we are.

I cannot think of one dream worth having, including, the “American Dream” that was won by right of entitlement alone. The poems, plays, songs and paintings that chronicle our history, whether based on true events, or simply based on fundamental truths, are, in my opinion, one of our best hopes for not only reminding ourselves, how far we’ve come, but why we want to keep going.

-Maggie Ulmer

Artistic Director- Development and Outreach

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