To this day, I remember the speaker at my graduation ceremony giving this advice: "Find the person who is going to help you make your dreams come true, and stick with them." I thought it was a nice sentiment, if not a little spoony. At that time, I was sitting next to one of my best friends from my time as a theatre student at Eastern Michigan University: Michael Herman. He and I both donned our little green caps and gowns, both our "honors" tassels dangling proudly. I wasn't sure exactly where life was going to take me, but as it seemed, I'd be staying in Michigan for a little while. Michael would be moving to Los Angeles for a prestigious Masters in Screenwriting from USC. I imagined, to my great disappointment, that he and I would gradually fade out of each other's lives, as is typical for college friends who live 2200 miles apart. Little did I know...just a few years later, Michael and I would be producing our second original play together. We've collaborated on more artist projects than I can count in the last few years, and this January will mark two years of getting to call my best friend "my boyfriend".
And that brings me to the creation of this show! Michael and I decided we wanted to expand from our first show which we produced earlier this year, a two person production entirely composed of just us (Making Purple). We wanted to include a couple more cast members this time around, so we could expand on story-lines and variations in scenes. He shot me some loglines for possible stories and we discussed these until we settled on the one we were most excited about: composers compete for a prestigious position in 18th century Vienna. (What can I say? We are both hard-core Amadeus fans here...) Then came a month of outlines, drafts, writing notes and editing, and finally the finished script. While Michael is most definitely the playwright between the two of us, the creation of this story was a harmonious and rhythmic collaboration. Michael is amazing to work with. One of the many reasons I love being with that guy!! Together, we continuously discussed characters, motivations, plot movements, and themes within the piece.
Then came the rehearsal process! One of the most exciting parts about this show was getting to work with two brave, hard-working actors who were pretty new to the stage: my sister, Mary, and her boyfriend, Tim. From our first read-through, I knew these two would be absolutely perfect for the parts! (In fact, Michael and I may or may not have intentionally written the parts to be perfect for them...) Through weeks of love, laughter, and a lot of growth, we started to bring the words to life and prepare for the stage! Mary and Tim were both excellent actors to work with. They both had very natural performance styles and took direction like professionals. It was so amazing to see their growth throughout the rehearsal process.
The show also wouldn't have been nearly as successful without the help of my wonderful mother, who promoted the event like crazy to our church friends, relatives, and neighbors. She also tailored the costumes so that everything fit like a glove! (She's the best!!)
If you were able to see the performance last week, thank you so much for your presence and support! I was thrilled to see each and every one of you. If not, don't worry! We're already concocting plans for our next show! *Sinister laugh*
Maestro was a beautiful collaboration and a precious piece which I will cherish all my life. The best art brings people together from all experiences to share in being a part of something bigger than ourselves, and that is exactly what this show did. And finally, I want to thank Michael, once again. You are my best friend, you are the reason I make art, and you are my childhood dreams come true.