Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where has the time gone?!

I can't believe how fast time in Suchitoto is flying. How do we only have LESS than two weeks left here?! The past four weeks have just flown by. We have gotten so much work done for Fuente Ovejuna...it's amazing to see everyone coming together to make a vision reality.

Rehearsals are going well...the first full week Edward was here we loosely blocked the whole play and in turn the second Saturday we were able to have a walk through of the whole show! I was very impressed at how much the students were off book when we started blocking rehearsals...makes it so much easier!

Raquel and I are continuously working on the Stage Management bible. She has learned how important using a pencil instead of a pen is while marking down the blocking! We also have almost finished the props preset list - just have to get some details finalized. This Saturday we're planning to have another gentle work/run through in the morning and then the students will even get their costumes to work in for a couple of hours in the afternoon! We used show shoes for the first time this past Saturday and it was good for them.

We're still having loads of fun on our Sundays as well - we always seem to do really tiring activities! Last week was horseback riding up and down a mountain side - seeing an area that was used as a hospital during the war, as well as a tatu - a hole in the ground people would hide in from the army. Very interesting - and the horseback riding was something else...nothing any of us had ever experienced before! This past Sunday we had a lazy day at the beach. It was a beautiful day of laying on the beach, swimming/boogie boarding, eating, drinking and relaxing. Even saw my first almost clear jellyfish in the water (after being told we wouldn't have to worry, there were no jellyfish in this area!)

I'm noticing our Spanish is improving as well...we understand a lot more, can speak a lot more and aren't using our Spanish-English dictionaries as often. I had a bit of a head start on everyone else, as I had taken Spanish in High School and have loved having the opportunity to use it again. I'm going to miss learning new words everyday, or trying to put a sentence together that doesn't make any sense at all!

I hope the next 11 days go by REALLY slowly!!!


  1. Sorry to be such a "downer"; but your comment about "a place where people would hide from the army" is too light and short to show any understanding of what that really meant. Your chosen production AND the horror of the war in El Salvador deserve better understanding. I still really appreciate your work there and your blogs. I just had to offer my opinion on a subject that is near to my emotions and memories. Thanks for listening. Elaine

  2. Hi Elaine. Michael Walsh here. I am down here right now volunteering with this project and contributing when I can to this blog. I am not a writer, and while I agree that the war has certainly affected the people who live here, I don't believe two paragraphs on a blog would do it justice. Mostly I've experienced them moving on. It doesn't come up that often. You should come visit again or offer some history or at least point our other readers to some reading material so they can also earn more about it. Thanks for the opinion. Mike

  3. Yeh,Michael. Leave it to you to find a kind way to tell me to shut the #$@ up or to put my money where my mouth is. Your blogs are wonderful. Thank you. Yes, I know that social activism is not the reason that you are in Suchitoto. I also know that most of the people with whom you are working are not of an age to have been as directly effected by the worst war years, as the people with whom I spent most of my time in El Salvador. I admit that I likely still see that area through clouded (in my case, tearful) eyes. It wasn't the project's objectives that I was questioning. I had just thought that this year's choice for a play would bring forward strong emotions that deserved informed understanding. It is good that they are "moving on". Vultures and Butterflies by Susan Classen would be a short read (not just a clinical one). I'm sure that there may be far better books, but I'm biased. We stayed in Susan's home for part of our time near Guarjila, El Salvador, where we spent many long hours listening to women tell their stories of torture, rape, lost children, disappeared family and friends, etc.. When I watched "F.A." performed at the TP, it was those women that I remembered. I guess it is time that I learned how to "move on". I do try. Thank you, Michael. I really do mean that. What you are all doing in Suchitoto is wonderful. Elaine

  4. Thanks Elaine. I really wasn't trying to say shut up. I too believe that while moving on is healthy, the past should never be forgotten and particularly around here where their experiences with the war are not ancient history at all. If anything I was criticizing myself for not being eloquent enough to really encapsulate the whole experience. I will try to get a copy of the book you suggested.

    Ultimately, I am here for the social justice aspect of things. It's the same reason I work as a theatre artist in the first place. I believe in the power of the human spirit, and the power of story telling to move people and ultimately change people and countries and societies. I am also very anxious to see the reaction to this play, as I worked on every performance we did at the Patterson. But today it's all about remembering which prop they're supposed to be carrying in at which time. It's an interesting situation when working "backstage". As much as we are collectively creating art, we are there to support the audiences experience. My job is to not get too wrapped up in the content so that the audience will be able to get totally wrapped up in it. Trying to take care of as many details as possible so there is no distraction from the story.

    I hope you keep following this story, and help us all to understand it more fully.

  5. You may be a lot of things, Michael; but verbally "not eloquent enough", is certainly not one of them. Your above explanation for what you do, is beautiful. Dr. James Orbinski (MSF)once referred to what he was doing as, "A way to live my questions". His "An Imperfect Offering" is another great read. See, never ask an old English teacher for reading recommendations. We never stop. Well, I will stop bothering you with blogs. But, I certainly will not stop following your great Suchitoto stories. Again thank you. Elaine

  6. Thanks again for another great reading suggestion. What a great quote. It's definitely no b other at all. Keep them coming. Cheers. Mike.