Home Sweet Home

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What is home? You’ve heard that “home is where your heart is” or maybe where you’re born. Maybe it is where you grew up or where you live now. Some find home in other people or in a feeling. I’m not sure I know exactly what it is, but I know for sure that I’m now more at home than I have ever been.

I think part of that might be that I’ve landed. For the first time in my life I’m just here. Present. I recently had to submit for Garda vetting (that’s like a background check) and included in the application was a list of every address I’ve lived at since birth. I had to ask my mother for help, because though I remember the apartments, duplexes and homes and the situations around living in each place, I couldn’t recollect all of the addresses. In the end I counted 18 (and this may not include temporary accommodation here and there). On average that is 2.3 years per address, however my last apartment was 10 years and my first room in Dublin was 4 years, so there was a time where it was nearly a new address every year. My parents were great when I was younger to keep us in the same schools and with the same friends as we went from place to place, I know it wasn’t an easy feat. So I don’t think I ever looked at where I lived as potentially permanent. I always planned to move out at 18 and then I knew I was likely to move out of Grand Rapids after college and then I thought I’d come back to the States at some point for my career, but I didn’t expect it to be for more than 3 years.

This last move has been different. Though we are not yet in permanent accommodation, I am home. I’m not Irish, but this is where I have come, with my husband to join our friends and colleagues to build a theatre. Theatre is home. Ireland is home. Paul is home. It is interesting, in the same way committing to marriage is interesting – you gain so much by forsaking all others and saying with conviction I do. I do commit to building this dream, here in this place. You don’t know where life will lead, but you are firmly on a path and you can breathe.

We Are Family

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This season is all about gifts and true meaning and spirit and love and food and new beginnings and family. Ah, that loaded word, “family.” What do I mean by family? Yes, there are the people we grew up with, the ones we are related to, but to me family is something more than that. It is a feeling and you don’t have to grow up with to recognize, you just know it when you feel it deep in your soul. To me, family is warmth, safety and acceptance, it is looking after one another, it is love. I have that feeling when AboutFACE meets in Alan’s kitchen for our Christmas drinks, I’m so thankful for that group of people.

McGowan-at-KinoLast summer Paul and I were lucky enough to be asked to be part of The McGowan Trilogy by Seamus Scanlon, a co-production between the cell in NY and Kino-Teatr in St. Leonard’s on Sea, UK. It was an adventure as the Kino was just opening their doors (a fabulous refurbished cinema that had been closed for 40 years) and though we had met Olga (Owner, Artistic Director and Programmer, Kino-Teatr) in Ireland the previous Christmas it was to be our first time in St. Leonards and our first time doing the show in front of a primarily British audience. It was truly an adventure.
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Kira (Artistic Director, the cell and director of the show), Mackenzie (Assistant GM, the cell) and Paul were joined by Nancy (Founding Artistic Director, the cell), Seamus and me; the rest of the cast and crew were brought on by Kino and off we all went creating theatre in a new space. Of course we had our ups and downs, but we had meals together when we could, we took a day trip to Brighton and we created our own little family on the English coast.

I’m not sure why it happens with plays, maybe it is the vulnerable, intimate work you do together or the fact that it is temporary, but during production a family is often created. I love that about this work, as you can imagine as a grace junky, I’m quite partial to that feeling of family where, though you will be challenged, you can count on being loved.