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Adventures Old and New

Going to the Dominican was perfect. Warm sea, wind in the palm trees, snorkeling, strolling along the beaches, riding the waves in small boats. Coming back in a snowstorm made for just the right amount of exhilaration. And we’ve had more snow and I am reveling in it. Three cross country skis now – a grand boost to my morale.

The Toronto Storytelling Festival is coming up this weekend. Jennifer is working on a new piece about nineteenth century women who longed for the exotic, the adventurous, then went out to live their dreams. It’s a show that highlights the differences between us for, although I find it fascinating, it’s not something I would have been drawn to on my own account.

I do, however, see its importance for what these women really wanted was to reach higher, to go beyond the life that was prescribed for them. Also as I listen to the rehearsals I realize that when I was a kid all the adventurers I ever heard of were men. Women who risked and dared were usually mocked in some way or other, much as the suffragettes were – chaining themselves to railings, going on hunger strikes and other footling activities!

Once more, I’m reminded of the need to get all of the stories out there, especially the ones that call to us, the ones that are particularly ours to tell.

Right now, of course, The Odyssey is also calling to us again – the last show for the 2wp 2012/2013 season. As I began to work on some of the promos, it came as something of a shock to realize that Gail, Ellis Lynn, Jennifer and I have been working on this great epic now for almost twenty years. We have it in our souls.

Always when we come back to it, there’s a freshness; always a deep feeling of satisfaction and delight. Always it strikes a strong chord with our audiences. When I mentioned that The Odyssey was upcoming in my close-out remarks to Jan Gregory’s show, I heard little sighs of anticipation and saw faces light up all around.

Yes, this is very much a man’s story. But what a story. It seems to have all of everything within it. It’s such a human tale. I have never even come close to regretting that we took it on. The resonances are for all of us. I remember after one performance talking to two women about the terrible battle of homecoming – a gut wrenching event if ever there was one, no holds barred. “We don’t like it but we do have to admit, there will be a time of ruthlessness for all of us,” one of the women said to me. “Better to face it,” the other woman agreed.

Stories of men, stories of women – always so much to think about. Another of the great joys of our lives.

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