As I write this, it has been a short and unbelievably long 365 days since "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" opened as part of Perseverance Theatre's STAR program, the summer arts program for Juneau youth. It was such a great privilege to work in your beautiful and welcoming community. It was a great disappointment not to be with you all again this summer
Nearly 4,000 miles separate me from the place and people that have stolen a piece of my soul. I wrote blog entries often about the joys of working with Juneau's youth and the gifted artists at Perseverance Theatre, of my adventures and great new friendships. The problem is that the audience for my musings was primarily my colleagues back in New York City.
In the hopes of sharing how you have touched my heart, I offer some excerpts from the blog I posted last year:
7.21.09 - They (the cast) are so enthusiastic. They arrive every day, ready to play. They take chances. They make bold choices. They share ideas and focus. They encourage one another. "Brilliance point" is shouted out when someone suggests something great. They laugh. They do "homework." They do extra homework because it's "fun." They take notes. They ask questions. Every day, I watch them grow and I am so proud of them.
8.2.09 - WC Fields said "Never work with children or animals." I'm honored to work with children who act like (forest) animals! Every day they teach me something. They are so observant and thoughtful! Ezra, the 9-year-old in my cast, suggested use of the fourth wall to help with focus! During our table work, Sommer, a gifted writer in our cast, described subtext this way "the script is like a black and white outline and subtext is the color." This is the kind of stuff they discover, discuss and use everyday. They are my inspiration!
8.14.09 - The views from the West Glacier Trail were stunning. I would paint my whole world the color blue of this glacier. As we explored the ice caves I could barely breathe. You just feel so small and God's power feels so awe-inspiring ... Sunday night, after singing in a cabaret at "The BIG BLUE," I was lucky enough to be invited along when RT (Skip) Wallen, an amazing Juneau sculptor, went out with my friends Kathy and Bill for a three-day whale-watching excursion. He has been commissioned to create a humpback sculpture that will be erected right on the docks of Juneau, breaching in an infinity pool. We were all greatly moved as we spent hours watching a juvenile breaching over and over again!
8.16.09 - When the time comes and I find myself reluctantly climbing through the wardrobe back to the other side, I know I'll be surprised that the clock hasn't moved at all. NYC will still be all that I love and all that I hate. I am confident that I'll find my way back to Narnia again. My greatest wish is to call this beautiful community and these amazing people "my Alaskan family and friends" for many years to come. After all, "good people need good rulers and good rulers need good people!" (C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe")
As I look back on the things I wrote a year ago, I am reminded of the great life-changing gift your community has given me. I treasure the relationships built as they continue to grow. I call on my memories for new inspiration. I look forward to the time when I will be back with you all, creating new work and great joy.
Terry Lynn LeCompte
Actor and director
New York City