Monday, December 7, 2015

Being Bohemian: Eleanor Katz

BoHo Theatre Company Member and Studio Liaison Eleanor Katz explores what it means to be bohemian:

Our Chicago theatre community is special in many ways. Since moving here six years ago, I have found it to be welcoming, generous, loving and creative beyond measure. I have lived all around the world and consistently find my true home and comfort when I am with my fellow magic makers. In Chicago, this happened amongst a group of artists with the biggest hearts on their broad shoulders – my Bohemians.

I remember being in callbacks for Hauptmann and having the opportunity to explore and really play with the role for which I was reading. It was my first glimpse into BoHo as a company and how things operated. During the rehearsal process, we were taken care of, treated with the utmost respect and our imaginations were given the opportunity to flourish.

Flash forward to a coffee shop in the dead of winter about a year later, and my conversation with Executive Director Kaela Altman, about my desire to become a company member. It wasn’t just the experience that I had had on stage in a wonderful production, it was the sense of community that made me want to have my artistic home in Chicago be with BoHo. I was willing to help anywhere I was needed and be a pretty loud cheerleader as well! What I found was that I wasn’t unique in my enthusiasm. That is our entire company’s mantra. Being bohemian is having an open and free spirit that is full of kindness and commitment. We are small but mighty and everyone is willing to do their part, whether it be picking up a last minute item and running it over to the space for a renter, buying toilet paper and paper towels for our studio when we’ve run out or covering a box office shift because one of our company members went into labor 2 weeks early.

OK, full disclosure, that last one was me.

In early June of this year, I gave birth to our first child, Zev Miguel. My husband, Justin, and I had struggled to conceive for two and a half years but, in the end, we had the kiddo we were supposed to have. We firmly believe that. That span of time was one of the most difficult chapters in our lives and my fellow company members were with me every step of the way. They hurt when I hurt, helped me laugh through that pain and, ultimately, celebrated his arrival with the kind of joy and support that is characteristically BoHo. As a family, being bohemian means not having to ask or explain why our baby has to attend company meetings, audition monitoring or strikes. He’s a part of me and, therefore, a part of BoHo. He will know what it is like to be raised by a theatre family. It’s the best upbringing we can imagine. It is filled with originality, acceptance, diversity, joy and magnificent stories! We are so very lucky.

The "Being Bohemian" blog series first appeared during BoHo's celebrated 10th season. What does Bohemianism and BoHo Theatre mean to you? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!