Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Change, Family, and Fear of the Unknown, by Paul Di Ciccio

“I don’t recognize him! That’s a stranger!”

Amanda Jane Long and Peter Robel in Eurydice
One of the themes of Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice that has particularly resonated with me over the last few weeks has been the fear of growing up. In the play, we see Eurydice grow up in the Underworld with her father. When it is time for her to leave her father and to go to the land of the living with Orpheus, we see Eurydice become terrified of leaving her father’s protection, declaring that she no longer recognizes her husband.

I relate to Eurydice’s fear of growing up, especially her fear of leaving a place where she feels protected. At the time I’m writing this, not only did Eurydice just open, but I also graduated from Columbia College with my degree in theatre directing and I left my job. All of this happened in a period of two days.

The weeks before all of this change had been overwhelming with finishing school, finishing my final projects and papers, going to work, and going to Eurydice rehearsal every night. Now that the show has opened, I've graduated, and I've left my job, for the first time in my life I have nothing to do– and no visible end to this period of having nothing to do. Other than applying and interviewing for jobs, I have nothing to do but to think about the fact that I no longer have the artistic protection of school or the financial protection of a job. It’s almost as if I’ve lost the protection of waking up each morning with a purpose. I understand why Eurydice is so terrified.

All of this would have been a hell of a lot more terrifying if I didn’t have BoHo. I really mean this. I have so much emotional, creative, and career-oriented support here. When I arrived at the theatre after the opening performance of Eurydice, having just left my college graduation, I was presented with a graduation card signed by the cast and crew of Eurydice and by other members of the BoHo company. They had so much to focus on before Eurydice opened, but, in spite of it all, they each took time to write a personal note of encouragement for me. That meant so much.

Director Charles Riffenburg’s caricature of Paul
BoHo has taught me that anything is possible. For each of the three shows I’ve worked on here (Scotland Road, Dogfight, and Eurydice), this small storefront theatre company has attempted something far too big for its britches. When I think about the intricacies of the cracking effect in the walls in Scotland Road, the magnitude of the technical elements in Dogfight, or the raining elevator with ACTUAL running water in Eurydice, I know that these are all obstacles that should have been insurmountable for a theatre company of BoHo’s size, resources, and budget. I have been lucky enough to experience BoHo's triumph over each of these obstacles through the true spirit of collaboration (see Tony Churchill’s beautiful BoHo blog entry) and through incredible ingenuity. I’ll never forget when we couldn’t get a curtain to close in Dogfight and Meg Love devised a contraption made of straws and a Dunkin' Donuts cup to get it to close. In my life, I tend to err towards pragmatism and reticence. BoHo has taught me that what seems to be impossible probably is possible with enough effort, resourcefulness, and collaboration. In this way, BoHo has permanently changed me.

BoHo has also given me an artistic home that I know will be there for me whenever I need it. I am constantly reminded by BoHo collaborators: “You are part of the BoHo family.” It’s not just “We like working with you” or “You are useful to us.” It’s “You are family.” And, in return, my BoHo collaborators are my family. A lot of things in my life are uncertain right now, but I know that I have BoHo’s open and loving arms. Knowing that has provided me with a great amount of emotional security. Who else graduates from theatre school with a theatre company saying that they are family? How did I get so lucky?

Despite most of my life being up in the air at the moment, BoHo has been my emotional bulwark. And I could not be more grateful.

Also, to anyone reading this, please hire me.

Paul Di Ciccio
Eurydice Assistant Director