I vividly remember an improvisation performance at the Enabling Village in which we played real stories told by the audience.
One particular story presented a heartbreaking tale of childhood abuse and perceived injustice.
After the fairly intense re-enactment of the story, the audience member explained how he came to view things from the alleged perpetrator’s perspective and found peace in thinking again about the incident.
There would be plenty of other such anecdotes from viewers about how a play made them think about various unconscious biases or helped them deal with certain issues they were struggling with, resulting in a meaning to my involvement in the theater.
Before I knew it, I was playing in musicals and performing in public art venues such as Center 42 two to three times a year.
In 2018, a musical I played in revolved around the concept of ceramics.
As part of the preparations, all the actors had to participate in a ceramics workshop and this unintentionally triggered my foray into the visual arts.
In a kind of déjà vu, what started out as a simple ceramic workshop has finally become an apprenticeship that has lasted for three years.
For me, the theater could not have been more different from the visual arts.
While theater taught me to read audiences, connect with them on stage, and often asked me to work with other actors to bring a story to life, pottery was generally more introspective in nature, Most artistic creations being directed by an individual.
Putting my fingers into both art forms allowed me to better appreciate situations from different angles.
COVID-19 HITS THE ARTS
By now we all know how Covid-19 abruptly interrupted live performances across the country. The plans were put aside and like many others, I was hopeful the worst would be over soon.
During this period, I doubled down on pottery, as it was still an avenue available for me to indulge in the arts.