Hope

Saturday February 2

I don’t have the words to describe how I feel right now. I don’t even think I really know what I feel. The performance last night was everything I could have wished for. The audience was full of people that I didn’t even know, but who had heard about the show and it’s message and came. For 1 hour and half I was telling Rachel’s story and people were listening. They were laughing with me, crying with me, and were feeling the suffering of every person and family I described over in Israel/Palestine. I am speechless by the performance and the emotions it has brought me. I probably haven’t allowed myself enough time to process this whole project yet because I think I am still in shock. I actually went through with this one-woman show on a broken foot to talk about peace and people actually showed up and listened to what I had to say. And even more than that, people were moved.

I have the best roommates anyone could ask for. Instead of buying me flowers, my roommates got together and collect $110 between all of them and donated it to the CPT (Christian Peacemaker Team) in Hebron, Palestine. I cried, I was so impressed with their thoughtfulness in thinking of a gift so meaningful to me. I love them all for helping me walk this peaceful journey.

For those interested in taking a stand against the illegal settlements being built in Israel/Palestine and destroying countless other homes, please think about joining the Twitter protest now and during the Superbowl. To learn more about this protest checkout  http://www.sodastreamboycott.org/. Join the End the Occupation campaign by signing up for a Twitter account and here to receive the pre written tweet: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/form.php?modin=249. Make a difference tomorrow while watching the game. You too can LIVE for peace!

“If we want hope to survive we’ve got to walk on, walk on”

Showtime

Rachel Corrie was an artist and a writer. A creator of details. A child, a friend, and a person.

As I am finishing all of the final preparations for the show tonight I picked up her book Let Me Stand Alone. It contains more excerpts from her journals over her lifetime. I began reading the introduction written by her father and my heart went out to him. Rachel had so much to say and I am sorry that she did not get the chance to say it all. I’ve learned more about Rachel this month than I ever expected to. I am thankful for her strength in supporting a cause that I too find important to help. Peace is something that should be obtainable rather than a never-ending tunnel.

Working alongside Rachel’s words for a month has forced me to never let them go. I want to work for peace in more ways than one. I want to have a voice that people will listen to. I want to make a difference in this world. Not for me, but for everybody else who can’t. Everybody deserves water to drink, food to eat, and a roof over their head. No matter what religion they are, no matter the family history, and no matter the tragedies that they have witnessed.

“I am a poet!” – Rachel Corrie. Tonight I hope to give your beautiful words justice. Let the light shine in the darkness.

 

Dress Rehearsal

Thursday January 31

Today’s dress rehearsal was a success! A few people showed up to see the rehearsal who are unable to attend on Friday. I walked without the assistance of crutches for over half of the rehearsal. I didn’t want to over do it for this rehearsal so I started using crutches half way through. My foot is a little sore right now but I am elevating it and hoping all goes well tomorrow!

The few people who were in attendance tonight really thought the performance was eye-opening for them. They were very gracious and were wiping tears away from their eyes while they congratulated me. I am excited to see how many people from the community show up tomorrow. I have been working hard and would really like to give this show some justice tomorrow.

My nerves continue to escalate each day that we are closer to performance time but I think that is good thing. Once I start talking and really look out into the audience I know that I can do this. It’s just those first few lines when my heart is pounding so loud I can hear it in my ears.

I feel like working with Rachel’s words they have sort of become my words. Last night I had a dream in the way that she wrote her poetry. I described things down to the last detail, and over emphasised the physical description of everything. It was really weird, but I woke up and thought that this is what it is like to be fluent in another language.

Tomorrow will be a hectic day because I will constantly have the 7:30pm showtime flashing through my brain, but I’m excited. I am grateful for my friends and family who have supported me throughout this month. This show is not only for Rachel Corrie, myself, and the people of Israel/Palestine, it is also for all of you.

Peace be with you.

I can walk!!!

Wednesday January 30

First full day of classes for second semester and I am exhausted! I even skipped out on a few things to rest up for this evenings rehearsal. We didn’t start rehearsal until 9pm tonight because of other conflicts and rehearsals. That is about the time I find myself getting ready for bed lately, because I am so tired after a full day of moving. Lame, for a college student but it’s what you have to do to keep energy with a broken foot.

Several friends showed up to rehearsal to help me warm-up and get energized. We did some very inappropriate tongue twisters, stretched, and sizzled like bacon. Then we went for it. All tech, all stage help, all lines, props, costume changes, and lighting cues. And it went smoothly, not perfect, because there was some jumping around, literally and figuratively, but we made it!

We have an open dress rehearsal tomorrow and it will be our last time to smooth out any bumps in the road. Friday is the day. Two more days to go!

Oh ya…and I practiced walking today without crutches. I started out pretty rough. I looked like a one-legged peacock with back problems learning to walk for the first time. But after awhile of giggling from my audience of friends and some more feeble attempts to look normal I walked across my stage. Of course my arms were flopping around and pulling the air to help me move forward but I finally figured out how to put pressure on my foot. The doctor gave me a special shoe I am allowed to use for the performance and I’m technically allowed to walk for the performance as long as it doesn’t hurt. So far it doesn’t hurt it just takes some getting use to. Tomorrow we shall see if I can make it through an hour and half without using crutches. Fingers crossed! But it’s a miracle already!!

Donations will be given to…

4 days. 3 rehearsals. It is almost time. Sometimes I am so nervous and I can’t actually believe this is going to happen. Class starts tomorrow and my life won’t be completely immersed in this project…although it is the first week of classes so I may be letting things slide during tech week (or the week of hell as we sometimes call it). This is the week where things start falling into place, you don’t really sleep, and you are constantly making lists of last-minute things you must do to make the show come together.

My director and stage manager put together a soundtrack for the production. And it is AMAZING! Some of the songs are taken from a street band in Palestine, a Folk band made up of Israelis and Palestinians, and a Mass taken from music of the Jewish, Islam, and Christian faith. I get goose bumps it’s so good!

I have officially decided that all donations made will be donated to ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions). It is an organization in Israel/Palestine that is resisting the occupation and constructing peace. All money, after production costs are taken out, will be sent to help this organization build peace. I found this organization fitting because Rachel Corrie worked closely  preventing the demolition of homes and I visited this site while in Israel/Palestine. Volunteers from all over the world have the opportunity to go and rebuild houses during the summer. For more information about this organization go to: http://www.icahd.org

There will be no ticket sales for this performance. All seating is general. Doors will open at 7pm, so if you are travelling from a distance please show up early to get a spot! Who knows how many people will show up!

Making Do With What You Have

Today is the kind of day where you eat a can a frosting and suck it up.

Turn your frown upside down.

Take a nap on the coach.

Have a dance party sitting down.

Drink ice tea.

Pin useless things on Pinterest.

Post random things on friend’s Facebook pages.

Learn to be grateful for what you have.

Accept what you can’t change.

Trust God.

Everything happens for a reason. To strengthen you, challenge you, and show that you are loved.

 

Five days. I am more excited and scared than I could have imagined. Word is getting around that this production is happening and people are coming; despite my nightmares about only 15 people showing up and forgetting all of my lines. I will have to focus on the dream that I did have a few nights ago where I miraculously woke up the day of my performance and could walk again. Crutches or no crutches this show is happening and it is going to make a difference. Now more than anything I want to share Rachel’s story. I want to open people’s eyes on Friday, to something beautiful and meaningful.

Thank you Rachel Corrie, for everything that you did.

The Show Must Go On

Friday January 25

This past Tuesday was my 22nd birthday and I received the news that my ankle is broken. A little bit of a shocker because the two days before my director and I spent our time convincing ourselves that it was not broken and I would be able to walk on it by showtime. Well…the show must go on. And it will, in a boot with some minor limping. As of now I am getting around on crutches and a rolling desk chair made into make-shift wheelchair. The hope is that once the swelling goes down I will be able to walk on it, but only during rehearsals and the performance. The doctor was very understanding of my upcoming performance and put me into a boot so that I will be able to walk for the show. Fingers crossed that the audience won’t even notice I’m in a boot, they’ll just think it’s a new fashion statement I’m trying out! All I can say is stay away from masonite folks, it’s an evil thing!

The biggest impact that my broken foot has had is my inability to help with the set and myself. I am a very independent person and I try not to ask for help whenever physically possible. Looks like I am going to have to overcome that personal feeling pretty fast. Luckily I have a stong group of supports by my side who have helped me in more ways than I can imagine this past week. My mod is about as handicap accessible as it will ever be with a flight of stairs attached to it. The broken foot has slowed me down quite a bit and made me realize again just how lucky I am. It now takes me a good 3 hours to be dressed, fed, and ready-to-go before rehearsal. Luckily, I don’t have morning classes. One of the other struggles I am learning to cope with is the physical exhaustion I feel at the end of the day. Each time I move it is a whole body workout, crutches are getting my arms ripped. My whole body aches from the crutches but my foot itself doesn’t hurt too much, only at night…when I try to sleep.

Today was the first run-through of the whole show without book. I made it, broken foot and all. The lines are there and by the end of the weekend they should come out as if they were my own words. I’m looking forward to this next week of rehearsals as Rachel’s character begins to emerge in more ways than one on stage. They show is really starting to come together!

It’s a little scary knowing that I will be onstage talking for one and half hours, but I know I have a whole team behind me and supporting me. I just need to remember to breathe. By next Friday night I will have something to be proud of, something I will always remember “Hey, remember that onetime I did a one woman show with a broken foot…”  I’m not even too scared of that countdown on my blog anymore, just a little.

I am strong. I am important. I am scared and brave. I have friends and family supporting me. I have a broken foot, but I have two feet. This is Rachel Corrie’s story. She had something to share and I have the ability to share it. I CAN do this.

Remembering and Praying

Today as I remember Martin Luther King Jr. I look to those who have lived a life hoping for a peaceful world. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, and many others. All of these people didn’t care about gender, the color of ones skin, or what religion they were; they only cared that everyone should be treated as a human being. Simple as that. Trying to bring about peace in heated situations is hard and takes work, but real peace does not look at religion, gender, race, or nations. As Martin Luther King Jr. said “We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.” Being a peacemaker is not easy. You get shot, your death is over looked, and you are constantly criticized by those around you. You are attacked, and belittled, and threatened. So why do peacemakers continue to try? Why did Martin Luther King Jr. continue to speak about change and living side-by-side? My theory is that they all had hope for a better world. Hope that someday religion and race wouldn’t be an issue for people. There wouldn’t be war over land and who’s right and who’s wrong. Why does it really matter who’s right anyways?

I am a Mennonite. I have friends who are Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, African-American, Chinese, and Canadian. When I chose my friends I did not pick them because of what they believed or where they were from or the color of their skin. I picked them because they are good people, they treat others with respect, and drop everything to help me as I quickly try to heal a sprained ankle. I couldn’t have ask for better friends and I love each of them as they are, regardless of the labels society has given them.

After hurting my ankle pretty badly on Saturday while building the set I have had to constantly remind myself what I am thankful for and pray for things I cannot change. I am thankful for life. I am thankful for two feet. I am thankful for the welcoming community at Rainbow Mennonite Church. And most of all I am thankful for the people that surround me with love, hope, and joy. Sometimes all we can do is take a deep breath and pray. Pray for a better tomorrow and a safer world. Please pray for strength to better tomorrow, an open mind to listen to others, a big heart to love everyone, and a helping-hand to help those in need.

“Lord, listen to your children praying. Lord, send your spirit in this place. Lord, listen to your children praying. Send us love, send us power, send us grace.”

The walk for peace may be more of a limp right now but I will still trudge along, because there are people who need a helping hand. And a friend.

A Heaven Full of Forgiveness

Thursday January 17

I have been getting really angry at the world lately. I have basically been living in the world that Rachel Corrie lived in while she was in Israel/Palestine for the past two weeks and it is hard. I am experiencing the same things she did and I feel like they are effecting me almost as much as they effected her. Sometimes I wonder how she did it. I don’t know how she was able to witness these horrific events at such a young age. She was only a year older than I am. I can’t image going through this experience without being able to call my mom and cry and complain about how horrible the world we live in is. This world is not fair. It is mean and makes really bad choices. This world would fail any class offered at KIPCOR.

I truly hope that when we all die, there is only a heaven. My wish is that everyone will go to heaven and God will be like “You really screwed up, but I love you and I want you here with me.” And then everybody we be like “Ya we really did, that was real stupid of us. I wish I would have lived my life differently. I want to go back and tell everybody that war and murder is not worth it.” The sad part about that is even if all these angels from heaven come down and tell us all to grow up and just be nice, I’m not sure how many people would actually listen.

I want to believe that there is something greater out there than this horrible world we live in. I need to believe this, because it helps make my life mean something. I want to devote my life to making this stop. It really is not necessary and should have been stopped a long time ago. This has got to stop!

Two Lives of Similarities

Tuesday January 15

Rachel Corrie was a writer, poet, and activist. She described the simplest of things as if they were hidden treasures. She made lists. She wrote down her thoughts and feelings in journals. Rachel was driven and courageous. She was awkward, goofy, and free-spirited. She was fun. And most of all she was loved.

Today Megan gave me an assignment to make a list of all of the things Rachel and I have in common. This is to help my characterization of Rachel and bring her to life on stage. I am currently scared to bring Rachel to life. I read her words as if they are sacred territory that are to be stressed with meaning in every word. This is true, however I need to be able to show Rachel’s fun side of life. This play is not about her death the entire time. It is about her life’s work. Her devotion to peace and the rights of humanity.

Rachel and Renee’s similarities:

We are driven. We do what we want and what we think is right, no matter how crazy or scary it may be.

We are organized, list makers. Keeping track of everything on our minds by writing it down.

Our families are beyond supportive, but keep our realities in check.

We were raised in a world where opportunities and possessions were handed to us freely.

Impressing boys. Sheltered lives. Overly decorated, red bedrooms. Unknown futures. Overly dramatic.

We live in fantasized, utopia worlds where people are free and happy. Everywhere.

Our first overseas trip was eye-opening and changed our life for the better.

We are not afraid to swim naked on the beach.

Our mothers were overly involved growing up.

We believe in peace

and hope.

My differences from Rachel:

My vocabulary is limited. I cannot write in ways that she did.

Her strength seems stronger than mine.

I sing my way through the hard times. She drew and wrote.

I have footsteps to follow on the path to peace in Israel/Palestine.

I am able to perform her words, and speak to people about her activism.

If Rachel Corrie were still alive today and we met, I know that we would work together to solve this horrible situation. She would push me in ways that I wouldn’t know were possible. I would be hesitant at first but thank her in the end. Sacrifices are going to have to be made to make peace in the world.

I am having a hard time. I am having a hard time trying to figure out why everyone can’t sacrifice things and time in their life to help making this stop. Maybe when I am 50 years old and have lived a bit longer, I’ll understand. But now I have this energy and drive that cannot understand anyone’s reasons to sit by and let this happen. I cannot believe that God would want that to happen. I cannot believe that we let that happen. Why does life have to be so hard? We should all be able to sacrifice and share with others. Forget about the power struggle, the money grabbing games, and the endless war over land.

“We are all born and someday we’ll all die. Most likely to some degree alone.” - Rachel Corrie

Would you rather be remembered like Mother Teresa or Ivan the Terrible?