Flashback Friday: Restlessness, Chores, and Driving Martin Nuts

An R&R moment in Doha in 2007.

[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]Y[/dropcap]esterday moved with a frenetic pace. There was my morning commute. A full day of work with meetings scheduled back-to-back with few breaks in between. Then I was a part of a panel discussion at the New America Foundation (which I’ll write about in another post), where I got to answer questions about government data monitoring, information privacy, and Edward Snowden.

And THEN, as if that wasn’t enough of a whirlwind,  Martin was waiting for me outside the NAF building to whisk me away to the Theater Alliance‘s Anacostia Playhouse — a theater built into a warehouse not far from the Anacostia River — for the day’s final event: attending the performance of “The Wonderful World of Dissocia” which tells the story of a woman’s whirlwind experiences with mental illness and dissociative disorder.

Admittedly, not a usual place for Martin and me to land on a Thursday evening, but it was an incredible experience for a few reasons.

First, the performances were wonderful, and the story of a woman in the grips of her mental illness was very moving. In one of those funny life coincidences, I just read the memoir “First Person Plural” a few weeks ago, written by a man with multiple personalities, who I learned about while doing some job-related research, so I was familiar with the disorder, and recognized the aspects of it alluded to in the play.

Second, it was wonderful being back in a small theater environment. It’s been a long time — too long — since Martin and I attended a show like that, even though we both used to work in theater all the time: me in Cincinnati, and he in Germany before our military careers. Being so close to the stage, and being able to really pick up on the details of the costumes, set, and lighting … it all brought back a sense of nostalgia, and really fun memories.

And finally, our attendance last night was especially nice because Martin and I were there as guests, the result of a really amazing opportunity the theater group extended to me.

About a week ago, I was sorting through my email late at night when I got a message from this blog’s “Contact Us” page. It was from Elliott Bales, who explained he is the managing director at DC’s Theater Alliance. He wrote that while doing research for his theater company’s upcoming production, he discovered my blog.

He explain that his company is preparing for an upcoming world premiere production of Obie Award-winning playwright Caridad Svich‘s play “Spark.” The play is about a female soldier returning from war to an economically depressed home with a family of three sisters who have their own problems and do not understand each other. Mr. Bales noted that he himself retired from the U.S. Army after 26 years, and found the story to be “a poignant and beautiful representation for all veterans, and women veterans in particular.”  

He spent some time reading through my blog, and based upon my writings about my personal military experiences — both as a female veteran, and as a spouse and having my loved one away from home — he invited me to meet his staff and discuss my unique perspectives as part of their pre-production work as most of the staff never served in the military at all.

I reviewed the information and script he sent me, and responded, and we talked over the phone the next day, where we talked of our past military assignments and I mentioned that I’m the oldest of three sisters, too. It was one of those funny life coincidences, right?

Of course, I accepted the invitation, both to meet with his cast and crew, and to see their current production and become familiar with the theater and the type of work they do, as most of their productions focus on socially conscious themes with a lot of educational and community outreach in the mix.

It's intermission at the Anacostia Playhouse. Martin and I came here right after my presentation.
It was intermission at the Anacostia Playhouse. 

After last night’s show, as Martin and I walked to our minivan, with both the Washington Monument and the Capitol building lit up in front of us, we spoke about the play, about the upcoming “Spark” production (which begins later this summer), and wondered about the types of things I’ll share with the cast and crew, what kinds of questions they may ask, what they would want to know as they develop their characters and stories.

We also marveled at how all of this came to be, how Mr. Bales found our blog, how these opportunities stumble upon us, and how fortunate we are to be given these opportunities.

For that reason, for Flashback Friday (when I take a dip into my blog archives), I’m sharing a post that I wrote in 2007 shortly after coming home from my deployment, and the immediate adjustments Martin and I were experiencing. I was reminded of this post as I read one of the scenes in the “Spark” script, as it rang remarkably true.

You can read it HERE.

So many little life coincidences.