Sam @CUSP Conference 2015

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kids. Hope. Art.

This morning was probably the most beautiful morning I have had this year.

Myself along with four wonderful actors--Rob Chrenko, Sharron Nelson, John McClure and Hugh Duneghy II went to Children's Hospital of Michigan and got to perform for around 17 kids in the Oncology department along with their parents and the amazing staff there.

I produced a 15-minute version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and those four actors made it more alive and real than I ever dreamed of when I originally conceived the idea a few months ago.

The smiles on the staff, children and their parents' faces was worth every penny and all the time I worked on this project. And, I couldn't have done it without the family, friends, associates and everyone who encouraged me, shared kind words, donated coloring books and crayons, performed and my mother who made some really beautiful costumes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

My aunt Sherry, for whom this volunteer program is dedicated, would have been SO happy and honored to be the inspiration behind  this idea. Her memory lives on with each performance that we do. Yes, that's right, this was only the first show. We plan to have many shows in the future and I look forward to sharing the journey with anyone who wants to be a part of this initiative. Please, feel free to email me at shakespeareagainstcancer@yahoo.com or leave a message on this blog post.

Quick update on my girls/drama class:

This past Saturday was a bit rough. Two very heated arguments broke out during both of my sessions. I told them how disappointed I am with them because sometimes they don't act to their potential. They are so much greater than I think they know. They are much better than the choices they have made and life can be so much better once they are released.

I am not naive. I know that many of them will go home to situations that no one, especially a teenager or kid, should have to live in. But, no matter where they are, where any of us are, we all have a choice. We can all change our attitudes.

I try to tell my girls that we are our choices. And, we all have control of what we do no matter what may be tempting us, surrounding us and trying to pull us in the opposite direction of what is right.

I envy children. I really do. They are magnificent beings--my girls and the children we met today. No matter what they are going through whether it be sickness or traumatic life events, they have an air of optimism. They are still hopeful. I am not saying as adults we become hopeless and pessimists, but I think the realities and condition of being "grown" changes our spirits. It's a quality behind kids' eyes that is really hard to put in words, but when you are around them, the world feels much better.

My recent endeavors, Shakespeare Against Cancer, and my teaching assignment have made my heart full. I feel so filled with love.

The arts are such a powerful medium.

One of the social workers at Children's Hospital told me today that she thought SAC is a "great cultural experience for parents and kids who might not otherwise be exposed to Shakespeare." That felt good! We are doing our part, but we are promoting and exposing people to art (the kids at the hospital were also given coloring books which featured characters from a lot of Shakespeare's works).

Today is a happy day!

xoxo

Sam

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