(Okay, three if you count our names end in -ina)
First, we both attended state-supported performing arts “Governors Schools” during high school, focusing on theatre.
Second, we both were speaking on Virgina college campuses last night. Tina Fey, to a packed out group at UVA, and I, to Sophia as we biked through William Mary: “slow down, no not that slow,no no don’t hit that studying-while-walking-student, I know he should look up.”
I attended the Governors School program almost fifteen years ago, had a blast, and learned quickly that maybe the life of acting wasn’t for me. I tired of the improv games and the constant shouts of “Let’s pretend our whole lives here are a musical and sing our words.” (Oh where was Glee in 1998?) But, recently, I’ve been thinking about one particular experience that month. It was towards the end of the term and we were preparing our final theatre project, our “share.” Our teachers were adamant that our whole time there was not about product but about process, therefore, we would never perform, we would share.
I was horribly disappointed. I wanted to perform, and on top of it, I was a Christian school kid! Share-time was what we did. Around campfires, in chapels, sporadically, constantly. I had finally ventured into the wilderness of secular theatre….and share-time it was.
Process over Product, they would shout from the back of the auditorium, from the floor of the rehearsal studio. “We want to see how you are learning and growing..that’s it!”
But when time came for the planning of that final “Share”, sixty overzealous theatre students were left alone in a room. I forget most of what we came up with but I do remember the finale. It was a sort of interpretive, umm, interpretation to the song “Fame.”
Yes it was.
We were real proud.
Our teachers were devastated. “This is what you have learned in your time here? To chase after fame and glitz, forsaking art and process?”
No, answers my 32 year old self, we didn’t learn any of that there. We were just seventeen and at the end of the day, that’s what we still wanted. Forget the process. Process is annoying.
Process continues to be annoying. But the longer I live the more I depend on its value. It matters, it has to.
I chant process over product to myself as I cook, still not a love story. I cling to process over product as I trudge through a five-year degree program. (one down, four to go). I believe in it for our church and my relationships, and in my marriage. Process is why I continue to show up here. If the internet breaks tomorrow, since I have not backed this thing up like my brother tells me to, I’ll be sad, but the process and how it’s formed me will remain.
Most recently, I’ve let it begin to inform how I read the Bible. So often we focus on the ends of stories because we know the end. But those involved didn’t. They were in process. Confused, clinging, hopeful for an end result, often not seeing it, but trusting that the One who began this good work would also complete it.
What does the road to completion feel like? Like your day today. And mine.
What does it look like? Sometimes, a little bit like a group of misled thespians dancing to “Fame”, I think.
Or maybe this,
Have a great week friends…Spring feels like newness and Fall feels like change and somehow that’s always two different feelings. Happy Fall.
*editors note: I think perhaps I got mixed up Ms. Fey herself did not attend a PA Governors School. Well, there goes my hook…