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Campaiging for Obama

This is not exactly about the TEAM, but for a company called “The Theatre of the Emerging American Moment” I do think it speaks to the forces that motivate us.

David and me and Frankie at the offices

Just a note to say that Frank Boyd (performer) and I went down to South Philly yesterday to volunteer for the Obama campaign and it was a truly phenomenal experience.  The offices down there – and I’m sure across the country – need all the help we can give, financially and in terms of time.  This is a massive grassroots effort, and yesterday Frank and I (and Frank’s pal David!) got to do it all: we registered voters on South Street, we canvassed a neighborhood that can only properly be described as the projects and had extraordinary conversations with people, and we made phone calls to try to get more volunteers.  It was cool, and fun and definitely tangibly useful.

What I think is most fearsome to most volunteers, we really grafted to, which was talking frankly and positively and strongly to a VERY poor black neighborhood.  The necessity of as many people registering as possible before the deadline on October 6th, and then getting them to vote cannot be overstated.  I talked with a 19-year old girl yesterday who was not registered and had been taught all her life NOT to vote because the system was so corrupt anyway that “one African American doesn’t equal one vote” (her words).  Anyway, we talked for about 10 minutes, and at the end I got her to register.  And to pass a registration form on to her mom.  Who knows if she will vote, but I think it was a very important encounter.

Anyway, the time they can MOST use volunteers is weekend days, but also 4pm-9pm every day of the week.  There’s a MONSTER PUSH to register before October 6th, but then a monster push to get people persuaded and out.  Pennsylvania canNOT be lost.  It’s about $13 each way if you take NJ transit to PA public transport just down to Philly, and then I’m sure a cab to this office.  OR easy to split between a group a zipcar or car rental.  Less than 2 hours to get down there, so you really can go for a day.

I just thought it was amazing, so I urge you to consider doing.  I am definitely planning on going back down, so let me know when you might be able to go!

-Rachel

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Diplomacy / Diplomas

Today we had a TEAM meeting with one member via speakerphone and some members in absentia. We talked about theatre as a form of diplomacy. I want to write an article about us for a theatre publication to answer a literary request about why people make international art. Rachel informed us that an article based on a very large TCG / theatre conference has already been written very much about this.

When I make theatre I think about the Greeks. I think about ritual lately* (*in the past 5 years to present, espeically 2 years to present) and I think about the ancients. And I try to connect to the idea that human beings have gotten in front of other human beings and acted things out for them for quite a long time. This is nothing new and the concepts are pretty simple. We initiate each other. We witness. We take each other through things. Mystical tour guides. Symbols. Ciphers. However you like to slice your potatoes.
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Honeys….? We’re home.

OK sooooooooooooooooooooooooo that was fast. And totally beautiful. Wow the weather in Brooklyn here right now is aMAzing. And it’s not pishing down rain as they say in Scotland either. Sun! It’s crAZY!

We had a brillant 5 days and 4 weeks and an excellent and super safe flight home. I have been thinking about the phrase, “Home is where the heart is” and how I always assumed it meant, You heart is always found in the home that you grew up in OR the place that you live in, currently, now, the most. But – what I learned while being away, in many foriegn rooms, hotels, and theatres, with LOTS os strangers, is that wherever your heart is, there is home for that moment, for that day.

And so it totally flipped my perspectual gaze on that easily misapprehended clicho.

My heart was definitely in Scotland. And the Traverse theatre. And in my throat watching people cue up for tickets to our show hours in advance. And throughout the course of our play, my heart was in New Orleans. And deep seeking into my imagination for empathy and understanding. Thinking about my grandparents and their grandparents and how people build their lives here in America. And what gives those lives meaning.

I am feeling very lucky to be a working part of this creative machine.

And now back to the sofa where I despite the sun might sleep (avec my favorite accessory of le temps – a Virgin Atlantic red sunshade eye mask, which I wore EVERY single night in Scotland) while my kind subletter finishes his August with us upstairs.

It’s way too early for me to be awake and dealing with anything like impending jet lag, which I fear can hit you with Olympic Judic hijack quality stealth if you do not achieve a sufficient quantity of horizontal REM and maybe feel yourself and your heart, in whatever is it’s home, getting a little comatose.

x JA

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A blog from Margolin

It’s the last day of the Festival and we are all about to go to the theater to do our last show and then load out.  Most of the set and props are staying here in the UK to be here for future touring of Architecting so it looks like we won’t be as much of a clown car of luggage heading back to the States as we were coming out here. 

The run has exceeded expectations on all fronts.  We won the Total Theater Award for best young company a few days ago to add to our three Fringe Firsts, and Dublin award.  Even after the reviews came out people have continued writing about the show, in the culture pages of papers, on blogs . . . we even sat with a young woman who will be using Architecting as a source for her Masters Thesis.  I have been blown away by the number of people who have written about the TEAM for their dissertations.

Looking back over the last month, one of the things I am most struck by is that we are being treated like a mature company – by the press; by our audiences; by our cololeagues.  When we came in 2006 much was made of our youth – how astonishing it was that such a young group of people were working with such excellence.  This time around, our youth is rarely mentioned (maybe we’re just getting old . . .) Rather, we are treated like adults, and the company is talked about as a mature entity with a legitimate ouvre and a coherent, unique artistic vision.  It feels like an arrival.

I am excited to continue working on Architecting when we get back to the states, getting it ready for our US premier!

What a ride! – Jake Margolin

BABIES!

Hi guysies

so the internet has been down at our (fly-ridden) house so apologies for spaces between blogs. we are in final race to the finish line, getting as many presenters and producers into the house as possible.  Joe Melillo from BAM was in last night which was SUCH SUCH an exciting and crazy step – the audience was of course the quietest we’ve had for the whole run so I was nervous as hell, but so it goes.  It’s always impossible to know how it’s going out there from where I’ve been watching in the booth.  And people are still enthusiastic afterwards – other than perhaps the group of British private high school students, who I don’t think had much of a context for the themes of the work.  The americana of this show has been intensely striking as we present to international audiences, but I think people are still latching on to the greater themes of nation building, if not some of the more emotional stuff about what a wreck the country is in today.

And on our day off this Monday we went to visit Davey Anderson’s new baby!  Davey is our associate director on the piece, and he and his partner Clem have a GORGEOUS 17-day (as of Monday) old baby.  some photos!

-rachel

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ohmygosh.

wow. holy mackeral. or should I say (the local) sea bream?

Scotland.

Scotland.

Scotland freaking ROCKS. the festival has been amazing. a totally challenging and beautiful convergence of art and life. the Traverse and the National Theatre of Scotland have been aMAAAAzing! as have the delightful pairs of parents and grandparents! who have come to visit us, treating us to hot meals of pub fare and dim sum.

we share beds and swap rooms. husbands leave for work in the states and girlfriends come bearing peaceful warm hugs from frenetic professional new york lives and through it all the forward motion of This Thing continues, sometimes threatening to exhaust itself, sometimes busting at the hinges, (no, like, literally) but there is this forward motion, this impetus to keep growing and This Thing revealing itself.

every show is an opportunity to learn what It actually is. which is wonderful. this bittersweet and constant Falling Short of a certain height that will be perpetually out of reach.

this is a good thing. i think.

aspirations making themselves known.

and my parents are here! they are currently THE delightful pair of incredible, happy, supportive, joyous, generous, courageous, faith inducing, faith filled parents who have believed in us and followed us here willingly since 2005 when we had absolutely no idea WHAT we were getting ourselves into. maybe they did. maybe our parents, all of our parents, just wanted us to be happy. maybe they thought we actually had something here. maybe they had absolutely no idea but they were willing to risk it anyway – thousands of dollars, air plane miles, a broken foot, some sweetened hearts, some trampled temporarily, inadvertantly, some salty tears and strange afternoons, fantastically bizarro nights – some air guitar, hundreds of cups of teas and coffees later, we are here.

Saturday, August 16th, 2008.

yesterday was the Roman Catholic holiday The Assumption, if I remember my Catholic schooling properly (I think.) I quite like the image: Mary, instead of dying per se, being assumed wholemeal (as opposed to piece meal) straight up into heaven.

I like it so much that we get to be here. This is a beautiful country. Even when it is pissing down rain (as they say) in your face and you’re cold and you’re stubborn and you won’t buy yet another umbrella, because the first one broke and sliced open your left thumb nuckle. Hypothetical. Is that how you spell nuckle? Nuckel. Woah.

There is a castle, and sea, and the most magnificent sky and letter R sounds. Beautiful people excited about making good plays. Full audiences. People Qing for return tickets. And a chance to do something pretty special that’s bigger than any one of us. Not a bad dream for a young woman to be living, a young woman from New Jersey and malls and hairsprayed French braids and cheerleading squads and trips to see Canadian geese and bowling alleys.

Everything is preparation.

(FYI, I think.)

I hear there is a full moon tonight.

Not 100% certain.

Somebody forwarded it to me in an email from Long Island City. Not sure where the message originally came from. Not sure if full moon’s the same over here and across the Atlantic.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm,

Jess

Presenter Country!

Hi,

So it’s another rainy day here.  The weather I have to say has been by all accounts unseasonably crappy, so I bought a pair of Doc Martens (inspired by a great Nirvana article we’ve been passing around) and Libs bought a rain coat.  But spirits are relatively good after a nice day off yesterday with sunshine in the spiegeltent garden.  We got to sit with Steve Cramer (journalist here and a good friend of the company’s) and Matt and Jake H. enjoyed many beers before heading back home at dawn this morning.

Houses are totally packed, and there is a…wonderful…embarrasing but wonderful series of photos on the cover and front pages of Fest Magazine of the TEAM!  You can probably see it – along with a beautifully written feature at www.festmag.co.uk.  Exciting.  And there’s going to be a spot on the BBC about the show, and next week we have an upcoming radio spot.  Busy goodness.  We also saw it’s a beautiful 72degrees back home, and got a twinge for NYC.  Daniel Kitson, the performer/writer/comic is doing a piece here called 66a Church Road which was my favorite thing I’ve seen thus far, and it’s all about home and the pain and joy of nostalgia – definitely has made me excited to bring this show and our butts home at the end.

But conversations with presenters all over has begun in full, and hopefully the work is going to have a LONG LIFE ahead of it.  But first, NYC.

-Rachel

FRINGE FIRST!

huzzah!

an honor. jake wore his wedding suit, and we all looked pretty spiffy indeed.

joyce is such an incredible speaker, made me so excited about all the shows.

rachel gave a perfect, moving thank you and it was lovely to look out and see the smiling faces of such a support network.

coffee, and orange juice, a black shiny plaque and photographs.a good morning indeed.

thank you edinburgh! thank you scotsman! thank you friends and family at home and beyond who have supported us – we are very grateful.

-jfru

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still at the bloody theatre

it’s about 9:45pm now.  we arrived at 12:30 to perfrom at 1:30, then we at nachos at the cafe/bar here at the traverse and then we saw a play here called “Pornography” (about the bombings on 7-7) and now we’re back for a 10pm showing of Daniel Kitson’s piece “66a Church Street”.  so that means that when we finally get the hell out of here today it will have been nearly a 12 hour session at ye olde Traverse Theatre.  And that’s the vibe.  We did leave for a great dinner with rachel’s pop and grandpa.  thanks for the nourishment Mr. Chavkin(s).  it really is a vibrant scene here at the traverse.  i love this atmosphere.  and i miss my woman.  hello ni.  okay, time to get in line for the show.  ciao.  go USA (at the olympics in particular).

~FRANK

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First family visit

The TEAM has been blessed with families whose support remains unparalleled.  Financial, sure.  But much, much more, there is a spiritual, emotional…LOVE.  Truly, we are loved.

These are pictures of my theatre family with my blood family.  So much love.  And so much food.

My dad and grandpa Herbie fly home tomorrow, and my mom and stepdad left Wednesday.  And then Jess’ family arrive next week!

It will be for them tomorrow, in large part, as well as all the parents and step-parents and brothers and sisters and aunties, uncles, and grandparents, and for all loving friends, that we accept the Fringe First for Architecting.

Oh yes!  HAVE I MENTIONED WE WON THE FRINGE FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  After an absolutely stunning review from Joyce for the show, we were on pins and needles, and it will be announced tomorrow officially in the Scotsman!!

-Rachel

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