As we started this process of devised theatre I was excited to be doing something that mattered. I was not quite sure how the story of our families was going to impact people because most of the things we were reading about were political ways of performing. It was a new way of protesting and stories about families it didn’t seem to connect. Then, we started the process with Daniel Valdez meeting that first night and all we were doing was talking, I began to worry. How are we going to pull this off in time and how is this devised theatre. Then every time we met after that and we were going very slowly I didn’t think we were going to put it together in time. But our group, Daniel, and Janna whipped us into shape, creating a very powerful performance.
Telling my grandmothers holocaust story was very powerful not only for me but for my grandmother. When my great grandmother and grandmother left the camp they never really talked about. My mother would ask my great grandmother what happened in the camp and my great grandmother would not say anything other than she had nightmares about the screams from the camp. My grandmother is a bit more open but still wouldn’t talk about it too much. She knew I was doing research for school but she didn’t know about the performance. So when she came to see me tell her story she was able to truly and deeply cry. She heard her story coming form her granddaughter (her favorite I might add) and was able to open up. I think this happened for many people that night because after the performance you could her people sharing stories of memories that were brought up from the deepest part of the audiences mind.
Stories are so very important. Like in the books we read especially when it talk about the Laramie Project which told the story of a horrid murder of a young gay boy. It brought a community together so that justice would be brought for this young man. Their stories painted a picture of Matthew Shepard, the murder, and the community. Just like our stores painted the story of each person, where we all came from , and the community we created by telling our stories together. Stories bring us closer together and lend us the ability to see our families and the past. This is why devised theatre appeared not only in the process of preparing but it truly bares all the properties of devised theatre. These stories are so important because our families make us who we are and knowing who are families are helps us understand ourselves. If want to do anything in this world we have to know ourselves and our passions only then can we do something great. Even if we don’t know the whole history of a family being able to talk to a grand parent about their own life is something amazing because with out your grandparents, without your parents there would be no us. Their stories make us. We all found found a piece of our selves and a piece of the community that with be with us forever. I will always remember the stories and how proud my grandmother is of me, I mean she gave me a ring from the doll that helped them stay alive in the concentration camp. Thank you all for this wonderful experience and helping me find my self and a community that will never be forgotten.
-Brittany Nicole Maher