I went to the first rehearsal of TheatreWorks’ Warrior Class today- my first activity as a Fellow! Some 40 people, ranging from artistic staff to marketing and development staff to box office staff came to introduce themselves, show off their designs for the show and offer information and guidance to others in the room. I’ve never been in a production at TheatreWorks, so getting to see how warm and generous everyone is was really lovely. And their new digs are great!
Warrior Class explores the divisiveness of our current American political landscape through the lens of racial identity and how it affects our life trajectories. How serendipitous for me that my first production as a Fellow features an Asian American in the central role! The part is played by the amazing Pun Bandhu, who recently wrote this thought-provoking article on access and equal opportunity. During a break, Pun and I were talking about the author and sociologist Malcolm Gladwell’s assertion that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to excel at something, and how many Asian artists have to play catch-up as they enter the field because they weren’t encouraged to explore their interest in theatre at an earlier age. I personally knew I wanted to become an actor when I was nine years old, but was discouraged by my family and couldn’t start to take classes or pursue my interest until I moved away from home. How many more hours would I have banked towards that 10,000 hours if I could have started at the age of nine? And how many Asian artists have we completely lost because after they graduated high school, they thought it was too late?
This conversation with Pun quite beautifully merged the two components of my fellowship together- a time of profound artistic growth, and a community outreach effort to provide information and resources to people who might be sitting on the sidelines when they should be busy banking towards their 10,000. I’m more excited than ever to dig in and see what these next two years bring, and just plain grateful. 🙂