HOPE—A NEW CONSTELLATION by Thomas Putnam

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b2121Yesterday I posted Richard Blanco's poem that he read at Barack Obama's inauguration eight years ago. I heard Blanco speak last year and have been intrigued with him and his poetry ever since. I heard him read this poem “One Today” as well as others from his book HOW TO LOVE A COUNTRY. When exploring a working phrase for this new Hamilton-Gibson year (last year was “All Shall Be Well”) I kept coming to the notion of together and unity and connection. I was reminded of Blanco's poem and was not surprised at the theme of the inauguration we watched yesterday: America United.

TOGETHER IN '21 makes sense for us at Hamilton-Gibson as we look for ways we can offer opportunities to be enriched and empowered through community performing arts. “Together” seems to be a foreign word during this time when we are not together. We can't have live audiences in one room. We can't wisely rehearse together in one room. Zoom is now an integral part of our lives and we're finding out more about ourselves as a result and one of those discoveries is that we need to be together.

Theatre is live. It's meant to be live. I remember a line that Ed Washington's character in HE HELD ME GRAND says, and I'm not clear on whether he said love or life, but either one, “it's messy.” For it to be truly human, the real thing, it's messy with all five senses in full gear and all the inner stuff of our lives mingling with the inner stuff of others' lives. Theatre is together.

I hope all who read this can do whatever we possibly can to help stop the spread of COVID-19 (and division and distrust and finger-pointing) so that Hamilton-Gibson Productions—and Choirs—can meet TOGTHER in a room in 2021. Wear a mask. Stay the heck away from people who are not part of your small group. Get vaccinated. Be patient. Spread love and empathy and hope. 

I love Blanco's poem. We now have another poem, read yesterday by a young vibrant performance poet, that we will explore and embrace; I hope we will allow ourselves to be enriched and empowered by Amanda Gorman's “The Hill We Climb.”

The last few lines of Blanco's poem stir me. Here's hoping we will be TOGETHER IN '21:

hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together

[From ONE TODAY by Richard Blanco]