Thursday, 18 February 2010

Things I learned being married to the Shrew

Dear Shannon,

I don’t feel I’ve adequately expressed to you my thoughts and feelings on your performance in “The Taming of The Shrew.” You haven’t said anything or even hinted at disappointment in this, but you deserve more. Here it is.

When you first told me you wanted to be in “Shrew” I was nervous (I think understandably) about the time commitment. I was nervous about being on my own with The Four every night for two and a half months. I was worried you’d be exhausted and the house would be more a wreck than it usually is. But it turns out that wasn’t the case. And it turns out it was the best thing that’s happened to you in years.

I heard that at the 2nd to final cast party (lots of those cast parties) Iain (the director) talked about what a great cast it was and how you were all so much a family. I also heard that Beki (Biancha) said it was because of you. She was absolutely right. From the moment you stepped on stage it was obvious who’s show it was. Everyone else did a great job, but you were better. We watched Shaun White kill it in the halfpipe at the Olympics last night. I think that last night more than at any other time, the world recognized that Shaun White simply operates at another level. And that’s how it was in “Shrew”: you were operating at a level the others simply weren’t capable of.

I know this sounds like hyperbole, but it isn’t. You were that good, and I have the commentary of our friends and family to prove it’s not just me.

The good thing about a situation like this is it causes everyone else to work harder and be better. Just by being in the performance you raised the quality of the production, but because of who you are—your work ethic, your passion and personality, you caused them to take it up another notch. The result of which was a much better production than I’d bet Pull-Tight has had in years. Because you do that. You inspire the people around you to be better, to stretch themselves to do and be more than they could on their own.

I’d like to say that the moment you stepped on stage I saw you in a whole new light. But the truth is I didn’t. I know what’s in you and the levels you’re capable of, more than even you do, I think. So it wasn’t a big revelatory moment for me, although I did feel an unexpected amount of pride and a little bit of “suck it, monkeys. She’s with me.” For me, the gratifying thing has been watching our friends have the “aha” moment about your talent. The texts, tweets and comments I’ve gotten from them about you are so great, so vindicating, because they show me people are finally recognizing something I’ve known since you first performed that catwalk scene in “Lady J” with Scott. You are the most talented girl I know.

But the most indescribably beautiful thing about all of this is that you chose to lay it down for a decade to have our children.

I just gonna let that sit there for a moment.

I know you don’t see it this way, but it’s a sacrifice a lot of people can’t or won’t make. You did without hesitation, for me, for us, for them. Thanks for that.

The best part, though, is not what a great show it was or how talented you are or how our friends finally see you the way I do. The best part is what you got out of it. I was worried our home life would suffer. If you had told me it would get better, I would have laughed at you. But that’s exactly what happened. The house was in better order, you had more energy, and our communication improved. You were doing something you are passionate about, something that affirmed you and fed your soul. I think that in the craziness of life we tend toward sacrificing those things we love because we believe we’re supposed to give it all up in order to raise our children. But this experience reminded me that we need those things we love and are good at because when we’re renewed by them, we’re happier, we’re more giving, we’re better people. We’re better to The Four. We’re better to each other. While it’s true that “Shrew” cut into the amount of time we saw each other every day, it didn’t bother me because the time we did spend together was better. I’ll take the few minutes of good conversation over the hours of staring at the television every time.

And so when you told me the other night about the next auditions, and that you want to learn how to fence and play the Cello, I wasn’t surprised at all and I didn’t think you’re weird or silly. I think you’re awesome, and awesome that you want to do these things. I want to help you accomplish them. You might be mortified that I just announced to the world your dream of playing the cello, but I can’t think of a better way to help you accomplish it. Hopefully now people will ask you how it’s going (friends! Ask her how it’s going!). Hopefully it will speed you toward your goal. And like I said, you inspire people. A case in point: I’m sitting in Meridee’s this morning, trying to get some writing done before my meetings. A couple sits down on the couch across from me, and after about thirty minutes they ask what some of the stickers on my cpu are about. I soon find out I’m talking to Jeromy and Jennifer Deibler, formerly of FFH. After we realize how we know each other Jennifer tells me she wants to talk to you about how she can get into acting because Allison raved about how great you, a mother of four, were in “Shrew.”

When I think about the narrative of our life I know you made it a lot more interesting by doing this. I think we’re both on the verge of some terribly exciting chapters. I can’t wait to see where we are in a year. In five. And I know it won’t be all excitement and awesomeness—there will be tension and stress and heartbreak and chaos, but that’s what makes the narrative worth following. And so I choose this with you.

I choose this.

(P.S. I just talked to Sasha Shuff, and she’s looking into Cello lessons for you. She’s gonna call me back in a minute.)


Seth said...

"...Shaun White simply operates at another level. And that’s how it was in 'Shrew': you were operating at a level the others simply weren’t capable of."

I second that notion. And while all of these familial blessings you listed are great, I strongly encourage Shannon to take advantage of the GREATEST benefit from these kinds of events: the opportunity to be as cocky and arrogant as humanly possible for as long as she possibly can. Seriously. Just trust me on this.

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