WHILE YOU WERE AWAY – A play by the Fall 2015 Documentary Theatre Class (RCHUM 334)
Scene #30: “And Now I” written by Karly Thomas
I am 2,000 miles away from my family, from any of my nuclear family. I traveled such a far distance to this particular university because I just really wanted to do…theatre, and to do something I’d never done before. I’m constantly like pushing myself to do things and to be outside my comfort zone. And now here I am, a year later, the same motivation that dragged me out all the way here also led me to this class. I kind of just did it on a whim, but I also kind of loved the idea of getting out of myself through theatre. I’ve gotta say it’s a really challenging subject because it’s not something I’m used to talking about.
It feels like I’m treading water because I don’t know what to say or what not to say. I know that’s the point of a class—to learn. And to learn you have to make mistakes but I just don’t want to say the wrong thing. I had this fear of the incorrect if you will, that is until my first theatre workshop at the Washtenaw Youth Center. Okay, so we get there at five…forty-five-ish because the workshop is at six and we have to be there early. We had forty, forty-five minutes to ourselves to do theatre workshops and so we just played theatre games! And let me tell you the time flew by. Yeah yeah yeah. And it was an absolute blast! We did a game where somebody wrote on a piece of paper “I used to”, and then somebody would fill out that section, and then somebody would fill out the section “now I”. Some of these girls wrote things like “I used to go to bed hungry”, or “I used to get mad all the time” and then the end of it was like “and now I’m a purple dragon!” You know? It was a moment that was really really tiny you almost didn’t notice it. Like another one I can remember is someone wrote on the paper “Now I want to go home”. And then another girl verbally was like yeah I want to go home.
That’s when, in a way, I got to thinking of my family 2,000 miles away. Regardless of how much I complain or how many problems I’ve got going on, I almost see like a resemblance in the girls with my situation because I am 2000 miles away. I can’t visit. And although their situations are incredibly different from mine, I can recognize just the want to go home. I totally have moments where I wish I could stop complaining because you hear people’s stories and I’m just like “shut up…Tessa”! But I’m excited. I’m excited because this class and these girls and this experience are already teaching me to replace that “complaining” I’m so worried about with–channeling those thoughts in a different way. Like how “I want to go home” can be something we all consider comfortable and true. I know I’ve only had one workshop, but I’m not as afraid of saying the wrong thing—because if “I used to go to bed hungry and now I’m a purple dragon” is as heartwarming as it is, nothing said in sincerity can be wrong. SOPHIE: I just want to go home. BRIAN: I just want to go home. GRACE: I just want to go home. NICOLE: I just want to go home.
TIM: I just want to go home.
MARY: I just want to go home.