First and foremost, I apologize for the lateness of this update. The last month and a half has been busy, to say the least, but I finally have a moment to reflect, give my thanks and breathe (as much as is possible with a stuffy nose). :)
After many months of preparation, I launched our Kickstarter on March 1st and set my sights on the staged reading of the show, which I assumed would be the event to bring us closest to our goal of $3,000. You can imagine my face when, after only 5 days into the campaign, we made our mark. It was very much like this:
And the love kept spreading, and the journey continued, and the ensemble grew. During this journey I spent hours by myself (and occasionally with one or two cast members!) on various street corners, painting the enso symbol, asking for people to paint with me. Those hours were a rollercoaster: Much of the time my thoughts were of how totally pathetic and ridiculous and alone I was, and why-on-earth-am-I-here-freezing-my-butt-off, and please-make-eye-contact-with-me-hello!-I-exist-and-I-just-want-to-make-your-day-better-so-I-can-go-home-and-put-on-a-freaking-sweatshirt. But then there were moments of utter ecstasy and joy: when a family with three very energetic children asked to paint with me (I taped your paintings to the table so you could take them home after the show you saw at the Craterian, I hope you got them!), and the Wanderer who came and sat with me and told me about his dream to create poetic film and travel the world, and even the Texan who called me "sweetheart" and had no interest in what I was doing but just needed someone to listen to his story. Those interactions made it worth every second, freezing-butt or no.
Rehearsals started for our staged reading. I wanted to give more. So we took the "reading" and added fully performed, memorized scenes that we rehearsed outside of the scheduled rehearsal time. Logan Anderson composed beautiful, original music for us. Our lighting operator added additional cues to support the story. And I was blessed with a cast that wanted to explore, play and dive more deeply into the text. There is no way we could have created the performance that we did without that extraordinary group of people. They supported and encouraged and lifted me as much I as I tried to support, encourage and lift them.
Opening night, I was a nervous wreck, if I'm being completely honest. I had no idea where to stand--by the door, where I was awkwardly watching people donate to my project, or by the stage, which belonged to the cast, or backstage, where my cast needed to get ready without me? Finally I took a very deep breath, decided to do what I'd been doing the last month: make connections. I wandered in and out of the audience, introduced myself, and met the people attending my show. And once I did that, all the nervousness melted away. These were just people! Wonderful, extraordinary people who had taken time out of their busy lives to see this story. Excepting about five seats, we had full houses for both performances. On the second night of our performance, members from the Jane Austen Society of North America attended: they LOVED the show, and would I attend their meeting this Sunday to talk about the project? YES. (insert fist pump here) And the ensemble grew.
The Kickstarter Enso Ensemble is now international, includes people I have never met before in my life, and people from all kinds of backgrounds, interests, and livelihoods. Your generosity has allowed us to meet (and surpass!) all three of our goals so far:
1. We will be producing a full production of "Pride & Prejudice, an adaptation"
2. We will be able to pay everyone involved with the full production
3. We will be touring P&P (or scenes from it) to high schools across Oregon
THANK YOU for making all this possible. THANK YOU for your generosity, love and support. And THANK YOU for irrevocably changing my life.
All the best in the world,
Caitlin Lushington is the Co-Artistic Director of the Enso Theatre Ensemble, a teacher, director, and actress. Sometimes she works too hard, sometimes she forgets things, and she strives to put the car keys back in the same place every time. She drinks tea every morning from her TARDIS mug and "Mr. Tea" diffuser. She loves the morning and wishes she had a photographic memory, so she could remember the names of every person she meets.