I’m pretty stoked about next week!
Independent Author of “The People In Between: A Cyprus Odyssey”
I’m pretty stoked about next week!
I had been a nomad for most of my adult life. Having dragged my wife and family around from town to town, we finally found a place to call home in Portland, Oregon. I wrote the following article and review of a stage performance that resonated with me, as I know it will with others, no matter where or how they live:
Presented by “The Honest Liars”
When put together in a stage performance, words and the ideas they represent can be a powerful vehicle for drawing attention to social issues that touch the lives of nearly everyone. Travel Home, A Story is just that kind of performance, delivered by the local Portland community theater troupe, “The Honest Liars.” One could get lost in this play and I almost did.
Directed by Rafael Miguel, the Travel Home, A Story performance was the result of a series of workshops that focused on the central theme of answering the question: What is Home?
Four actors played the parts of, a gypsy named Myrna, a runaway; a wannabe beat poet named Jack, and a delusional woman playing out life as a pirate philosopher. In juxtaposition to these characters living on the streets, the same four actors played the rolls of young adults struggling with different kinds of challenges. Together all of them were seeking their personal definition of what home is or should be. Each actor brought to the performance their own special qualities that made the characters feel authentic in every respect. I’m still in awe of the talent and flexibility each of these young actors demonstrated while shifting from one character roll to the next.
When I met with writer and actress Lily Warpinski at the Headwaters Theatre in North Portland, I asked what she hoped the audience would come away with after experiencing the show. She said, “I feel like I’ve done my job if the people who see our shows get sucked into the world of the play in a really visceral way and come out of the performance feeling not only that they’ve witnessed something interesting, but also feel physically and emotionally invested in whatever aspect of the piece appealed to them the most. Hopefully that the investment spurs them to get more grounded in their world and do something that impacts the community.”
The actors and small production team who comprise the touring theater company are all young passionate thinkers of the millennial generation. At twenty-five years old, Ms. Warpinski has been acting professionally for just under five years. Along with the other members of the cast, Mishelle Apalategui, Edwin Galvan, and Rob Lauta, equally youthful and equally talented, Warpinski and the production crew brought the central theme of this show to the forefront. It is with a keen sense of observation and desire to understand the community where they live and work that made this performance come alive with authenticity and grit.
The Honest Liar Collaboration also included local photographer John Koch. Ms. Warpinski said that John’s access to the local community of people living outside on the streets of Portland was instrumental in the development of the script and the character rolls.
Though I didn’t get the chance to meet Mr. Koch personally, I gained a sense of his contribution when I saw his photo exhibit on display in the Headwaters main lobby. One of Koch’s pieces, titled “David” grabbed my attention. The caption reads:
“David told me that some people – most frequently young adults – can be rude to people asking for donations on the street. He showed me a torn dollar bill that someone passed off to him as a joke, presenting it to him as if it were a wadded up, spendable bill. In terms of monetary value, it is worthless. Since he offered it to me and I accepted it, it has taken on a different kind of value to me.” – John Koch
Readers can learn more about The Honest Liars from their website:
Read more about Travel Home, A Story here:
Read more about photographer John Koch on the following sites where you can view more of his work:
I consider myself a lucky man, not only because my wonderful wife has filled my life with joy and happiness, and not just because of the three sons we raised together; three independent young men who we are ever so proud of. I know of other families who can boast of the same good fortune. I’m lucky because I have friends.
My old and dear friend Mike Colaco is a humble man of many talents. Of late he’s taught me a thing or two. One of those things has to do with friendship and what it means to have a safe friend.
Last weekend I had my 54th Birthday and a visit from my safe friend, Mike. I’m not sure if his intent was to give me a copy of this poem he wrote, as a gift in celebration of my birthday. In his casual way, he handed it to me just before leaving for the evening. Mike is confident and quiet and knows me well enough that I’d need to be alone when reading this poem for the first time. Thanks Mike for the gift – the meaningful gift.
By Mike Colaco
I am a block of marble of a vague form, indiscernible, heavy, in need of work. I have a sense of another form or shape. I am in the sculptor’s workshop. I am to be perfected. The excess is to be chipped away. The chisel is sharp, the hammer heavy. The blows bring pain and tears. I try to stay together but the pieces fall. I know them. They are me, yet they fall away. It hurts to let them go. I used to know my shape. I feel vulnerable, helpless, confused, naked. What is this shape I am becoming?
I feel light and fragile. I feel weak. I need to be strengthened. Do I need support with wood or steel? No. My strength was formed in creation. My grains were bonded in heat. My inner structure was sealed from the beginning. I’ve always had my strength. The sculptor knows this. He is careful with his strokes. He cuts in the proper direction. With a steady hand. With a precise measure and a keen eye. I can trust the sculptor. I can trust my strength.
One day I will be completed. Confirmed a finished work. A beautiful creation. He will be pleased with me. I will feel the shape. I will know the meaning of my form. I will understand my purpose. I will be an example of His work. I may be a wonder to some who will sit and stare. Others may show me no interest. But I will know what I am.
Then the sculptor will take me away and establish me in my place. He will place me on firm ground. Wind will blow hard on me. Rain will batter me. The hot sun will bake me. But I will stand firm. People will come and study me and walk away with new hope. I will attract artists who will draw and paint me. My shape will be known by those who have never seen me. And I will love my sculptor for what he has done.
I meant to ask Mike if he has more like this one – maybe even a collection. Between his work, his art, his music and talents as a budding spiritual counselor, I hope Mike will find the time to publish some of his writings.
Notes from my latest interview sharing what readers might want to know about my soon to be released novel, A Dangerous Element
Originally posted on Ray's Works:
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions as we get closer to your launch.
For readers who aren’t aware, retired USAF Colonel Gregory S. Lamb is officially releasing his latest book, “A Dangerous Element” in March. It’s a military thriller that brings together not only a great fiction story but a unique insight into some of the most complex challenges our country is facing today. I dare you to watch the news for about five minutes after reading this book and not take a tentative step backward.
That said, I’m excited to have the chance to interview him!
So, first things first. Have you always wanted to be a writer? I can imagine you out in the field, dreaming up stories to follow you as you move around the world, writing it all down in a leather-bound journal full of fantastic ideas.
Great question Ray. When…
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