Transcending controversy

| 12 Sep 2022 | 12:37

    I was standing in the middle of pandemonium last Friday night. Israel Campos was sick. My wife, Lee, was acting as hostess and waitress for the twenty people who descended upon the Cancun Inn after performing in Paul Ellis’ “Ten Minute Plays.” Suddenly, I realized I needed to do the little I could to restore order; this is, get Karaoke moving. Within the next two hours, ten new singers performed, all with grace and ability. One was ten years-old, others were in middle or high school and some were young adults making their way as performers in a society which, too often, devalues their talents and abilities.

    And, so it was approaching midnight and I just felt so thankful...we live in a nation which has encouraged these young people to develop and express their abilities and to share them. This is not about politics; it is about our people, many of whom have great abilities and simply need the will, courage and venues to share...

    The next evening, last Saturday, I had the pleasure to be one of about 30 people who attended the “Ten Minute Plays” in the Pavilion at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, right down Kings Highway in Sugar Loaf. And, as I appreciated the six ten-minute plays serially and skillfully performed with nearly no break, I was taking deep breaths, trying, again, to appreciate just how much talent was on display.

    Paul Ellis explained that of more than 470 submissions, judges had culled twelve plays, six of which we were about to watch.

    But, as I looked around the space, I felt dismayed. Where was the audience? And, then, as I realized this was one of the larger crowds of the four performances, I muttered to the lovely stranger sitting to my left, ”How can we get more people to enjoy this, to give live entertainment a chance?”

    My question is not merely rhetorical If we want more culture, we need to support its expression in our communities. This means leaving the comfort of the couch and intentionally exposing yourself to something new, both because you will undoubtedly learn something, have fun and share the experience with those you love and new people you meet in the process.

    This process of sharing and extending makes community, tears down barriers, conquers stereotypes and enhances our lives. And, guess what, as tired as we all may be after work, this kind of sharing invigorates and stimulates...

    I wanted to thank Paul, Gloria Bonelli and the entire cast who put on “Ten Minute Plays’ and to complement each actor/actress and director on their exceptional work.

    Best of all, you are our neighbors and friends and you can and will do it again, the next time I hope to larger crowds and more deserved acclaim.

    And, of course, for the rest of us and between now and then, you can come and sing Karaoke on Friday nights at the Cancun Inn. All are cordially invited.

    Michael Sussman