Dear Eleri,

When the lights are bright again, I’m going to take the many lessons I’ve learned throughout this pandemic and apply them to a healthier mindset to take with me to every audition, callback, performance, etc. And with that being said, I won’t go to every single audition that I can possibly go to. I won’t guilt myself for not going to every single audition possible either. I won’t think about what the people behind the table want; I will just be. I will have grieved the losses that this time has brought me, like a relationship that was going really well, but had to end because of unrelated outside forces. But I know we’re meant to be together so I will continue to look forward to our rekindling of our flame, even if looking back on our past hurts at times. I will move forward into a world where absolutes are no longer and emotional and mental fluidity is celebrated and taken care of. Where I don’t need to feel guilty for not wanting to take in any theater at all because I now know who I am without the white knuckled need of the labels that “theater” and “actor” gave me for so long. I am not my occupation, but rather my occupation is a part of me. Like a rectangle is a square, but a square is not a rectangle, my art is a part of me, but I am not my art. So it’s to take time away from it and it’s also okay to be completely and utterly enveloped in it too. Those extremes exist within me and I will go on to be a lot less judgemental of their coexistence. I will be a better person to myself and therefore a better artist.

 

Holding on to hope,

Eleri

Dear Ghost Light,

 

When the lights are bright again, caring won’t be over. Our love for one another and others will continue. We have learned that there aren’t just peaks and valleys in life but waves. A sea of emotions and experiences we paddle out to catch. Then one current takes us away. We get led astray then back to join our friends. “What did I miss?” Did I miss alot? Or did I just miss everyone sitting in the water, making sure we all made it. We will make it, Ghost Light.

 

When the lights are bright again, we will be at the theatre and look forward, backwards, behind us, under us and say, “Everyone is here.” And we will ride the waves. Swim stronger against currents that disrupt us. Because in the end we all will be together, ready to take a box for those who are watching from the shores. We will love, Ghost Light. Our hearts will be fuller. Our eyes will speak deeper. Our presence will sit fuller in spaces where we once occupied. A full house of people will mean a fuller heart. And an empty theatre will mean full possibilities for us all. We still have so many stories to tell, Ghost Light. So many voices to hear speak. And so many spaces to share with others. When the lights are bright again, the Ghost Light will remain bright, lighting the way through the darkness. So many possibilities.

 

Holding onto hope,

Ghost Light

Dear Stephanie,

 

When the lights are bright again you will feel the magical power of truly healing. Your struggles will finally feel like they have past. You will feel the joys of sharing your passion, and what you have trained tirelessly to achieve since you were 5 years old. A dream you manifested and worked for was taken away by this virus. However, this love has always been more than just the shows, the costumes, and the glory. It took away connection. The feeling of sharing a space with other artists. Dance classes filled with poised and perspiring bodies. Sharing the gift of dance and inspiring one another to push a little further, give a little more, and be vulnerable with our stories. You will feel this high again. That feeling of euphoria as you pant from exhausting your limbs from reaching farther, digging deeper, and kicking higher. A glorious release where the world disappears and you can just be. Exist. Free. Your journey has been filled with ups and downs, as are most epic sagas. You are a survivor in every sense of the word. In 2014, you moved to the greatest city in the world. In 2016, you earned your place in the union by pounding the pavement earning every last point. In 2018, you booked your dream job and helped create a Broadway hit from the very beginning. You worked with people you have idolized for years and finally felt like your moment had arrived. Every dream came true. In 2019, you were face with your biggest challenge and still managed to come out on top. Fighting back from a cancerous brain tumor to dawn the stage once again. The show was the light at the end of the tunnel. Then in 2020, that dream was once again taken away by disease and fear. Now in 2021 that light at the end of the tunnel has seemed to have been extinguished. The show closed. No hope of returning to Broadway once the pandemic was over. I know this time was incredibly dark. You are a survivor. You always find a way. We all do. We fight to live and dance another day. When the lights are bright again you will feel that rush of nerves in the wings before the downbeat of the overture. You will start new adventures and meet new people who will inspire you and help you on your journey. The excitement of sitting in an audience and clutching the playbill as the lights dim. You will be reunited with so many friends, artists and colleagues who have lifted you up in times of hardship and inspired you to keep pushing. You’ll be united with those teachers that continued to invest in you even through a computer screen, never giving up on your potential and helping you continue to train. When the lights are bright again you will fill complete. Whole. It will be that opening night curtain call. Only the gratitude and joy will last longer than one night. It will live on every time the music plays and your soul moves you to dance.

 

Always,

Stephanie

Dear Princess Almost,

 

When the lights are bright again, you will live out your dream. The time had come to find your light and do what you were once afraid to desire...and then it disappeared. Years of work had finally paid off and you were ready to let it lift your head higher. Yet the stage is not the only place to claim your title. Your inner world is what allowed a kingdom to flourish and you are even more set up to thrive than you were before. You have found strength, resilience, and patience while locked in your tower. You have found your power and remembered your worth. Your gown is waiting for you, Princess. Yet now you’ll wear it like a Queen. Have faith and trust that one day you will be covered in pixie dust. Your time will come once again, I promise.

 

Holding onto hope,

Princess Almost.

Dear Katie,

 

When the lights are bright again, you will know that this time of reflection helped you to understand just how much you love costume design. How much you love the theatre. It isn’t just work, it is a career, a way of life. Next time you read this, I hope that you are smelling the smell of the fabric stores you are shopping in, have sore feet from running around the city all day, laughing with your new friends who are also working on your show, fumbling around in the dark at your tech table to take notes and feeling just as grateful as you feel today knowing that unlike so many you are fortunate enough to pursue your dreams. You have come so far from your high school theatre competition days, to your intern and PA days, to where you are now. I hope you know how lucky you are that you were brave and strong enough to keep on this path, no matter how uncertain. I hope you always remember what it was like to walk down an empty Broadway with the lights dark, and never to complain again about the hoards of people lining the streets. I hope you always remember the tears and aching for the next time you would step into a theatre, for that was the exact moment you knew just how much it meant to you. I hope you always remember to continue to support those in your community who have watched after you and you after them during this emotional time because you were in it together. May you always know that your path as a designer was full of ups and downs, but you did it. You stayed on the path, you weathered the storm, you held your friends hands who also work in the industry, and you persevered. Future Katie, I am so proud. I hope you are working on the Broadway show of your dreams.

 

Holding onto hope and love,

Katie

Dear Martin,

 

When the lights are bright again, I hope you never lose your purpose. I hope you know that hard work does pay off. I hope you know that you are loved, enough, and that it is important to be you. I hope you remember the three things that one of your best friends told you to remember, which is “I’m proud, I’m thankful, and I deserve it.” I hope you know that it says something about you and your abilities and who you are that a couple of your idols know who you are and love you. I hope you know you aren’t a fool and that all you need is love, like John and Paul said. I hope you know that you’re a true song and dance man who brings people joy. I hope you know that a ton of people love you and care about you. I know that losing Aunt Mary Lou was the hardest thing you have had to deal with but know that you gained the best angel in your life.

 

Don’t doubt yourself.

You are here for a reason.

 

Love, Martin

Dear Brown Tigress,

 

When the lights are bright again, you will be glowing. Although you're not sure when, you can still dream and hope and pray. Who knew that plans for the church Women's Convention or the Sunday School Easter Program would never come to fruition? Building the set for the crucifixion scene, fitting the soldiers for their costumes, fussing over who gets to wear the enormous angel wings, and the liturgical dances. You were mad, hurt, disappointed, confused, worried, and scared. Remember when you realized you were slipping into a mental state that would take you to the point of no return? But you prayed and eventually climbed up out of that dark place—Yea. You have written over 30 plays, and a month before Covid-19, you realized you wanted so much more than just participating in festivals. Your love for Shen Yun and Sight and Sound Theater encouraged you to stay hopeful that your dreams are only a bright light away from dawning. Eventbrite became your best hang out spot with many webinars such as Building Blocks for Starting a Business. So, in a weird sense, Covid-19 helped you. Your websites are up, you have registered your business name, formed your LLC, and completed a great business plan through the help of your SCORE mentor. So, Brown Tigress, listen, I know somedays you still tell yourself that time is slipping away, and at your age, this is a far-off dream. But on your crying days, keep writing. When you feel like you're wasting your time, keep writing because when the lights are bright again, you will be standing at the door of your local theater with your name "creativeworshipINK " written in bold letters. Yes, you got this girl, so keep on doing you until the lights are bright again.

 

Stay blessed, stay strong, stay safe, stay hopeful,

Brown Tigress.

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