WISDOM I'VE GLEANED FROM MY STUDENTS (and a few updates)

If we are social media friends (like only real friends truly are) then you know I've used my various platforms to speak out to the most recent injustices. I won't spend much time rehashing my thoughts on the subjects but I stand in solidarity with those who feel that change must happen now.

While I believe I've been fairly vocal, I, sadly, haven't participated as fully as others. In between the various projects I'm juggling, I didn't take the time to join in the multiple protests going around me in the city and across the nation and I have some guilt around that. Especially when I think about the students I'm currently working with at South High School. On top of all of their school, family, and extra-curricular commitments, some my students took it upon themselves to use the skills they've learned in theatre to raise their voice in protest. They joined with other students at South High and held peaceful lunchroom discussions as well as staged a walk-out. Knowing that they would not be allowed to return to school for the rest of the day (that includes participating in our rehearsal that evening) they took a collective stand.

In that moment my students showed more wisdom than I had. Sometimes, as a working artist, I get so bogged down with the tasks at hand (reading scripts, emailing future employers, preparing for rehearsals, etc.) that I forget that I have a responsibility to use my artistry. I can do more than post to social media. I can use the skills I've acquired to push for the change I want to see in the world. I thank my students for reminding me of that.

The students at South High are both amazing activists AND artists. We've been hard at work over the last few months working on Naomi Iizuka's ANON(YMOUS), a play we will present this Thursday and Friday (December 11th and 12th @7p). Naomi's play takes on the difficult subject of immigration and tells the story of a young boy on a search to find his mother. Using the frame of Homer's Odyssey, the play gives voice to the millions of immigrant families across our country. The play and it's subject matter are not easy tasks to undertake, but the all student cast, crew, and design team (yeah, you heard that right!) are game and are doing really great work. I hope you get to see them! I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that our students successfully convinced the principal to do a school-time matinee! This is the first time in a long time that South High students have had this chance. Once again, my students stood up and became the change they wanted to see!

Outside of working at South High, I'm gearing up for a workshop at the History Theatre of Josh Wilder's new play, INTERSTATED. This cast includes James A. Williams, Steve Yoakam, Pearce Bunting, and Allen Hamilton and will be dramaturg'd by the amazing Christina Ham! Don't miss this come January.

Auditions for my show at TRP, THE DRAWER BOY, will be held on December 15th and 16th. This show about the things we've kept secret from the ones we love, in order to protect them, opens, fittingly, on Feb. 13th. I'm very thankful and honored to be asked back to TRP.

Other quick hits:

-I'll AD on the Guthrie's upcoming production of CHOIR BOY, by Tarell Alvin McCraney and directed by Peter Rothstein

-I joined the staff at Nautilus Music Theater. I'll be there for next 9 months on a Fellowship

-I couldn't get enough of working with kids, so I've joined up with Steppingstone Theater to bring INTO THE WOORDS JR. to bring the musical to Murray Junior High in st. Paul

-I joined the Board of Directors for the MN Fringe Festival and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council!

-Looking forward to sharing some other big news in the near future (just waiting on the ink to dry!)

Thanks for taking a few minutes to check-in. I hope to see you all soon. If I don't touch base with you until then, happy holidays! Lauren and I will escape this frozen land and head down to Atlanta and Tallahassee for a few weeks.

Love you all so much. Thanks for the support! Positive vibrations

-Jude