To My Parents

My parents dropped my car off today, complete with new radiator hose and spare keys. We sat in my living room, judged one another, and danced around the restaurant choice for the evening. I don’t care. Where do you want to eat? With Korean as the winning option, the Tsukada clan hopped in the car and sloshed through the light drizzle into town. Conversation picked up, the eyes stopped rolling and we settled into our normal routine of recent news and internal thoughts. After a quick ice cream stop, my father revved up the car and before I knew it, I was back on my porch waving goodbye into the darkness. It was a typical evening of kim chi and banana walnut ice cream except that today was my parents’ 24th wedding anniversary. 

“I can’t believe it’s been that long,” my mom commented while my father nodded from the driver’s seat. “You wonder where the time has gone.”

Twenty-four years of time that stemmed from an autumn day in Ticonderoga, NY when two people took a leap of faith. It was a small leap that, in some ways, rivaled the nerve-racking trepidation of Felix Baumgartner before his 23 mile free fall to break the speed of sound.

And so, my dear reader–we are gathered online today to celebrate the marriage of two people who mean so very much to one person in particular. Me.

“Thank you for spending your precious 24th wedding anniversary with your only daughter. Thank you for making her feel, every single day, that she is worthy of your love. Thank you for giving her the freedom to live on her own and the permission to come home whenever she needs. Thank you for deciding to move to New York City, to work in the World Trade Towers, and to meet one another. Thank you for finding the love and trust needed to start a family and keep that family strong, now and always.”

Oh stop crying. It’s always easier to be sentimental about your parents AFTER they’ve left your house.

*And thank you for finding the spelling, tense and grammar mistakes in every blog post. Every single one.

Stage in my life

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts”

-William Shakespeare

I get the metaphor. Entrance and exit. Life and death. But what about the time before the play is over–the entrances and exits– and anxiously hiding in the wings?

I like to think that our lives are a series of entrance and exits; some cues well rehearsed while others, hastily improvised. The set changes and lighting shifts but the main character remains the same in our one person show. William Shakespeare perfectly articulated the parallels between our everyday existence and the portrayal of human life. Except I took Shakespeare’s advice literally. By auditioning for a play.

So three weeks ago I found myself Googling “1 minute woman monologues” in my parked car outside of Northampton Center for the Arts. I had found an ad in the daily paper but it wasn’t until the day of the audition that I got up the nerve to call and schedule an appointment. Just in time to learn I should have a monologue prepared. OOPS. And despite my confusion and not-so-cool business casual attire, I got a small part in a beloved American classic.

Our Town was written by Thornton Wilder in 1938 and continues to be a staple across the country to this day. In fact, the play was produced 4,000 times in the last decade alone. Our Town takes place in Grover’s Corners, NH and explores life, marriage and death in three simple acts. The set is minimal, props are almost non-existant and the narrator or Stage Manager is constantly breaking the 4th wall to speak with the audience directly. My character, Sam Craig, comes in Act 3 as a town resident who has been gone for some time. Both he and the undertaker move about the graveyard visiting the deceased in the quiet, thoughtful way of two people slowly acknowledging the passage of time. Our production of Our Town will be loosely based in Northampton, MA as a tribute to the Center for the Arts. As a newcomer to the area and to the play, my character could not be a more perfect fit.

I am NOT telling you this because I’m the next Kate Winslet or Lucy Lui*. I’m telling you because whether you audition for the local theatre production or not, you are part of Shakespeare’s “stage”. You are your own character. On that Thursday evening in particular, I decided to be an outgoing, crazy theatre character instead of the easier role of introverted bystandard. Every day we wake up and make character choices that determine how other actors and actresses in our lives will respond. My mom used to tell me that, “there are no small parts, only small actors.” And the world needs you to be the truest, biggest and best you there is. It’s type casting in the best possible way.

*I chose Lucy because she can act, not because she’s asian. Racist.