(picture by Bronwen Moen)
I was welcomed aboard the Amara zee only three short weeks ago, to perform and participate in this voyage, and it already feels like it has been a lifetime! The world outside of this small community in Jacksonville, Florida seems so far away, but what a wonderful reality to be living in. A gentle wake up call coaxes me into each new day and I am met with the smell of fresh coffee, soothing music and murmuring voices. After breakfast, and a brief team meeting, we all go our separate ways to rehearse, create, hustle and work under the Florida sun. Every day is so full of new adventures, people and challenges that always seem to be overcome somehow (through superhuman abilities each and every person involved in the project possesses).
Because we have such unreliable access to internet and our days our so full, let this post serve as an assurance to all our mothers, especially my own in Canada, that we are being so well taken care of, and are continually developing ways to better support one another. Although we may have committed to “embracing poverty” for the duration of our time with the Caravan, we are abundantly wealthy in the unconventional sense of the word. As our wise lighting designer Lutz said to me recently, “Kindness begets kindness”, and so far everyday is a testament to that philosophy. Our cooks, Morgan and Bernard, ensure that every dietary concern is addressed and embraced in the meals they prepare which are always fresh, inventive and delicious! On weekends company members have been generous enough with their spare time that there is always something to eat in the galley even without our unparalleled cooks at the helm. As a performer I feel so fortunate for the resources and talents available to me; Jeremy, a massage therapist helping out for several weeks, has been doing body work with as many people as he can squeeze in to ease the aches and injuries we may harbour from previous work or new exercise patterns. Anna, our aerialist choreographer, has shared several physical therapy routines with us to prevent injury and better body care, which have been nothing short of miraculous on my own grumpy hips. Our voice coach Renee would sooner walk the plank than see us overworked or strained, and is catering her composition to each of our individual voices. Danny, our choreographer creates a safe space for exploration and expression every morning when we work with him in the “Canada goose pasture” on shore. Meanwhile Paul and Nans oversee the functioning of our entire familial unit and serve as the glue binding us all to the vision they have for the show. They have welcomed us so warmly into their home and creative process and have been patient with us of us as we learn the ropes. Community members here in Jacksonville keep appearing out of the sunset as well to provide us with food, or an extra pair of hands, or a guitar for the ship, or a truck to move supplies, and a spirit of gratitude abounds. Every day simmers away under a stunning sunset and we gather on the dock or deck or in hammocks to have a drink, play instruments, practice our circus skills and chat and sing into the night.
Happy Mother’s Day from Jacksonville Florida! Sending you all honeysuckle scented breezes and wishes for a beautiful day.
Claire Rouleau. Performer.