Sonnets Under The Stars
What do you do?
I am a performer at heart, a lover of JCFridays in Jersey City, and Creator and Director for Sonnets Under The Stars, a public night of sonnets hosted by St. Paul's Episcopal in McGuinley Square, Jersey City. Sonnets Under The Stars was an evening of prayer and intention encouraging the use of performing art as a gentle healer for each participant personally.
Who do you do it for?
For some people just public speaking can be a fear, a participatory evening like this can be a stepping stone or just having the option to participate helps everyone feel included, as we should all feel our voices matter in our lives. All in all we are too plugged in and may not even realize the amazing miracle that is another living person standing before us and speaking-or singing!
I also do it for anyone who loves community theater as much as I do. I always want to do my best to give homage to the art form to which so many before me and currently are dedicating their lives.
Why did you do it?
I always wanted to be doing free theatre somewhere that the art would be appreciated. It's important for the people to gather and make up our own entertainment, not always being expected to pay for an experience. That giving is at the heart of the arts and I believe every human being is an artist in some way. Performing was always a catharsis and healing experience for me on some level, and I also wanted that from each project I do. I chose poetry for this event because it is a pin pointed expression of a piece of the inner self, and the performing arts are often said to hold up a mirror for us to better examine ourselves.
I wish all towns did a cultural Friday event once a month! Theatre has gotten lost in our culture and it is probably needed more now than ever. Simply reading poetry aloud to each other forged a bond of sharing the present moment. Sonnets Under The Stars is a way for me to create and offer our community a good time out from our seemingly separate busy lives to share some time together.
How did you start?
Theatre came naturally to me through grade and highschool. It is a great way to focus my mind. It just seemed like I felt more alive when I would be working on a project, so I kept following that feeling. As I searched for ways to apply the performing arts toward healing ourselves and our communities, I've taken on the role of director more. My friend Tony and I wanted to share a love of poetry with our community. Our producer, Nica, is constantly supporting her artists and found us this opportunity in St. Paul's beautiful church, which happens to be in a community very supportive of the arts.
What makes it unique?
Programs like Sonnets Under The Stars are unique because they combine these multiple ways of learning while also opening us up to a shared journey. Not just art and not just exercise, you delve into the inner you and learn on another level we too often forget about in our current academic archetype.
I believe there are three ways one can learn, and you can learn primarily through one or through a combo of two or three. There are Visual learners who remember most info taken in through their eyes, like readers. There are Aural learners who learn best by hearing; these people most likely can learn well from let's say a radio program or perhaps they pick up music well. You can have a combo Visual and Aural learner and that person will probably thrive in a classroom setting. Then there is Kinesthetic learning, which is learning by doing, physically with your body such as singing, dance, musical theatre, tai chi, yoga, Alexander Technique, and other forms of movement.
What do you love about it?
I love pretend! It gets us away from all the definitions we place on ourselves and frees us up to be anyone with any qualities in that moment or for a couple hours. It's a break from our burdens and an agreement with others to have fun with a purpose for a few hours.
How do you / does it make learning awesome?
Often I find a performing event will forever be marked on the memories of those who were there. Even if the performance was bad there is that "hey, remember when we went to that aweful show?" It's a bond no matter what, but a great show will positively mark you for weeks, you can FEEL it.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The arts are the people's voice. Getting involved in a play or performance can affect you and change you in ways you wouldn't expect, and I believe it is all positive growth. Attend or create to share our humanity and tune into what's important for you in this life... and allow yourself to feel!