Tuesday, November 03, 2015
the amish project | artistic director's notes
I chose the name "Pacific" for this theatre mostly because I was homesick.
I was driving south from Los Angeles to San Diego with my wife, escaping the round-the-clock demands of theatre school to see a show at Lamb's Players, which looked a lot like the sort of company I planned to start up back in Vancouver just as soon as my degree was in hand. We were kicking around names for this enterprise we'd be starting in a half a year or so, but nothing was right. The names we came up with that somehow suggested the faith mandate of the company sounded way too religious – more "church drama group" than "professional theatre company to be taken seriously." But the others we came up with just seemed generic, unrelated to the essence of the theatre I wanted to create.
How about something about the place? That seemed more promising. I knew Vancouver was the place where I felt called to plant this thing and try to make it grow. And since it was the sea that had drawn me to British Columbia in the first place, years before, Carole eventually suggested "Pacific."
And that was that.
Because this is a theatre that's always meant to be woven into the lives of people in this specific place. Because it always mattered to me that we're situated on "the ragged green edge of the world," with the Unknown stretching off beyond sight to the west. Because, at that moment, I was yearning to be back here, and eager to get started with the rest of my life.
But – and this is the part I've rarely mentioned to anybody – we called this company Pacific not only because of geography, but because of the dictionary; "Peaceful in character or intent." The peaceable Kingdom. "Peace be with you." The peace that passes understanding. All that.
And beyond that, because of the thesaurus; "peace-loving, peaceable, pacifist, nonviolent, antiwar." Those were my most political days – Sojourers, Clarence Jordan, Central America, nuclear proliferation – and I hoped that creating something with peace at the centre would somehow stand against the violence of the culture.
All of which is to say... Welcome to The Amish Project. If it had been written in 1984, it might have been our first show. Thanks, Evan and Susie, for bringing it to us.