Making Sense of the Senseless

I have been wrestling with words since the afternoon of April 15. The immediacy of the reactions, the horror, the “is everyone OK?”, the stories. Friday–being evacuated from my home (I live near the bombers), keeping the TV on all day even when there was no news, reconnecting with people via social media, following my Watertown friends as they reported back what was going on. Feeling their fear, and feeling my own. The dread as they lifted the stay inside warning without a capture, the disbelief and elation when they found the suspect.

But there was little relief. Instead, the mourning started. The mourning for Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, and Sean Collier. The concern for all of those who were hurt, and for the volunteers and first responders who were there. The palatable sadness whenever anyone asked “why” or “how”?

There is no return to normal yet, and may never be again. I find it interesting that music is the first line of healing. “Sweet Caroline” has jumped in sales. People gathered to sing the national anthem. Music has been an important part of services and of gatherings. And the day after the bombings, the MFA and ICA both opened their doors to the community. Art heals, or begins the process.

As a theater community, our response is complex. “The show must go on,” and it is. In theaters both large and small, the Boston theater community’s shows are back on schedule. Rehearsals are in process, and openings are on track. That is what we do–we keep on.

But, as storytellers, our moment in this process comes later. What stories do we tell to provide a catharsis for our community? What new work is written to reflect this time in our city? And how can we, as a theater community, provide some lenses on this week?

The Boston theater community has a few opportunities to be together in the coming weeks, including the IRNEs on Monday April 29 and the Nortons on May 13. There is also the StageSource Theater Conference on June 29.

But I think we may need to meet again before then. We need to get together and breathe, hug, share, grieve, eat, drink, talk, think, share more, and sow some seeds of creation. Because what we do, our work, may help make some sense of this senseless week. I know we will get through this, but let’s not try for normal yet. There is work to be done, and we are called upon to do it.

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
–Oscar Wilde

I will see you soon,


About jhennrikus

Julie Hennrikus is the Executive Director of StageSource
This entry was posted in Ideas, Up for Discussion. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Making Sense of the Senseless

  1. Agreed, Julie — let’s not rush to “normal.” It takes time to grasp the meaning of big events in our lives, and to learn from them. A good piece; I enjoyed reading it.

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