Monday, October 16, 2006


Wow. Who would have thought a bunch of volunteers rebuilding Coastal Mississippi would take on a production of Rent? Well, I guess at Hands On we should expect as much. The creative talent, resourcefulness, and determination that marks the volunteers we have around here applies to the fun stuff, too.

Now you might wonder why I'm not talking about the work we're doing down here. That's because it's moving along. We're doing great stuff at John Henry Beck Park - making planter boxes for the community garden plots - the Thornton's are almost in their house; and we're working on two other houses from start to finish. It's pretty awesome. Still, work doesn't necessarily leave an imprint everyday. It sustains our sense of purpose; it makes us think, "Wow, my friend it working at the Gap ... I'm sure glad I'm here trying to help someone get into their house." But the truly exceptional events, especially ones that showcase talent, creativity, and energy, sustain our need to be social and human.

So, off the philosophical meandering and back to the lesson at hand ... Rent. Wow! The idea of a production of Rent has been bandied about ever since Akudo brought forth the first No-Talent Talent Show back in March. In October, it finally came together.

We've worked pretty closely with the Biloxi Little Theater since Hands On USA volunteers gutted the place last year. So tonight they let us use their stage to put on the show. About two weeks ago, you could see the cast working from the script, singing, and just trying to adapt the musical to Hurricane Camp.

How can I describe the production? I'll start by saying, "I'm not a fan of musicals." With that as the premise for me being in the audience ... I loved the show!!!

Where else can you get a group of volunteers to work full days building, organizing the community, thinking about public art, or making garden plots, then dedicate their evenings to make a full-on production of a musical? Hands On. Look no further.

The cast did an awesome job bringing the musical to the Biloxi Little Theater. With a packed house of at least 140 Hands On folks - I think the camp was probably empty - plus locals - like the Thorntons (front row seats) and Sharon from Coastal Women for Change - they had a supportive audience who cheered, clapped, and catcalled through the entire performance.

Congratulations to Astrid, Dan, TJ, Garrett, Jeff, Akudo, Elizabeth (the Falcon), Dan (Rudy), Suzanne, Luc, Caitlin, Ali, Mike, Elly, Grace, and everyone else I've forgotten for doing everything from lights to staging to playing the lead. You all did an awesome job!!

:: Chris ::

No comments: