Excepts from Marcela Lorca's remarks at the Ten Thousand Things 25th Anniversary Celebration
For many years I walked from the Guthrie, where I used to work, to Open Book to see the Ten Thousand Things actors I have come to love and admire perform adventurous and unleashed creative work. To see them be challenged in roles that were new and unique to them. I’ve always admired TTT’s work and am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve as the new artistic Leader of this company.
Ten Thousand Things theater is iconic in our community and in the country, well known for its reach and artistic excellence. It is an honor to build on the great foundations that Michelle Hensley and this company have established now for over 25 years…
When I think of my body of work I am most proud of having directed many plays with diverse casts, many of which brought to light the struggles and triumphs of coming together across cultures. As an artist and an immigrant, I have always been curious to learn about other cultures, other people's music, stories and ways of communicating and working.
I have practiced EDI — equity diversity and inclusion —throughout my life, long before it was given this – not solely because it is the just thing to do, but because great art can arise from it, and art that inspires us to learn, to be better, and to do better.
There are many important movements today: arts for social change, EDI, Black Lives Matter, the #Me Too movement that has empowered many to say "BASTA! Enough!" to a culture of harrasment and sexism.
TTT has been in the cutting edge of these kinds of important initiatives. It has brought theater to those that are easily forgotten, seeking to bring inspiration and invite all audiences to wrestle with the complex tensions of human stories, and to reveal what human beings are capable of: the goodness that they can touch on - when they dare to imagine what’s possible, when they are awake and are open to transformation.
I use this word awake because, for me, it means to be fully alive, fully creative, engaged, present in the here and now. And this state of awakeness, which is clear, and truthful, can lead us to make the most out of life for us and for others.
I come from the country of Chile, where there was a long dictatorship, where I saw the heavy hand of military repression drive its citizens towards depression, silence, paralyzing fear and much worse. It was the arts that saved me, and it was my dance master’s mantra that we "Wake Up!" He wanted me at age 18 to be fully awake, aware, and deeply passionate about the work at a time when we were not allowed to speak, not allowed to dream.
We developed revolutionary spirits; we wanted to bust open the stagnation and darkness that we found all around us. Even here when we’re not living in a dictatorship—at least not yet—even here, I practice the art form I love in the same way. And I’ve learned that this beautiful country needs this practice as much or more than my South American home.
This country is a most fortunate one for many but not yet for all. The world is demanding much from each of us, and in a way it is forcing us to make important decisions. With so many choices, where do we put our attention?
Do we put it on things that give us an illusion of comfort, or do we choose to take meaningful actions that benefit humanity, tculture, and contribute to a healthy future for everyone?
I’m feeling hopeful, although I’m aware that the world is very much in flux. In a musical I directed called Caroline or Change, with some lovely actors who are here today—Greta Oglesby, Aimee Bryant, Michelle Barber, Regina Willians and TMychael Rambo. The character of the Moon powerfully sang the words: "Change come fast and change come slow but change come." In other words, change is the movement of life. We must embrace it with courage and make the most out of it.
Ten Thousand Things is a family, and I feel privileged to be the artistic leader of this special and mighty company, that with its human ingenuity trailblazes with an adventurous spirit and leaves incredible impressions and memories in the souls of all kinds of people.
This is a theater company that believes that everyone is worthy, that everyone deserves the right to experience high quality art, that through the experience of great stories we all can reflect together, imagine together and come together to celebrate what’s human.
Theater does not exist without artists; theater is not complete without an audience. And our theater can continue to move forward and to speak to the times, thanks to the donors who support us.
Let’s come together in these times where we artists and audiences need to continue to practice being fully awake, finding the light and hope in times of flux and helping many to do the same.