SAÏAH: Redefining Theater

I was lucky enough to get a ticket to one of the last sold-out performances of Terminus, the most recent production by theatre company SAÏAH, based out of Atlanta’s Goat Farm. It’s hard to explain how Terminus is different than many of the other plays on any given night in Atlanta; calling it a play certainly is not appropriate. Let’ try this: An outdoor, choose-your-own-adventure, civil-war era, moving performance based on the plot of Watership Down. It was amazing.

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SAÏAH’s postcard for Terminus.

I don’t want to give away all of SAÏAH’s secrets, as I’ve heard this is not the first “theater experience” they’ve hosted, nor do I think it will be the last. But I do want to highlight the aspects of Terminus that really stood out to me,and have certainly made me want to keep on eye out for what this group does next.

I went to see Terminus on a double date with my coworker and friend, Renee, and our husbands. We heard about it from Weston Manders, a former intern of ours at Oglethorpe University, where Renee and I work. He was offered the part of Fiver, a leading role, and when he explained to us how Terminus was “not just a play”, we knew it was going to be good. After our first reservations were canceled because of rain (as several other performances were) we ended up going on the very last weekend the group was scheduled to perform. Continue reading

Urban Sprawl, Paused

I live in Cumming, Georgia, a rural suburb about 30 miles north of Atlanta. Cumming is growing very rapidly, and was listed on America’s Promise list of 100 Best Communities for Young People in 2012. It’s an interesting area, where you’ll find long -time rural residents mixed with newly transplanted yuppies. Cattle graze the peaceful rolling foothills of the north Georgia mountains, while the roads that pass their pastures are becoming increasingly crowded.

Half of the cars you pass on Cumming’s back country roads are pickup trucks, now sprinkled with the occasional BMW or Range Rover. The area still maintains a small town friendliness, it’s residents holding on to their strong southern accents. It’s the kind of place where the owner of the local convenience store, with it’s aging neon sign, will ask you which is your favorite flavor of coffee creamer, so he can keep it in stock. The kind of place where people greet their new neighbors with a basket of biscuits – even if they are only renting.

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Commuting Comforts

I have a long commute to work – 41.3 miles, to be exact. Several years ago my husband and I decided that we wanted to live in the country, away from the long lines of traffic lights, where it might take 20 minutes to drive 2 miles. So we moved away from the cookie-cutter neighborhoods of suburbia to the rural countryside just north of Cumming, Georgia. That was while I was still in school. Just before I graduated I was offered a job at my Alma Mater, Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. My first two thoughts upon the job offer were: 1. Yeah! I’ve got a job! and 2. Damn, that commute is gonna suck. And it does. It really, really sucks. Atlanta has some of the worst traffic in the nation, and I get to enjoy it 5 days a week. On a good day with no traffic (like a weekend) the drive takes 50 minutes. Most days it takes me and hour and 15 minutes, one way. My record for longest commute is 3 1/2 hours round trip on one particularly bad day. So, yeah, I spend a lot of time in the car.

Like most things in my life, I try to look on the bright side and I’ve found that there are some hidden benefits to a long commute:

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My Existential Magazine Crisis

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A sample of magazines in my house. It took me 2 minutes to pull these together. Some brand new issues, some from years ago that I’m saving.

I’m a magazine junkie. I love the feel of a fresh issue, and determine the caliber of each by the number of pages I dog-ear. Once I pick one up, it’s hard for me to set it down. I love they way they flow (good magazines, anyway) with short articles mixed with features, lists and maybe a photo essay. I prefer reading print magazines to online articles simply for the presentation. In the same way that music artists craft their albums with one song purposely transitioning to the next, magazines need to have a rhythm. And my heart loves the rhythm of magazines. Continue reading