“The Storyteller” played by lead performer and playwright, Shaunga Tagore. Photography by Maxwell Lander. Make-Up by Trixi Jones.
In March 2016 I visited NYC for the first time. Instead of visiting my family like they wanted me to, I said:
“Self – put yourself first this time. You’ve made lots of family trips over the last decade. Go have an adventure on your own instead.”
A few days into that trip I got the news that my Dad was diagnosed with terminal Cancer. I went to the Brooklyn Bridge and I spoke to the Universe:
“Tell me. How do I get through this?”
A voice in my head replied:
“Don’t be smaller than you are. Be as big as Broadway.”
Well, how the fuck does that help me?
(Pretty much my thought at the time…)
My Dad ended up passing away in May 2016. This was smack dab in the middle of the process of rehearsing for our first presentation of Letters to the Universe at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s annual Pride Festival (June 2016). I had no choice but to re-write the ending of the play to include my Dad’s death; to send him a goodbye letter.
In 2017 we have been delving back into the script for a second phase of development. We have been digging into the character and story arcs and coming up with exciting results. We are gearing up for a week-long performance run, September 14-17 at The Theatre Centre.
As time passes, little by little, one day at a time, I am learning what it means to live and love as big as Broadway.
A love so big it changes the Universe. This is the spirit of The Storyteller. This is what it takes to bring a play you wrote from your heart to life. It is to believe in the impossible.
Especially if you’re QTBIPOC; a survivor; funding is limited; you never had access to a lot of training; most of the time you don’t know What the Fucks You Are Doing; you’re a sensitive, traumatized, crazy emo femme who just doesn’t want to hurt other people’s feelings…and all the reasons we all know.
You have to believe you can Defy All That Gravity.
Be brave enough to talk to yourself and the Universe and say:
“I’m scared to trust you, but I will.”
Whatever your Mount Everest is, make a deal with the Universe to climb together. Be bigger than Broadway.