“Who will follow the music?” The panel after “The Secret” play about H. D.

logo36th in a series of posts on H.D.logo

Gadfly’s not done with coverage of Touchstone Theatre’s “Festival UnBound” — not by a longshot. He will be featuring several of the panels that convened during the 10-days, panels where important conversations were occurring.

Listen to your high-achieving fellow townswomen talk about their lives.
What can we learn?

“Who will follow the music?”
WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: Inspirations and Obstacles
after a performance of “The Secret”
moderated by Jennie Gilrain

The Secret begins one day, in late nineteenth century Bethlehem, when sixteen year-old, Helen Wolle, mother of H.D., entered a Moravian Seminary classroom to rehearse a song she looked forward to performing. Much to her shock and, in fact, trauma, she was roughly told to be quiet, to end “this dreadful noise.” by her pastor grandfather, Papalie. And Helen, who loved to sing so much and so well, would never sing again in public.

The focus of the panel will be on women in leadership. We will connect the panel to the play via a question that Mamalie (Hilda’s maternal grandmother) asks Hilda in the beginning of the play, and H.D. asks the audience at the end of the play: “Who will follow the music?’ 

Moderator Jennie Gilrain, who also directed the play, here frames the panel:

And here introduces the panelists: Phyllis Alexander, Yalitza Corcino-Davis, Abriana Ferrari, Mary C. Foltz, Nancy Matos Gonzalez, Margaret Kavanagh, Emily Santana, Dr. Paige Van Wirt. See here for short biographies.

Here is the full panel discussion, broken into two parts. Gadfly will return shortly with edited video of each panelist, enabling a better focus on individual stories.

Festival UnBound
Closed but never forgotten

Forest Bathing with H.D.

(35th in a series of posts on H.D.)

Forest bathing was one of the events in our year-long series of events entitled

Finding H.D.:
A Community Exploration of the Life and Work of Hilda Doolittle

Bethlehem-born writer Hilda Doolittle — H. D. —  (1886-1961) is
the “Lehigh Valley’s most important literary figure.”

Sienna Mae Heath is a storywriter of landscapes, architecture, and gardens. A world traveler with a home base in Bethlehem, she knows how a strong sense of place sparks meaning in small moments. Check out her blog Garden Mindfully.

In the spirit of World Mental Health Day, blogger Sienna Mae Heath discusses seasonal depression. Going forest bathing helped her welcome the autumnal equinox with grace. How do you prepare for winter?

For many of us with seasonal depression, the first cool night signals a warning that it’s time to drop vitamin D infused oil on our morning toast, or else succumb to darkness. The sun sets a little sooner, the window for soaking up sunshine nearly closed. When I awoke on the fourth Sunday of September, I figured, all the more reason to let my blankets release me into the wild of Little Pond to go “Forest Bathing with H.D.”

Our guide was Anisa George. Her mother Bridget, who along with Bill George founded the arts retreat in 1996, motioned for me to park on the mix of gravel and grass across the way from their quaint refinished farmhouse. I nibbled on the edible garden of spearmint, cinnamon basil, and nasturtiums (which I think of as rogue peppery petunias).

“Welcome back,” the mother-daughter duo chimed in unison. Little Pond served as a spiritual and creatively charged oasis during my childhood, and here I was, having owned two houses, changed my career, and circling around from quite a few travels abroad – home.

This gathering brought seven women together. As we settled in a circle near the pond, Anisa shared the history of forest bathing – the English translation for the Japanese tradition of immersing oneself in nature. This tradition is only a few decades old. In the 1980s when workers were collapsing at their desks, the government took action. The result is now a global phenomenon, encouraging humanity to reconnect with the landscape.

Invitations and sharing circles

In forest bathing, there are invitations and sharing circles. Each free-flowing activity is an invitation to savor the sights, sounds, textures and scents around you. When given the sharing piece, similar to a talking stick, we could answer this question: What are you noticing?

“It’s okay to pass. It’s okay to share silence,” Anisa said. This added reassurance made me feel so free. Poetry, though not typically a part of forest therapy, sparks a calming freedom within. Anisa presented scrolls of poems by H.D., the Lehigh Valley poet also known as Hilda Doolittle, who was a great lover of the wild. The first piece of parchment pulled from the cup revealed:

Behold the dead are lost,

The grass has lain

Trampled

And stained

And sodden

Behold

Behold

Behold . . .

The grass rises

With flower-bud;

The grain

Lifts its bright spear head

To the sun again

Behold,

Behold

The dead

Are no more dead

The grain is gold

blade

stalk

and seed within;

the mysteries

are in the grass

and the rain.

“What stands out to me is ‘Behold, behold, behold’!” said fellow forest bather Gerry Nugent. “Even if it’s been trampled, behold, it’s still beautiful. We have four seasons in Pennsylvania. Never know what we’re going to get.”

After this first sharing circle came the first invitation. Anisa guided us up a hill to a mowed oval surrounded by trees. Laying like blades of grass, we became curious of what we’re welcoming on an inhale and what we’re giving on an exhale.

Each person inhaled something of their own and exhaled what they need to give to the world. For me, I welcomed the wind to join my breath. I welcomed confidence in the life I’ve built for myself in the past year. I gave gratitude to the family who helped make it possible.

Mindful of Motion

Prior to our next walk, Anisa asked that we be mindful of movement: “What’s in motion? If the only thing you notice is yourself, you might want to slow down.”

Children are constantly in motion. Inspired by H.D.’s “wild fulfillment” (and I by Brene Brown’s to be bold and play), we spread milkweed seeds to the wind. The pods slipped open, revealing what felt like a thousand dandelion seeds with the texture of a down pillow. I was surprised how many could fit in even the smallest spaces. Tapping into my inner child, I coaxed the next generation of monarch butterflies to pollinate this patch next summer.

Inevitably the group would disperse, like the seeds themselves, so Anisa taught us how to call each other without cell phones – we howled! The lesson learned is, first of all, it’s fun to howl like wolves in the wood, and if I can’t hear one wolf, perhaps I can hear another and then know it’s time to return to the sharing circle.

The Camera and Photographer invitation brought to mind technology once more, but soon we learned it only needed the human eye and hand. My partner was Kait Smart. Having just met, we embarked on this trust exercise. She closed her eyes, and I walked her to a textured stump. Then we switched roles and ended up blowing more milkweed.

“Look at this, this is what I see,” Gerry described the perspective gained by taking pictures in pairs. “How often do we get to do that in our daily lives? Maybe I will after this.”

Bridget George and Sally Cordova shared their adventure, too. When you keep your eyes closed, you can still see, Bridget noticed. “There’s always this flickering. Even when Monet’s eyesight left, he could somehow paint the landscape.”

Finding Home

After all, every molecule of the human body is nature. During our Hide and Seek, we went off individually into the deep woods to look for something that’s waiting to be found. Another poem by H.D. lingered on my journey:

shall I lie in the meadows sweet.

escaped,

escaped from the lot

of men,

like a faun in the desert,

like a wind

by the river bank?

again,

again

shall I rest

ecstatic in loneliness,

apart in the haunted forest

For our last final sharing circle, Anisa surprised us. From her photo lens bag came a bamboo mat, a teapot, and ceramic cups. She steeped goldenrod, which stems from the Latin “solidago” meaning solid, as it is used to heal wounds and make them whole. Flourishing in September, it is a pioneer plant that thrives wherever it is sown. Its presence nourishes the soil.

Coming home to ourselves and to each other was the budding theme. Bridget was the last to join the circle but hearing her howls in the distance we knew she grew near. “I went so far into the woods not wanting this to end . . . and I found this perfectly broken beech tree.”

Joanna also found a tree, smooth with two limbs for arms. Sitting in the groove of this tree, she reflected. She felt comforted, calm, home. “I value the playful space between sharing invitations and all the wilderness of nature,” she said. “I needed structure today but also space for the unexpected.”

Sally and I brought back mixed nuts. Beautifully, she shared the phases of life in the form of green and brown chestnuts. My experience was similar. I threw acorns to hear them bounce off the bark of grown trees and returned with a few nutshells, some whole, some broken. This invitation was a mixed bag, I confided in the group. Cradling a white wildflower by the roots, I set an intention to transplant it. So, like fauns in the desert, Joanna led me through gnarled vines, prolific raspberry bushes, and modest granite crystals to her beloved tree. Her temporary home became mine, and then the flower’s.

For future events, visit https://www.meetup.com/Lehigh-Valley-Forest-Therapy-Meetup-Group/ 

Sienna

Don’t miss “The Secret”! Last performance tonight!

Bethlehem-born writer Hilda Doolittle — H. D. —  (1886-1961) is
the “Lehigh Valley’s most important literary figure.”

Last showing!

See it tonight!

(The marionettes are booked in Toronto tomorrow)

“The Secret” plays Tuesday, October 8 – 7:30-9:00p at Touchstone Theatre: http://festivalunbound.com/the-secret/

Touchstone 1

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photo by Ed Leskin

How to Festival UnBound

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

The Festival’s stunning “Secret”

Bethlehem-born writer Hilda Doolittle — H. D. —  (1886-1961) is
the “Lehigh Valley’s most important literary figure.”

See it tonight!

“The Secret” plays Monday, October 7 – 7:30-9:00p and Tuesday, October 8 – 7:30-9:00p at Touchstone Theatre: http://festivalunbound.com/the-secret/

Touchstone 1

Anecdote #7 from Gadfly reminiscences of life in the ‘hood when Bethlehem Steel was still the Big Daddy.

We live in a close neighborhood of houses with porches.

In nice weather, going to work for Gadfly meant going to the front porch. Gadfly’s work was to read and write. He sat. He didn’t use his hands. He didn’t get dirty. He didn’t carry a lunch bucket. To his steelman neighbors, he was “college boy” at age 30. He was “Eddie,” not Ed, still at age 50. He was not quite a man though he bred six athletic sons playing street ball right in front of them as they dodged to get to their cars. Not the kind of men to go to a play.

The attitude lingers in the neighborhood.

Sunday Gadfly went to a play — “The Secret.” “Where ya goin, Eddie?” “To a . . . play?” “Don’t you know the Eagles are on?”

Yes, Gadfly went to a play.

And a play based on a series of poems yet!

A combination designed to ratchet a steelman’s briefs three or four sizes tighter.

Women will readily understand H. D.  Men need to.

Hilda Doolittle was a born artist.

She had a gift, a gift little appreciated in the late 19th century Bethlehem of her youth.

Her autobiography virtually begins with the unwittingly brutal choking to death of her mother’s artistic talent by her grandfather.

Take three minutes and listen:

Momma’s voice was low and rich and vibrant. But she never sang again. And all the women felt they had failed.

It’s amazing that H. D. ever got to the equivalency of first base much less world renown in a culture that scorned feminine voices, even unconsciously, as “dreadful noise” and was able to give us her considerable gifts.

So the poem/play has meat, meaning, relevance.

But it is also visually and auditorily stunning. All you need do is go with the flow, as director Jennie Gilrain suggests — just let it wash over you.

The play has beautiful people, but, most of all, it has Doug Roysdon’s fabulous marionettes.

Don’t miss “The Secret”!
Playing tonight and tomorrow night

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fabulous photos by fabulous Ed Leskin

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

A special “Secret” on Sunday follows opening on Saturday

(32nd in a series of posts on H.D.)

Bethlehem-born writer Hilda Doolittle — H. D. —  (1886-1961) is
the “Lehigh Valley’s most important literary figure.”

Gadfly calls your attention especially to the Sunday showing of the play — see bottom of page for all showings — because of the panel that will follow.  A panel that includes our Councilwoman Van Wirt, my Lehigh colleague Mary Foltz, and a Gadfly former student, the wonderful Emily Santana.

“The Secret: A New Play About Hilda Doolittle”
part of Festival UnBound

The premiere of a new play by Mock Turtle Marionette Theater on the Lehigh Valley’s most influential artist, the celebrated feminist writer and LGBTQ icon Hilda Doolittle, featuring narrative, song, and puppetry.

Post-Show Panel Discussion, Sun., Oct. 6, 2019, Play 1:00-2:30, Panel Discussion 2:30-3:30

“Who will follow the music?” WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: Inspirations and Obstacles

Festival UnBound at Touchstone Theatre, 321 East 4th Street, Bethlehem, PA, 18015

Panelists’ Biographies:

Phyllis Alexander has been a champion for social justice for several decades, and civil rights professional for over twenty years working for both corporate America and city government. Phyllis is an experienced coalition builder and trainer and credits her skills to her 28-year affiliation as senior trainer and board president with the National Coalition Building Institute, an international social justice/ social change organization. Currently, Phyllis is a consultant with the Promise Neighborhood of the Lehigh Valley, and is the Project Director for the Leadership Without Limits Leadership Institute. Phyllis retired as the City of Allentown’s Neighborhood Coordinator. Prior to this role, Phyllis worked as the city’s Director of the Bureau of Human Relations & Equal Opportunity.

Yalitza Corcino-Davis is a Learning Specialist and Assistant Professor at Lehigh Carbon Community College.  As a young child, she moved with her family from Puerto Rico to New Jersey. As one of the first women in her family to go to college, she understands the barriers some people experience to achieve their goals.  Yalitza is now in her second year of a doctoral program in education at Lehigh University. Her passion is helping students, traditional and returning adults, achieve their academic goals so they can achieve their life goals.  Yalitza is especially committed to the empowerment of underserved and marginalized populations.

Abriana Ferrari is 15 years old and in the 10th grade. She’s been homeschooled for 10 years and hopes to become an environmental lawyer when she is older. She loves the sciences (especially physics!) and aims to assist in the battle to conserve our environment. As for performance experience, she has been among the cast of many theatrical productions (including three Wizard of Oz’s, two Lion King’s, and two Beauty and the Beast’s in the span of three years). One of her favorite experiences was singing in Canterbury Cathedral in England. Outside of performing, she loves to write, compose, and play Dungeons and Dragons in the basement with her nerdy theatre friends.  Abriana is a cast member and composer for “The Secret.”

Mary C. Foltz is an Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University; she also offers classes in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as American Studies. For the past years, she has served as the Director of the South Side Initiative, a program at Lehigh that brings community members and Lehigh faculty and students to engage in research that benefits our communities and inspires increased civic engagement. With South Side Initiative, Mary has developed an  LGBT oral history project, LGBT community reading group, and an online newspaper to highlight issues of import for residents of South Bethlehem as well as participating in a variety of public arts and humanities projects.

Nancy Matos Gonzalez, Magisterial District Judge, was elected to office in 1991, when at the age of 25 she became the first Hispanic Magisterial District Judge in the State of Pennsylvania.  She has since continued to preside in South Bethlehem, attaining commendable audit compliance standard reports at both the State and County level. She has also served as President of her County Judge’s Association. Judge Gonzalez and her husband support varying youth athletic organizations in South Bethlehem. She also partners with multiple schools in and around her district to encourage the educational and personal advancement of youth.

Margaret Kavanagh, head custodian at Freemansburg Elementary is married and lives in Bethlehem with her three dogs. In her 20’s, she worked enough to travel to every state (all but Alaska). In her 30s, she was a massage therapist and house painter.  In her 60’s, she and her wife will retire to South Carolina and travel in their RV, transporting rescue dogs to their adopted homes. Kavanagh has been working for the Bethlehem Area School District for 11 yrs. When not working, she volunteers with local animal rescues, plays djembe and recently joined the volunteer committee for Celtic Classic! Kavanagh founded an advocacy group for pitbulls, Mispits. She is passionate about truth, kindness and recycling!

Emily Santana is your friendly neighborhood waitress having worked at Jenny’s Kuali, in South Side Bethlehem, for over 6 years. She always knew she wanted to work for and with under-served families and worked in that capacity as a community resource coordinator for the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley for three years. She has now embarked on a new journey as an ER Tech in St. Luke’s Sacred Heart campus located in the heart of Allentown. She believes she is one step closer to melding her dream of working in the medical field, being a social justice advocate, and teacher, in her community.

Dr. Paige Van Wirt is a physician who co-founded a mobile medical practice that cares for Lehigh Valley seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Care; her practice cares for over 2500 elders and now employs 23 people. She is a former urban planner with the City of New York, and is currently on Bethlehem City Council. She lives in Bethlehem with her husband Tim and 15 year old twins. She believes passionately in the power of local government and in an activist city council which truly represents the people.

——

DATES & TIMES:

Saturday, October 5 – 5:00-6:30p | Talkback 6:30-7:00p

Sunday, October 6 – 1:00-2:30p (Audio Description) | Panel 2:30-3:30p

Monday, October 7 – 7:30-9:00p

Tuesday, October 8 – 7:30-9:00p

VENUE: Touchstone Theatre | 321 E. Fourth Street, Bethlehem, PA

PRICE: $25 adult & $15 student/senior; limited amount of Pay What You Will tickets for purchase; please call 610-867-1689 to order.


How to Festival UnBound

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

Get your tickets for “The Secret”!

(31st in a series of posts on H.D.)

Finding H.D.:
A Community Exploration of the Life and Work of Hilda Doolittle

Bethlehem-born writer Hilda Doolittle — H. D. —  (1886-1961) is
the “Lehigh Valley’s most important literary figure.”

Come on, now, it’s time to get your tickets for the original play on H.D.’s life,  The Secret, by Bethlehem’s own fabulous Mock Turtle Marionette Theater.

Marionettes 1

DATES & TIMES:

Saturday, October 5 – 5:00-6:30p | Talkback 6:30-7:00p

Sunday, October 6 – 1:00-2:30p  | Panel 2:30-3:30p

Monday, October 7 – 7:30-9:00p

Tuesday, October 8 – 7:30-9:00p

VENUE: Touchstone Theatre | 321 E. Fourth Street, Bethlehem, PA

PRICE: $25 adult & $15 student/senior; limited amount of Pay What You Will tickets for purchase; please call 610-867-1689 to order.

http://festivalunbound.com/the-secret/

Lehigh University photo

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

H. D. play (and panel) challenges us to follow our music!

(30th in a series of posts on H.D.)

Finding H.D.:
A Community Exploration of the Life and Work of Hilda Doolittle

Bethlehem-born writer Hilda Doolittle — H. D. —  (1886-1961) is
the “Lehigh Valley’s most important literary figure.”

Listen up! Festival UnBound starts this week. In which is the original play on H.D.’s life,  The Secret, by the fabulous Mock Turtle Marionette Theater.

H. D. marionette

Here’s what Jennie Gilrain says about the play’s relevance:

“I am in the midst of designing the panel that will take place after the second performance on Oct. 6th. The focus will be on women in leadership. We will connect the panel to the play via a question that Mamalie (Hilda’s maternal grandmother) asks Hilda in the beginning of the play, and H.D. asks the audience at the end of the play: “Who will follow the music?’  The women on our panel will talk about their work and dreams and tell a story about a moment in which they were encouraged/ inspired or discouraged/ oppressed/ prevented from following their music. We hope to explore ways in which we as a community can encourage women to follow their dreams.”

DATES & TIMES:

Saturday, October 5 – 5:00-6:30p | Talkback 6:30-7:00p

Sunday, October 6 – 1:00-2:30p  | Panel 2:30-3:30p

Monday, October 7 – 7:30-9:00p

Tuesday, October 8 – 7:30-9:00p

VENUE: Touchstone Theatre | 321 E. Fourth Street, Bethlehem, PA

PRICE: $25 adult & $15 student/senior; limited amount of Pay What You Will tickets for purchase; please call 610-867-1689 to order.

http://festivalunbound.com/the-secret/

Gadfly has always tried to march to a different drummer — how about you?

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13