Whenever I start a new chapter in my life the first question I ask myself is “why?” Why am I doing this thing versus that thing versus no thing? When we start in this world our decisions are laid out for us. But there comes a time when we have to start figuring those decisions out for ourselves.
Is this important to me?
Does this feel exciting?
That’s not to say that you can know if the choices you make are good or bad because well, you won’t know until you make them. But I think that if something feels important then it probably is. And I think through all the chaos that this last year has brought with creating this “thing” that is the Muddy Mary Project, the “why” got lost. Have we even told you why we’re doing this? Why this is important to us? Why this feels exciting to us? I hope that some of you have seen what we’ve been working on and wanted to be a part of it or wanted to check in every once in a while to see what we’re up to. I hope that some of you have an idea on why we created this thing. But in case you’ve stumbled upon our website by accident or decided to take a look so my family would stop bugging you to “see what Cleo and her friends are doing,” I thought I would take the time to tell you what this means to us and why we’re doing it in the first place. Naturally, I have decided to create a brief timeline of events leading to where we are now using gifs from “Enlightened,” (the amazing show that left our lives too soon) to give you all a cliffs notes version of what this process has been like for us.
Final Year At Guelph University…
Our last year at University was definitely the most creatively fulfilling. Our final thesis project centered on collective creation and gave us (aside from a few academic guidelines) full range to create something of our own and put the skills we acquired from school to the test. During this time we created our show “Finding Temperance” along with our talented friends Amanda Penwill, Katy Veloso and Michelle Jackson. This time was so special because we were still in that magical school bubble surrounded by our creative classmates and the only thing we really had to focus on was our play.
NOTE: This time, while awesome, was also extremely stressful. There was crying and fighting and worrying. It looked a lot like this…
Post Grad Life
Then graduation happened and it was pretty much exactly like this. Yes, graduating is exciting and was the end goal for four long years and basically all any of us could think about. But after the honeymoon phase was over, the three of us basically took turns freaking out about our lives and what the hell we were going to do. After focusing all of our energy into creating this show and working with our friends and doing what we love, moving back in with mom and dad was (appreciated) rough. Dancing out of our last exams suddenly felt like being kicked out into the cold and then getting mugged on the way to the bus.
And so the three of us got together to have a fun night filled with snacks, wine and hugs to forget about everything stressful. For all of you who are feeling some post grad pressure, I highly recommend some time with friends who are in the same boat. For the first time in a long time I felt like there was someone else who could fully understand everything that was overwhelming me. That night we talked about our play and what it meant to us and why it was important to us and realized we weren’t ready to let it go. We wanted to develop our ideas further and we wanted another chance to showcase the work we created with our friends at Guelph and wanted to see what it could become with the help of Sarah Dennison, Hannah Briggs and Jackie Fauteux. So that night, after 12hrs of labour we had a baby and named her Muddy Mary.
Everything comes with some good and some bad. We all knew that pursuing a career in the arts would be competitive. But when we graduated we realized that we didn’t want to compete, we wanted to create. Why was this part of the deal? We’re over it. And I get that it might seem hypocritical considering we sent out rejection letters for this year’s festival a few weeks ago BUT this is just ONE project in what will hopefully be a list of many that will continue to evolve and become more inclusive each year. Each festival will be different. The themes, applications, requirements and expectations will be new each time around and we hope that each series will open up different opportunities for different people.
So there you have it. I hope this gives you an idea on why we decided to do what we’re doing. I hope the ideas we’re presenting are important to you. I hope that this project and the life it has taken on feels exciting to you. Now is the time to ask yourself some questions. How do you want to get involved? What is something you want to see this project do? What’s next? Why?