How often do we give ourselves time to reflect on our past?

Such a simple concept. Live life to the fullest. Aspire to be great. Make an impact. But most importantly, don’t forget the steps it took to get to that point.

It’s not often that I allow myself to sit in my thoughts for too long…I need new headshots but, in order to do that I need a job. In order to get a job, I need to focus. But, in order to focus I need to… See? This is what sitting in my head for about 15 minutes is like, participating solo in a never ending race against time. But why? It’s not like the world is going to stop if I take a moment to breathe.

Recently, I had the opportunity to see Merrily We Roll Along on Broadway alongside my peers at R.Evolución Latina, and similarly to the show; it was a time jump. It’s been a month, and our time at Beyond Workshop Series has ended. Barba, RL’s recently production has officially wrapped, and our schedules have changed drastically since then. However, when reunited, we are reminded that we are more than peers. We are family.

The answer to the question above is not a hard one but, it definitely makes you stop to think. Merrily We Roll Along, doesn’t necessarily answer this but simply makes us aware through its unique storytelling. We follow the story of 3 friends whose relationship with each other has seemingly slipped through the cracks. Over the course of 2.5 hrs, we unravel the intricate details that get us to this point. In reverse order.

The curtain opens, and we learn a quick lesson from Jonathan Groff (Franklin) on how to set the tone of a play. He hosts a celebratory party for a new project he’s worked on and we can instantly recognize that this man is no good. So, when we are introduced to Mary (Lindsay Mendez), you can’t help but notice how under the influence she is. What got her to that point? Is Franklin to blame? And, why does Charley (Daniel Radcliffe) not make an appearance at the event? It’s not until the end of the show, where we can come to the conclusion that Franklin is a self absorbed narcissist. While watching Mary and Charley fight for Franklin’s friendship, we witness the destruction of Franklin’s morality. It makes you think. What would happen if Franklin gave himself the chance to self reflect? How different would life be for the 3 of them?

This story taught me that I don’t want to be anything like Franklin. So focused on having it all that he forgets to appreciate what he already has. I can’t lie though, me being a multi-hyphenate who wants to conquer the world with my creativity, I do understand how easy it is to fall into that trap of no communication when working to achieve specific goals. So, in that aspect, I guess you could say that I have a bit of empathy for Franklin. But, when the people around you start to hurt because of your negligence, is it worth it?

This year, I had the luxury of being a part of the Beyond Workshop Series, followed by a production of Barba: A Brazilian Body Percussion Musical. When I first found out about Rev Latina, I never would’ve guessed that I’d be a part of such a vibrant and welcoming community. The growth and development that comes from this program has been so impactful and will forever be dear to me. I take a moment to look back on my time with RL. To admire the opportunity given to me. I am so thankful for the relationships built with this program. We solidified a foundation of connections this year, stemming from 2 months of consistent hard work from people who had the drive and commitment to create a space of no judgment, exploration, and endless possibilities.

I owe a special thanks to my RL family for making me aware of the importance of creating spaces that elevate our people and our talents. For teaching me the importance of giving back to your community, and passing that generosity to the next generation of artists. An experience I never could have received back at home.

As I write these final words, I extend an invitation to reflect on the original question at hand: How often do we give ourselves time to reflect on our past? Don’t over think. Self reflection is the tool we use to elevate ourselves on an intellectual level. It’s a way to stay vigilant of the energies we release out into the world.

Take the time to acknowledge your greatness.

By: Devon Lemont

This RL Theater Trip was possible thanks to our partnership with The Harriet Tubman Effect Institute. 

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