Also available to watch via the YouTube link above are two panel discussions with me, Kate, Lindsay, and some wonderful folks at the University, chatting about life purpose, big life questions during the pandemic, and building a life that feels meaningful outside of the workplace.
Big Work is a documentary play created from interviews with more than 40 folks across the US that examines what it means to both make a living and create a life. This play was one I co-created early on in my documentary theatre journey (how was this six years ago already?) and though my artistic wheels continue to turn and experiment in different ways, I'll be forever grateful for the chance to make this play, as it completely transformed the way I think about my own day jobs and my work in the world:
Job=how I make money
Work in the world=my deeper purpose and reason for getting up in the morning.
Goodness knows I have been musing about my relationships with day jobs and creativity for a long time (my essay about day jobs and artistry was published in Howround back in 2015). The equations above have changed the way I feel about how I walk in the world and have immeasurably affected my self worth when it comes to work. Sometimes "job" and "work" crossover, sometimes they don't, and because I got to make this play, I know the difference, and I'm at peace with that process.
Also, not for nothing, I was the kid that dreamed of acting and writing when she was grown up (as you will learn more about if you watch the play, as I'm a character in it - I know, theatre can get weird sometimes!), so grown up Melissa is feeling all kinds of great big gratitude to get to make theatre all these years later.
Theatre can entertain, education, advocate, expose, elevate, and heal. I'll go to my grave ever grateful to be able to have built a life in this space, even considering all the challenges, droughts, doubts, and (inner) critics. Dreams matter. Stories matter. Always. Keep. GOING.
As always, bowled over by your support many of you have sent my way this week! I am grateful to every single generous person who shared their story with us for the play, and for all of you who continue to lend your enthusiasm to whatever it is that I happen to be making in the moment.