Coming Home, by Laura Keena
I am so glad to be home!
I am also glad to say that working here at Savannah Children’s Theatre is one of the reasons why. I loved growing up here in this enchanting place and, like so many of us, my life was forever changed after auditioning for a Kelie Miley production (Peter Pan, to be specific). After that summer in **cough cough** it was all over! The theatre bug had seriously bitten me, and I was forever to be a lost boy. A theatre kid to the bitter end!
In high school I knew that I wanted to leave Savannah (isn’t that what everyone wants in high school?), and I did. I went to college in Washington DC, home to a surprisingly vibrant and thriving theatre community. I studied in London and New York. I worked in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, anywhere that would allow me to do what I loved! For a long time Savannah was behind me. Not forgotten, but not in focus.
I think of our recent graduates, some of whom are now in their first year away from home, and I remember that bittersweet time in my own life. Simultaneously loving being away from home, meeting new people and learning so many new things, but also being surprised by how deeply I missed my home. I’d go about my days, happy to be out on my own, until a sudden craving for my dad’s homemade spaghetti sauce (affectionately known in my house as “the nectar of the gods”) would hit me in the gut. I was a strong, independent, career-oriented woman…until I came down with the sniffles. Nothing says “you’re an adult now” quite like buying your own Kleenex and cold medicine. Eventually, you find your way and you build your home wherever you are, and a while after I left, Savannah stopped feeling like my absolute home. Until this year.
Since I moved back in January, I have had the honor and pleasure of working alongside my best friend, my first director, and countless former cast mates. Like everyone else who works at Savannah Children’s Theatre, I think it best to say that I wear many hats. Since starting to work here I have been challenged and inspired daily, and it’s only been nine months! One day Assistant Music Directing 42nd Street, the next Stage Managing Charlotte’s Web, another day rehearsing Jane in our upcoming production of Tarzan, and starting today, Directing And Then There Were None for our burgeoning Teen Theatre class. I am so glad to be home, doing what I love with the people I love, and being a part of this wonderful arts community!
So for those of you recently gone, or for those of you preparing to go, know in advance that it’s going to be hard. And know in advance that it does get easier. And know that, sometimes, you can go home again.