Thursday, May 29, 2014

Welcome to the Threepenny Dramaturge’s Blog

Hello and welcome! My name is Jeff Posson. I am the Resident Dramaturge for Threepenny Theatre Company (3PT), a small non-profit theatre company located in Memphis, Tennessee. 

The goal of this blog is two-fold: First it will serve as medium to let you, the faithful reader, keep up to date with the artistic workings of the company. As for the second, and most important goal of this blog, well… let me tell you a story.

Several years ago I drove from Memphis to Las Cruces, New Mexico to visit my grandmother. She had terminal cancer and it was pretty much guaranteed that this would be last time I would ever see her. Muffer (her specific grandparent designation) lived in a little flat that was part of a larger retirement community. It was a nice set-up that allowed her to have her own private space while still having medical treatment close at hand.

So there we are, my father and I, sitting with my grandmother, chatting about I can’t much remember what, when Muffer points to a framed poster on the wall.

“J-2 (my father is also named Jeff, so he’s J-1) I want you to take that when you go. That is yours. I want you to have it.”

It was a poster of a painting that was featured on a U.S. postage stamp, commissioned in honor of the opening of the Department of Education in 1980 (yes, that is when it opened).

 It looks a little something like this:

It was strange at the time. I didn’t get to see my grandmother all that often, and when we talked we never really talked about education. But she was absolutely insistent that I take this poster, right then, no debates. She would not let me leave without it. The following day we had dinner with her at my aunt and uncle’s house and I drove her back to her flat, just the two of us. Las Cruces is a beautiful place with a stunning skyline that looks like you’ve stepped into a painting. It is truly breathtaking.

We drove slowly through the evening traffic, not really talking about anything at all. I dropped her off, gave her a hug and drove away.

She passed away soon after. That trip in the car was the last time I ever spoke to her, about not much at all.

To this day, I never really knew why she insisted I have this one particular thing of hers, but I like to think it was her way of telling me to stay curious about the world, to keep searching and enjoying new things. It was her great lesson to me: the one thing she felt she needed to convey to me at the end. That poster is in my room now. I look at it every day.

I believe one of the major issues with modern education is that it has taken the wonder out of the education process. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not advocating the removal of testing and structure from the classroom, but I have always found that the best way to teach something is to enjoy it yourself. If you can find the joy in something, other people will be able to see it, too.

That is the primary goal of this blog. We here at 3PT find joy in the creation and consideration of art, and we want you to share in that joy. We want you to feel it as we feel it, and we want you to know it like we know it. We want to share our knowledge, and we hope you have as much fun with it as we do.

The purpose of this blog is not to change the world or sell a season ticket. The purpose of this blog is to share the joy. We want it to be something that you can bring up when you’re having a blah day and want a momentary distraction. We want it to be something that helps you start up a conversation with that random person at the bar who you really want to talk to but can’t think of anything to talk about. We want it to be one of those little things that you can look forward to from time to time. We want it to be informative, of course, but we also want it to be fun, because learning is a fun thing.

And as my grandmother wanted me to know… Learning never ends.