I’m in rehearsal for a show at Atlanta’s Horizon Theatre, and I feel like the luckiest girl on the planet. I’m working on a terrific play, with smart fellow actors and my favorite director, at a theatre with loyal subscribers and a funky, artsy vibe. After a long dry spell of unemployment, I’m an actor again. In fact, a few short weeks ago, I was on Broadway.
No, not that Broadway. This Broadway:
This Broadway is in Grand Marais, Minnesota. My family traveled there in August to take classes at the North House Folk School, where I learned about brick-oven baking and timber framing, and my teenage daughter learned to sail. All in one fun-filled, kayaking, hiking, biking, rock-skipping week.
Grand Marais has a long history as an arts-friendly community. It’s located on the North Shore of Lake Superior, and the natural beauty surrounding the town is breathtaking. No wonder so many artists travel there to paint, sculpt, build, take photographs, and write. For a town with few streets and fewer stoplights (I counted one), there’s plenty of art. Even on Broadway:
Sometimes, when I’m feeling artistically insecure, I deride myself for never making it to that Broadway, the big one, the real one. Or worse — for never even trying to work in New York. I tell myself I’m not really a professional, because I never endured the hardship of waiting tables in Manhattan, testing my skill and will against the hordes of other hopefuls pounding the pavement of the Great White Way.
Then I go somewhere like Grand Marais, and a simple street sign reorients me. Suddenly I’m holding my own life-map, re-examining my choices, and realizing that the road that brought me here was my true path.
I still dream of that big show, the one that starts in Atlanta and winds up in New York and proves to me — just to me, because nobody else is asking me to prove anything — that I’m a real actor. But I know that show will never happen, unless I pursue it with all the passion and commitment I’ve poured into the life I am already living, a life that leads me to the shores of Gitche Gumee, where a stroll down Broadway with my husband and my daughter leads to the abiding rocks of Artists’ Point, and anchors me at last on solid ground.