Kari Twyman part III: the muse behind Taking Flight

Hello again Speakeysie readers–here’s the third and final installment of our feature on Kari Twyman. Kari was generous enough to share with us how her Senior project with the Gainesville Theater Alliance entitled Taking Flight developed — in Kari’s own words.

The class I took was called Solo/Devised Performance, and basically the class is a guide on how to create a one person show. The class teaches you what “devised” work is. First, by taking you through the Kittelson Workbook, a workbook to help you map and present your piece. Then there are a series of pieces where we are given challenges or circumstances, and we have to devise a piece out of what’s given.

My pieces and instances were titled:

Lucy’s Legacy — Lucy Boettcher was an 18 year old girl, and friend of mine that passed away from a car accident just 3 days before my high school graduation. Her beautiful smile and bright light in her time on earth was so contagious to each person she came into contact with. Over 2000 people came to her vigil the night after she passed. It started with about 50 and then grew to that 2000, all bringing a candle in honor of her. Every person raised their voice in song to He Loves Us by Jesus Culture.

Philippine Trip — I took a trip to the Philippines the summer after my high school graduation. We stayed for about 5 weeks. We stayed in the city for half of the time, and in the provinces for the other half. I met so many family members of mine, and I spent a lot of time with my two girl cousins who are close to my age. I remember they were taking me to the beach from my grandmas house, and they held both my arms in their hands. They were talking to me about their schools, and how kids their age act around there. Then they brought up the lightness of my skin. They said they would die to have it. How it’s so pretty to them and they wish they could rub my whiteness off of me and onto them. Jokingly, they began to see if it would work by rubbing up and down my arms. This was the first time I realized that my skin color gave me privilege in the world. This was when I also realized I will never be able to fully identify with either race, that being 50/50 = is a blessing and a curse.

Arrested for Underage Drinking/Orange is the New Black Experience  — I was arrested when I was 20 for underage drinking one night in Dahlonega. This is something I look back on and have such a good laugh with because the circumstances were incredibly dramatic. The first funny thing was… we didn’t even make it into the bar we were supposed to go to. I took one step out my car, and there I was being breathalyzed because my friend had thrown the beers we had just chugged, out and underneath my car. My blood-alcohol level was right at the limit, and there I go in handcuffs. Absolutely devastated and embarrassed, I get checked in and get a mug shot. They hold me by myself, but eventually get me in an orange jumpsuit and move me to a cell with other criminals. Three women were in there. One older lady who had no teeth, saggy skin, and salt and pepper hair. Then a middle-aged blonde lady who was rather stocky. The other lady, older and brown hair and absolutely silent. They asked me what I was in for. I said underage drinking, and they asked me if I was drunk— I said “not enough.” They laughed.

The two ladies went back and forth for hours talking about so many things—  officers penis sizes, drama they had in the jail, family they had to talk to, all while I sobbed. Eventually came the morning and they asked if I wanted breakfast, and I said no because I had to be leaving soon. They said “No, no, no sweetie, get it and give it to us please. That’s more food we can have.” I told the officer I changed my mind, and after he left, they broke up all the food on my plate.

One officer came in a while later and told me to get ready to go. Then these women started asking about me, and I told them about theatre and they told me their experiences with the theatre and how much respect they had for it, the musical they had seen their children in, etc. I was incredibly impacted by this experience because low and behold…that is what made me realize that I am no better than any of these women, even if they are incarcerated. They were real people with families, emotions and can be affected by the same things I practice each day. When I left, they said they’ll remember me and can’t wait for me to have my big break or be a movie star. It shook my world to know that these two women, under their dark circumstances, believed my dreams could come true.

Becoming A Liar — I became someone I never thought I could become. I was someone who lied through their teeth and abandoned the care of the repercussions of those lies. I hurt the people closest to me; the people that I loved. I lied to get what I wanted and to make all the mistakes I made validated. It got to a point where it was out of hand, I lied about a massive thing, and God came down and spoke to me directly through Luis Giglio, the pastor of Passion City Church. I learned that breaking free from those lies, unraveled who I really am.

Three People in Life — This person told me that there are 3 kinds of people in life. People who talk about people. People who talk about things. People who talk about ideas. I began to become aware of just how often I, as a woman, was only talking about people and things. It was embed in me, even though I do have big ideas. I noticed that my ideas throughout my life have often been shut down and unheard because I am a girl.

All Good Gifts — This show (Godspell at GTA, Fall 2016) gave me acceptance and value. At the beginning of the process, I was in this place where the levels of light and darkness were completely the same. I was fighting each day to gain more light, strength and peace. The irony of this show is that the most important song to me in the show, that I knew was the most beautiful on the entire soundtrack before even starting rehearsals, was  All Good Gifts. How ironic is it that the person who has most radically changed my life up until this point was the one who I had to watch sing these beautiful words each night. However, with each and every show, I gained more and more closure, I got closer to acceptance and stripped away all of that pain and just allowed myself to just be me on that stage. It is also incredibly ironic how it was the song that I used to send a glimmer of hope and show love and care to my best friend that lost the love of her life.

Kari mentioned in her talk-back following her performance that it was meant to be a full circle piece. The fact that she starts and ends her journey thinking of her friend, Lucy, illustrates how she came back to the beginning.

Thanks, Kari, for all your time, talent and passion. We look forward to seeing you in the future and hope to see Taking Flight onstage again.

–Jody Key — Managing Editor — Speakeysie


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