how being a mama is making me a better theatre artist (and vice versa)

installment three :: the value of repetition

anyone who has seen anything by both hands theatre company can probably tell you that we love working with repetition.  i've long loved the pattern that repeated sounds make.  i've been a fan of repetitive gesture for revealing and creating a character for years.  and i've been experimenting with repetition in images at least as far back as jeff storer's (excellent) college directing class.

and now: mama-dom has raised my level of respect for repetition to new heights.  right from the start, in fact.  in labor.  yes, i must have repeated the same vocal-warm-up-y, low-pitched "ma" sound one billion times in the transition from mama-of-inside-baby to mama-of-outside-baby.  (and my husband repeated it right along with me.)  that episode of repetition helped me get through one of the hardest things i've ever done.  and i've been relying on repetition as a mama ever since:  one million and one bounces, seven thousand shhhh sounds, reading the same hippopotamus book four times back to back, singing the one song that seems to mesmerize her twenty-seven times in one day (i counted).

i think repetition is valuable for theatre and for mama-ing for the same reason, really:  it both comforts us and reveals new things to us simultaneously.  we are safe while we push against our own edges.  our expectations are met, and our understanding is deepened.