Tag Archives: The Secret Theatre

WITHIN ARM’S REACH is now within arm’s reach…

Yeah, I know, I just couldn’t help it – I mean that title just called to me…and I will totally use it again and again and again…

In all seriousness though, I wanted to give a quick status update on WAR!


As often happens in showcase productions we had some changes in our cast during the first week of rehearsals. We now have a new Gracie, a Lila switcheroo, and a new Woman 1. The new cast is as follows:

CATHARINE……..Mary Anisi*
GRACIE……………….Lucinda Rogers*
LILA…………………..Kassianni Austin*
WEBER……………….Luke Wise
WOMAN 1……………Erin Evers*
WOMAN 2……………Alyssa Simon*
WOMAN 3……………Sheila Stasack*
MAN 1…………………Michael Bryan Hill*
MAN 2…………………John L. Payne*

We were bummed to lose two cast members but are so excited to have Lucinda and Erin joining us. So, we’ve now had a full cast and crew for about a week and a half and in the next two weeks we’ll be doing a whole “Meet the cast and crew” dealio on FB or on the blog (haven’t decided which yet) so you’ll get a chance to know everyone a little more before seeing them on opening night.


We’ve spent the last two weeks doing script revisions and table work. As far as script revisions go, I am now cautiously optimistic in declaring the script “pretty much locked”. Yeah, I’m not going to say it is hard-core-locked-down-and-there-won’t-be-a-single-other-change (I’ve learned that lesson before), but I’m confident in saying that there shouldn’t be any more major changes. As is the case when you’re workshopping a show, there’s always the chance in rehearsals, as the show gets on its feet, that adjustments will get made and changes will happen; and I’m fully expecting that to be the case here. However, the likelihood that we’ll cut an entire scene or add a new four page monologue, diminishes with every moment that passes. As far as table work is concerned, this is one of my favorite parts of the rehearsal process. For those of you not familiar with table work, this is a time in rehearsal, where the actors and director and stage manager (and if you’re lucky the writer) sit around a table and talk…yup, it’s glamourous stuff, folks…but seriously we sit around the table and discuss the show – who are these people? what are their weaknesses? what are their strengths? what do they want? what are they afraid of? how do they relate to each other? All of this is a crucial part of what the show will be and this, at least on a Jessica Ammirati directed show, is our first chance to discover the answers to those questions. Today, however, we get on our feet for the first time and we start to block the show. Another favorite part for me…who are we kidding, they’re ALL my favorite parts. :)


It’s official, tickets are on sale now!!! I repeat TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW!!!! You can purchast tickets here, or you can call 866-811-4111. Only 12 performances so be sure to purchase early to be guaranteed a seat.


So, postcards are being printed. Props are being purchased/built. Set pieces are being purchased/built. Costumes are being gathered. Projections are being filmed and created. Sound and lights are being designed…the show is beginning to come together…and…in order to pay for all of this, well, number 1 – did you see? TICKETS ARE ON SALE!!!!! and number 2 a Rockethub campaign is about to launch. More details shortly, but I will say, we’re looking at some fun rewards and a generally fun campaign. And, since this show is all about family connections, we hope YOU will join the Within Arm’s Reach family.

Ok, that’s it for now. More updates to follow…



Busy couple of weeks for Tahiti…

Ok, so when you think of Tahiti, you don’t think of trudging through the snow and the cold or of hunkering down around the heat of the computer screen to type your little heart out with numb fingers. No. No you don’t. You think of beaches and tropical breezes, drinks with umbrellas, and palm trees . . . alas, in wintery New York it was definitely more of the former than the latter, including a snowy day of callbacks where we trudged through the show to see a bunch of very talented actors (who also trudged through the snow – THANK YOU AGAIN, those of you who came and read for us on Monday) read. Anywho, as I said in the title of this post, it’s been a busy couple of weeks for Tahiti…

Posted on Twitter – Written word representations of my 3 current projects – The FARM STORY-book (a gift my sister gave me of a book from the late forties full of farm stories for children), the novel of WITHIN ARM’S REACH, and the shooting script for THE JANE GAMES.

Not only did I just get back from an amazing location-scouting-meet-the-community-Farm-Story-pre-production meeting in Virginia last week, not only am I about to jump back into filming for The Jane Games, but I also just held auditions and callbacks for Within Arm’s Reach and we have cast the show. That’s right folks, we are full steam ahead with WAR (and, yes, that is how I will be abbreviating it because it takes a lot less time to type than the full title and I will be typing it a LOT in the next couple of months. Besides, it’s a family drama so in a way it is about war . . .) So, three updates follow and then I’ll get back to the business of the 3 productions I have going on.

#1) Terri and I, in discussing the logistics of Farm Story, decided that it made sense to film in and around Staunton, Virginia. The script calls for rural and small town locations and Terri, who’s brother lives in VA had seen this wonderful area that offered the promise of everything we need. So, we decided to go down there and check it out. And as I mentioned above, last week I returned from that trip – a four day Virginia visit, during which Terri and I did location scouting, met with some locals and generally got a feel for the area. Check out the last two posts on the Farm Story blog to hear all about what our Virginia trip accomplished and what’s next for Farm Story. It’s really starting to heat up, it’s all very exciting and we can’t wait to have you join us on the web-series-production journey.

#2) This weekend, I jump back into The Jane Games. We have a day of filming on Saturday and then four days of filming next week, and then another few days during February and March . . . and then of course, we go into the editing room. I’m excited to jump back in though by late next week, I might need someone to just shout out the title of the project I’m working on before I step into whatever I’m doing each day, just so I can keep it all straight and not talk about the changing structure of family through the generations when I’m shooting a web series about Jane Austen or launch into a full description of Farm Story themes when we I’m up to my ears in table work on WAR. 

. . . which brings me to . . .

#3) Within Arm’s Reach – so, as I mentioned above, we held auditions and callbacks for WAR this past week and I’m THRILLED to announce that we have a cast and a crew. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be doing “Meet theWAR Team” posts but in the meantime, I’ll just get the names out there:

Within Arm’s Reach - Cast

CATHARINE…………Mary Anisi*
GRACIE……………….Kassianni Austin*
LILA…………………..Katie Stults
WEBER……………….Luke Wise
WOMAN 1……………Jennifer Laine Williams*
WOMAN 2……………Alyssa Simon*
WOMAN 3……………Sheila Stasack*
MAN 1…………………Michael Bryan Hill*
MAN 2…………………John L. Payne*

Within Arm’s Reach - Crew

Director/Adaptor/Producer…..……………….Jessica Ammirati
Adaptor/Producer/Production Designer…….Molly Ballerstein
Stage Manager…………………..………………Kristine Schlachter*
Lighting Designer………………….……………Alexandra Mannix
Sound Designer………………….………………Ien DeNio
Projections Designer……………………………Zeljka Blaksic
*denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association

Although Molly and I have been working tirelessly on revisions for the adaptation, we really jump in to production on Thursday of this coming week, when we hold our first read-through. As usual, once we really begin there will be much more to report but, in the meantime, I wanted to do the official release of our production image (see above) and our WAR aviatrix (see below), courtesy, as usual, of the every-amazing Christine Diaz:



Happy New Year!!! And what’s on tap here at GTTP…

Like it says above – Happy New Year, people of the interwebs!

I hope you all had an amazing holiday and are looking forward to jumping in to 2014. Yup, 2014! Still having touble believing it’s 2014 . . . Anywho, now that we at GTTP have taken a nice break (as evidenced by our lack of blog posts for the past couple of weeks), we are hitting the ground running and jumping, feet first, into the new year. And we have an announcement to start off our year with a bang:

We are over-the-moon excited to announce that we have booked a performance space for Within Arm’s Reach and that performance space is . . .

That’s right, after a year and a half of Manhattan performance spaces, GTTP will be returning to The Secret Theatre in Long Island City. We have missed the little (actually not so little) theater across the East River that we consider our 2nd home (the first home of the company of course being the living room of my Brooklyn apartment, which is, quite honestly, not nearly large enough to mount productions), and we are absolutely thrilled to be getting back there. For Within Arm’s Reach we will in The Big Secret, which is a performance space that will be familiar to anyone who saw Skin Flesh Bone. Production load-in will happen on March 17, 2014 and, assuming all goes according to plan, we will open on March 20th (yup, you read that right, a short 3 days of tech…).

Speaking of Within Arm’s Reach, script revisions are moving along (Molly and I are meeting tomorrow for round number 3) and we’re in the process of assembling our crew. . . Stay tuned for more announcements as we move from pre-production into auditions.

So, that’s what GTTP will be up to as we kick 2014 into high gear. We hope the start of your 2014 is equally exhilerating.


Things we’re thankful for at GTTP…

In honor of Thanksgiving, this year, Molly and I decided to compile a little list of the 10 things we at GTTP are most thankful for. So, here goes:

Jason Bolen (set designer) and Becky Sagen (lighting designer) during tech for DREAMERS OF THE DAY.

10) Source Material – we can’t say enough about the amazing books, short stories, songs, images, interviews, poetry, nursery rhymes, myths and other source material that is out there to make theater from. The goal of GTTP is to create innovative and exciting new work, and we couldn’t do what we do without the ideas that come out of the great source material that is already out there.

9) Audience – that’s right, folks. I’m talking about you wonderful people who come to see our work, who look at the flyer or the facebook post, or the newsletter and say, “Oh, it’s a Going to Tahiti Production? I’m there!” If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound? Well, we at GTTP believe, that if we do a show and NO ONE is there to see it, it’s not the show we mean it to be. So, whether it’s 1 or 100 of you, you as our audience make GTTP what we are. THANK YOU!

8) Donors – in all fairness this really goes hand in hand with number 9 above because most often there is a fair crossover between these two categories, but, we did want to specifically remark on how thankful we are to all of you who not just come out to see the show but who also donate to the productions, the company, and the dream that is GTTP. THANK YOU!

7) Crew – I mean, this is how I found Molly…really does more need to be said? Whether it is designers who create the look and feel of a show, stage managers who make the show run, or interns and running crew who do those jobs that fall through the cracks during a show and yet still must get done, GTTP could not function without the wonderful men and women who crew our shows.

Actress and ensemble member Kiwi Callahan at rehearsal for DREAMERS OF THE DAY.

6) Actors – Molly and I are both directors, but honestly, without actors, we may aswell be directing traffic. We, of course, couldn’t do it without those incredible actors who choose to grace our stages, and for a brief moment, our lives. Thanks, folks!

5) Ensemble Members – Part of why we do theater is to be a part of a community – a family – of artists who understand what we do and why we do it. For Molly and me, GTTP ensemble members are the core group of that family. We are so thankful to have them in our lives.

4) Performance Space – Whether it is a proper theatre, the great outdoors, or someone’s living room, every show needs a stage. And, with space at a premium and so many theaters closing, it is so amazing to have a space for each show to call home. Along those lines, we’d like to have a specific “Thank you shout out to Shetler Studios and The Secret Theatre”. These two spaces have been invaluable to genetic code of GTTP and we couldn’t function without them.

Cast and running crew from JANE AUSTEN’S PERSUASION.

3) Transitory Nature of Theater – As frustrating as it may sometimes be to look back at a performance and realize that there is no record of the event beyond some production stills (and the props and costumes that take up closet space in my – and my parents’s (sorry, mom and dad- I will seriously pick up those camel/stools from Dreamers of the Day any day now) homes), there is something truly wonderful about the fact that any given performance is just a moment in time and then, it’s gone. If you miss it you miss it, but if you were there, and you saw it, that moment has the potential to stay with you for the rest of your life.

2) The Excitement of “What’s Next” – As much as we love each project we work on, there’s always something new on the horizon (see number 3 above). For Molly and me, as the show gets handed off to the actors and the stage manager and they take it through the home stretch of performance, we, as directors, though sad to let go, are simultaneously excited about what next project we’ll be sinking our teeth into . . . And can’t wait to jump in.

But most of all, we are thankful that:

1) With all the entertainment options out there, with the movies and television and youtube and the interwebs and smartphones and everything, that, in the end, people still crave and love live theater. We’d be nowhere without that.

Thank you thank you thank you!

Thanksgiving pie…’nuff said!

. . . and now we’re off to have leftover pie! Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Five years is wood, right?

That’s right folks! As you may have seen in our newsletter, GTTP is FIVE YEARS OLD this month!!!!!

And, in celebration of this milestone, we’ll be having a whole bunch of events throughout the season, including shows (of course) – speaking of which, have you bought your tickets for The Sandman’s Coming? (I may have mentioned – they’re on sale now) – workshops (we’re planning two workshops – improv and audition skills – for October and several throughout the rest of the season – stay tuned for details), cabarets – we’re ironing out the details of a storytelling cabaret that will be happening during the run of The Sandman’s Coming (tickets on sale now) that we hope you will join us for – seminars (we’re currently putting together a seminar for early career directors – details to follow) and parties - at the very least we’re planning an anniversary celebration that should coincide nicely with the winter holidays – so we hope you will stay tuned…but, that is actually not what this post is about. This post is brought to you by the number 5 because this post is about our 5 year anniversary or our 5th birthday or however you want to look at it, this post about us having made it, in an over-satureated, theater town, to our 5th season!!! A milestone we would not have seen if it weren’t for all of you out there!!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for your continued support. And, since this post is about a specific number, I thought I’d give it to you by the numbers – 10 to be exact – so here you go…

1 – as in – ONE DREAM that refused (and continues to refuse) to die. For me the dream of directing was so powerful that it started us all on this journey. It’s been a weird and wonderful trip so far – a dream trip, one might say, and I hope we’re just at the beginning…

2 – as in – the number of novels GTTP has adapted into stage productions (Dreamers of the Day, and Jane Austen’s Persuasion) – see our Past Productions page and previous blog posts for details on these amazing and exhilerating shows.

3 – as in – the third novel GTTP will adapt for the stage after we premiere our adaptation of Ann Napolitano’s Within Arm’s Reach, in late winter/early spring of 2014. I know, I know you’ve been hearing about this for over a year but it is now OFFICIALLY on the calendar, people! It is on the calendar and the script is halfway completed. We’re currently deciding on a performance venue and we are aiming for a late February/early March production run. Stay tuned for details.

4 – as in – the number of times GTTP has performed at The Secret Theatre. One of our all time favorite performance spaces, The Secret Theatre is consistently bringing new and innovative productions to their little corner of Long Island City – not so secret anymore. We hope to be back at our unofficial home in the spring, but in the meantime, if you’re looking for quality indy professional theater in Queens, check them out and take in a show.

5 – as in – we’re five years old, y’all!!!! Haven’t you been reading this post?

6 – as in – the number of theater women (who haven’t worked directly with GTTP and aren’t Tahitians per se but that) I have connected with thanks to/because of my work with GTTP. Connections I would not have made if GTTP didn’t exist – women I can’t imagine not having in my life. They include – Jane Dubin, producer - ANN, Peter and the Starcatcher and unFRAMED; Patricia Klausner, producer – Pippin; Caroline Rothstein, writer, performer and producer, http://bodyempowerment.tumblr.com/Bailie Slevin, a former theater professional who is now on a mission to bring fiscal health and education to the entertainment community – a mission she pursues through her company Entertaining FinanceMelanie Jones, writer, performer, dancer and producer – Endureand; last but not least Jake Lipman, actor, director, producer and founder of Tongue in Cheek Theater who will be doing a performance of How I Learned to Drive at the other Shetler Studios Theater during our run of The Sandman’s Coming. These women have been incredible – helpful, motivating, supportive, and generally wonderful people I’ve been honored to share the female theater community with. I hope that they are only the beginning of this circle of incredible theater women that GTTP has entered into.

7 – as in – the number of different aviatrices (the aviatrix is what we call our logo), our incomparable graphic designer, Christine Diaz, has designed to individually accompany each production (we don’t have one for Dreamers of the Day or the first In the Ebb  as we sadly hadn’t yet discovered the awesomeness that is Christine at the time we were doing those shows). When she came on board, she branded GTTP and continues to design all of our beautiful production art. To see all of the aviatrices, check out our About Us page.

8 – as in – the number of productions presented by GTTP since we opened our doors (curtains) - In the Ebb, by Camilla Ammirati, Dreamers of the Day, adapted from the novel by Mary Doria Russell, Skin Flesh Bone, by Camilla Ammirati, Full Disclosure, by Ruth McKee, Cat Lady without a Cat, by Carrie Keskinen, Jane Austen’s Persuasion, adapted for the stage by Laura Bultman, In the Ebb (Redux), by Camilla Ammirati and Bella’s Dream by Dana Boll. More details on each (except for Bella’s Dream because I haven’t had a chance to upload the pictures but will hopefully do it soon) can be found on our Past Productions page.

9 – as in – the number of productions we will have under our belts when The Sandman’s Coming opens on October 24th. Did I mention? Tickets are on sale now.

Which brings me to: 

10 – as in – years – our next big milestone – that, with your help, we’ll reach in another five.

Thanks for getting us here! We hope you’ll continue to join us on this extraordinary, exciting, incredible journey!

See you at the thater!!!!

Arts and Sports and the things they share…

Ok, so I have another few posts waiting in the wings and I’ll get them up on the site in the next few weeks. I’ll talk about post-show depression and new GTTP members – new projects and the life of a small independent theater company and everything will return to normal but before I do that I wanted to just say something about this whole natural disaster thing.

First off, I want to say that thankfully GTTP is fine. We’ve weathered the weather with limited damage to property and no damage to the people in the Tahiti circle. I also got word from Richard Mazda, the owner of The Secret Theatre, and, despite it being near the Hurricane Sandy flood zone, our unofficial home is also fine. No damage to any of the three theater spaces there so we are very thankful to the storm gods for that. Our community is safe. However, as I’m sure you’re all well aware, the Eastern Seaboard, particularly New Jersey and New York, were not so lucky. Our hearts and thoughts go out to all of those affected by the storm who recently got slammed again by this little nor’easter that blew through last night.

“We hear you Jess, but we saw the title of this post, what on earth does this have to do with sports?” you ask. Good question. I’m getting there. Some of you already know this but for those who don’t, I am a sometimes runner. In 2006 I ran (actually after mile 14 it was mainly walking) the Chicago Marathon and I was scheduled to run (I was hoping to make at least mile 20 before walking this time) the NY Marathon last Sunday…And as many of you also know, in the wake of the storm, the NY Marathon was cancelled. Let me just say here, this post is not about the controversy surrounding either the original decision to have the marathon or the eventual decision to cancel it. (For those of you who want to know my opinion, just for the record, I agree that canceling it was the right decision, though a part of me was still disappointed not to be able to run and hope to run it next year. But, as I said, that’s not what this post is about.)

What this post is about is Arts and Sports and the things they share. I know that from an 80′s high school movie standpoint arts and sports have nothing in common. There are jocks and there are drama kids and never the twain shall meet. But, as a lover of sports movies, I’ve never understood that totally black and white view of either high school or, honestly, the world. Sometimes the drama kids are athletic. Sometimes the athletes can sing…You get my drift, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about either.

What I wanted to talk about here is the thing that I think sport and art most have in common and that is their power to create a community who might not share anything else in common but they all like “this” whatever this happens to be. In this instance, when I say art I mean theater (because, of course, that’s what I do) but it applies to all of the arts: music, or painting, sculpture, or photography – you name it – they can all connect you with others. And, when I say sport, because I’m about to talk about running, in this instance that’s the sport I’m referring to but anyone who has cheered on his or her team during the world series, or the world cup – anyone who has cried over his horse’s defeat at the Kentucky Derby or her team’s defeat in a high school championship knows that any sport can bring people together.  Because sports and the arts, they are more than just sport and art, they are ideas. Ideas we believe in. Ideas we share with others. And both sport and art create these little tribes, these little families that believe in the same thing. It might be the only thing they agree on but on that idea they are united.

Close to 1300 marathoners-turned-relief-workers wait in the Staten Island Ferry terminal for the boat to take us to the island.

I’ve spent the last week, both when I thought the marathon was happening and then after it was cancelled, looking at my feelings about the race. I was conflicted about running had it gone ahead. Don’t get me wrong, if the city decided to do the race, I would have run it – I had trained too hard for too long not to run, but I was conflicted and I realized one of the reasons for my conflict was that to me the NY Marathon – hell, any marathon but particularly New York – is an idea. And a grand one at that. It’s about pushing yourself to the limit. It’s not just a 26.2 mile run. For every runner who does a marathon (or who trains for a marathon) it’s about setting yourself a goal and then either accomplishing it or not but learning about yourself during the struggle. It’s about looking at this crazy distance and saying, “no way. I can’t do it.” And then doing it anyway. For the NY Marathon, it’s about a whole city lining the streets and cheering for you even though they don’t know you – coming together to help you because in the end it’s about looking into the abyss and knowing the abyss is looking back at you, steely eyed, and pissed off, and then choosing to jump into it anyway, and to be honest, you need all the help you can get. It’s dramatic and it’s moving and no matter how alone you might be when you train, when you line up with thousands of other people to run, and when you run through streets lined with thousands of other people cheering you on – well, you ain’t alone anymore. Because that’s what the marathon is about – setting goals and challenging yourself and getting through hard stuff with the help of your community. And though you show up with strangers, you soon make friends as you struggle and suffer together. And though you’re cheered on by strangers, you find your friends along the route. And for one day – for one moment in time, this enormous, isolating city, filled with millions of people, becomes this community of people all in it together.

But this year, as the true extent of Hurricane Sandy’s damage started to register and the thought that resources might be diverted from relief efforts for the race…it stopped being about everyone coming together. The city was broken, and the marathon couldn’t be the band-aid that fixed it. So it was cancelled. And it was the right call, but it didn’t change the fact that there were a bunch of people who wanted to run. (Do you see how I’m setting the scene here?)

So a bunch of people wanted to run…and a bunch of people on Staten Island (the starting point for the marathon) needed help. And in stepped New York Runners In Support of Staten Island. Organized by a group of runners who were planning to do the marathon, (and they put this together in about 24 hours, folks), the group urged hundreds of would be marathoners to spend the Saturday before the marathon buying relief supplies and readying backpacks instead of resting up and carb loading for the following day’s 26.2. And, on Sunday morning, as planned, we loaded onto the Staten Island Ferry and took a ride. The idea was that we’d all put on something orange (the race’s color), we’d put the supplies in backpacks and we’d run the supplies out to people on the island who needed them most. Along the way we’d pitch in and help, however we could, but most importantly, we’d go door to door – we’d hand out supplies, we’d help clear debris, we’d listen to stories the folks needed to tell, we’d cry with them or hug them or be with them – whatever they needed. We were told to be flexible and ready for anything. And instead of running away from Staten Island, we’d run right to the heart of it.

It was expected to be about two hundred people. Thirteen hundred showed up instead. It started with 5 different groups separated by distances: 6-8 miles, 8-10 miles, 10-12 miles, 12-14 miles, 14+ miles. It turned out there were at least 2 groups for each distance. For me, I knew I could do a full 26.2 but with 20 pounds of relief supplies on my back? With my old thick-soled sneakers instead of my barefoot shoes (there was a lot of debris still on the streets)? Without bathrooms or water breaks or aid stations? I decided I’d opt for the 8-10 mile route.

So Sunday morning, we arrive on Staten Island and a bunch of groups, clad in orange hats or tops or pants or all three take off to points south and west of the terminal. My

The Orange-Clad Army on ferry number 2.

group, scheduled to go 8-10 miles, gathers around our leader to confirm our route and get ready to head out. Then the leader makes an announcement. It turns out that they’ve talked to FEMA and discovered that the people who really need our help are a bit further out. So instead of 8-10 miles it looks like where the help is really needed on our route is a round trip distance closer to 14 miles (4-6 miles farther than expected). So our leader makes the announcement – it’ll be 14 miles not 8, but that’s where the help is most needed. “So,” she says, “we can either stick with the original plan or we can scrap it and go where they most need us. Why don’t we take a vote? Let me get a show of hands for everyone who wants to do the original 8 mile route.” And then she looks out at the crowd. And do you know what she saw? Not a collection of individuals but a community with a single idea – Not one hand was raised…not one.

And it wasn’t peer pressure. It wasn’t like everyone looked around and noticed that no one else was raising a hand and so thought, “oh, I can’t be the only one to raise a hand.” Because, the thing is – nobody even turned their heads. No one shuffled, no one looked at their neighbors, no one hesitated or even considered raising a hand. It was as if 35 people collectively and silently decided – “we go. We go where we’re needed.”

And did I mention these people were mostly strangers. I mean there were little pockets – 2 people together here, 3 there – but as a group, we hadn’t met before we showed up to run. We didn’t know each other, we just came together because we shared this thing – this idea. This wish to challenge ourselves, but also to help. This wish to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. To be a part of this group. And in this case, our little community could help a bigger one. So that’s what we did.

Taking a break at the FEMA station before heading back home.

We ran out to the FEMA station and along the way we stopped to hand out supplies – “who needs garbage bags?” “Do you need food and water?” “How about soap and shampoo, I’ve got soap and shampoo here?” We helped carry debris. We listened. One woman, standing in front of a pile of debris that a week earlier had been the contents of her brother’s home, hugged me and cried and said she just needed to know they weren’t alone. She didn’t need anything in my backpack but in that moment she seemed to need me. Just to know that they weren’t alone. That they weren’t forgotten. That was what she seemed to need most of all.

In the end it was a long, hard, wonderful, awful day. The devastation is unbelievable – and my group didn’t even get to the worst of it. Houses that are piles of debris. Cars that have been washed onto embankments. Sinkholes where once there were sidewalks or fields. One of the other runners kept saying to me, “how do you come back from this? How do you ever get back to normal after this?” And all I kept thinking was, “you don’t do it alone, that’s how.” So, in the end, I think sport and art have the power to move, to make a difference. And hopefully, in some small way, the power to heal. But their greatest power, is the power to bring us together.

In the weeks and months to come, as the temperature drops and more storms roll through areas with weakened (or in some cases obliterated) infrastructure, my heart goes out to everyone who is trying to come back from this. And, I want to say – you’re not alone. Because, it turns out, a run is a lot like a play — it is a statement — an idea — of strength and community, of coming together, of not being alone.

The folks in Staten Island and other parts of New York and New Jersey still need your help. Please join our community. Please help.

Red Cross –  http://www.redcross.org/

Interoccupy - http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/

Time Out – http://www.timeout.com/newyork/own-this-city-blog/how-to-help-in-new-york-city-after-hurricane-sandy

Like the facebook page and get involved – you don’t even have to run:

New York Runners In Support Of Staten Island - https://www.facebook.com/NewYorkRunnersInSupportOfStatenIsland?fref=ts


And, if you’d like to donate money - http://www.crowdrise.com/runnersForRelief