2020: The Year of Dreams
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
I remember how excited I was for 2020! I was in the process of directing my first play and, as scary as that was, it was also exhilarating, exciting and energizing! I remember envisioning how it would all turn out and, for as far as my mind could see, there were nothing but endless possibilities!
But, then, 2020 happened. In the month of January I suffered a complete tear of my ACL. As disappointing as that was, I continued on. I was determined: nothing was going to steal my joy and my excitement. Indeed, for the next month, my cast worked tirelessly on bringing their best performance. Everything seemed to fall into place and they gave a magnificent performance that only spurred my imagination even more. They inspired me to believe that we could do bigger and better things.
However, the world was quietly (at first) falling apart around us. First, we heard of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his young, teenage daughter passing away tragically. For me, it was the first inkling that something was happening, that things were changing. Now, I am not the person that believes that aliens came to pick up Kobe so they could begin an attack to overtake the Earth. Instead, Kobe was such a part of our collective consciousness that his loss left an indelible mark on the psyche of, not just the world of sports, but the world as a whole.
Even while dealing with the heartbreak of losing Kobe and little Gianna and what that meant, I was determined to move on. While we were rehearsing for the play and making plans, we began to hear rumblings of a super virus in China. I heard words like “SARS”, death, fear, panic. Yet, I was still engrossed in the excitement of the play, of making future plans. Maybe, I should admit, as well, that I was overconfident.
At first, it seemed so far away. Perhaps, a part of me thought it would never make it here and, if it did, this is America. This is the land of ingenuity, the land of promise. We would show the world how to deal with this pandemic; we would come together as a nation and use our collective talent, knowledge, our considerable resources to show the world how to heal.
By March, we were on lock down, quarantined. Businesses closed, children were unable to go to school, and life as we knew it, ceased. We all have our collective stories about how life changed for us in the midst of the pandemic. Indeed, my work schedule changed as I had to rearrange my schedule in order to support my daughter as she started distance learning. All the plans that I had made to direct more plays, to do more theatre performances were put on hold.
As the lockdown has continued, something more insidious has occurred. With the loss of jobs, the seeming loss of opportunity our perspective changed from dreams to survival. Many of us in the arts, theatre, in particular, all of a sudden, found ourselves without livelihood. But, even more tragic, we found ourselves confused and the landscape changed to what seemed to be an inhospitable environment for those of us whose world depended on the ability to gather, whose energy is derived from bringing the arts to the public, from being in front of people.
How do we do this? How do I continue my craft which depends on being with other people during a time when that is unsafe to do? What does the future of performing arts look like? As I write this, I am considering why I chose to call this year, the year of dreams. As artists, I feel that we have an innate ability to see beyond the physical world. As actors, we explore the inner consciousness of humanity. As dancers, we attempt to express the ethereal and sublime through our bodies. As musicians and singers, we give voice and sound to inner thoughts and ideas that might not otherwise be expressed and, not only that, our voices give power to that expression , as if reaching up to heaven, itself!
Now, it seems that all of that has come to a standstill.
As Willy Wonka quoted in the timeless classic, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, we are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams. It is now, more than any time ever, that our ability to see beyond the physical, to see beyond the uncertainty, to transmute that uncertainty and fear in the most sublime moment of faith is needed. It is now that we are most powerful as the Universe has given us a clean slate and it asks us, what would you like to create? What do you see, not with your eyes, but with your heart?
As president of WoW Productions, I still see endless possibilities even beyond the fear, beyond the uncertainty. I imagine a world in which our stories are told in new and innovative ways. I imagine artists helping the collective to see into the world of possibilities and then showing them how to reach into that realm of possibility and make their dreams real. It is important, more than any time ever, that we teach the world how to keep dreaming, keep striving and keep imagining a world wherein we are all valued, a world where our highest ideals are attained and a world where we are safe and have access that inalienable right endowed by our Creator to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We, at WoW Productions are looking for new and innovative ways to tell our stories, your stories and still continue to stay safe in our new reality of Covid. This is a daunting task and we will not shy away from it. We will tell the stories that may be hard to hear but must be told, nevertheless, such as the stories of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. We will tell stories of heartbreak and loss during the Covid pandemic. We will tell the stories of how we have continued the struggle to realize the highest ideal of the American Dream. We will also tell the stories of triumph, of love and hope. We will find new ways, innovative ways to show you that dreams do come true.
We are so glad you have joined us for this journey. Please stay tuned for new projects that are on the horizon….
Shervelle Bergholz is the founder and president of WOW Productions. When she is not in her virtual office working on company matters or participating in theatre productions, you can find her gliding the dance floor in ballroom-style or salsa dancing or spending quality time with her children and grandchildren. A natural born leader, Shervelle's mission is to help dreamers take action towards their dream, as she believes that it is never late to start chasing.