(NOTE: the “Patron POV Series” features guest blog posts from patrons & supporters sharing a story about the impact Open Window Theatre has had in their own lives or in the community.)
I can still remember the exact spot of my seat and the view of the stage that I had when I saw Open Window Theatre’s world premiere production of Mercy Unrelenting. For those unfamiliar with the story, it is a beautifully written piece about a young Italian saint, Maria Goretti, her brutal murderer Alessandro Serenelli, and a reporter covering Maria’s unprecedented canonization. The play went back and forth between present-day 1950 and the life of Maria Goretti in the early 1900s and the redemptive story of her murderer in that time between. Throughout the production, I was moved by the dialogue, the tough questions that were asked of me, and the unrelenting belief that hope and mercy are offered to all – no matter our stories, our pasts, or our struggles.
I sat in my seat, riveted by the story unfolding before me and I can still remember the emotions that swept over me and stirred inside of me. I can close my eyes and still remember why it was that I wept: the very essence of the human soul – my soul – desired and still desires such hope, mercy and love as that experienced by the individuals in the story.
The actors took their final bows, the curtains closed, and I sat stunned in my seat with my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and my parents. I was in shock, I was hopeful, and I was determined to email the director to get involved with the theater company. As a sophomore in college, I wanted to help however I possibly could to help make a difference in the world through this theater company.
I remember meeting with Jeremy Stanbary, nervously showing my portfolio and talking about my recent acceptance into the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. We discussed the mission, values and goals of the theater and the direction of the next season. It was decided that I would join as marketing/communications intern and help with all aspects of communication for the theater and learn about arts management.
I worked with Open Window Theatre for 2 years and it was an incredible experience. Jeremy and team were incredibly patient with me as I learned the best (and not-so-best) approaches of communication and marketing in the theater world and how I could help create opportunities for the theater to grow in the Twin Cities.
I would host “postcard parties” at my house, the theater or a local church and gather up friends to go through and put labels and stamps on all the postcards that would be mailed out. Sometimes, it was a late night and, sometimes, we had so many volunteers, it went by quickly!
Open Window Theatre wasn’t just a resume builder for me. It was an opportunity to be a part of an organization that offers productions of redemptive hope to a world in desperate need of such reminders. And when I say it was an opportunity, I mean that it is an opportunity. I will never miss the chance to volunteer or work for this organization – it is so special and such a unique attribute to the arts scene in the Twin Cities! As the theater transitions and experiences the pains of growth, my hope and prayer is that this theater will continue to thrive and be placed in the next best location to continue to share its message and mission with the Twin Cities.
– Bridget (Scott) Busacker