It was last Saturday night and I was on my way to spend the evening with the creative team from TheatreLAB that was putting the finishing touches on the script for NERVE: Stories of Queer Resilience.
As I anticipated our evening together and actually hearing the script for the first time, I reflected on my first meeting with some of the folks from TheatreLAB. It was back in February and we were meeting to talk about transcribing the stories that had been collected from the LGBTQ community, the process that would transform those stories into a script, and how to actually get butts in the seats for the performances. While the focus of the meeting was squarely on logistics, our conversation kept drifting back to the power of storytelling and how NERVE was going to amplify the voices of so many of us that have experienced harassment, violence, and even lost our lives, simply for living our authentic lives.
Flash forward from that cool February day to this steamy evening in May and I could feel my anticipation building as I was actually going to get to see and hear the progress that had been made on the script. I was expecting to contribute to the process and provide input in any way that would be helpful to the group. I was expecting to be inspired and impressed by the work that had been done so far by the artists of TheatreLAB. I was even expecting to be moved, as I often am when I bear witness in some way to the lived experiences of my community.
The NERVE Creative Team
What I was not expecting was to hear bits of my own story woven right into the fabric of the script. I was not expecting to have my breath taken away as I listened to my own deep fears read out loud in an apartment in the museum district. I was not anticipating the tears that came to my eyes as I realized that this was much more than a work meeting… this was my life, too.
As I sat there and I continued to take in the diverse stories that were being shared, what I came to realize is that the purpose of this event and, ultimately, the work of the Virginia Anti-Violence Project, is not only to bear witness to the painful lived experiences of our community, but to also work like hell to create a space to name and honor the amazingly fierce healing and resilience that exists in our community. That is where our individual and collective power lies… in our NERVE.
I realized... and I hope every person that is in some way touched by NERVE realizes this, too… that through telling these stories we are changing the world together.
I’ll see y’all at the show.
NERVE: Stories of Queer Resilience is a unique partnership from TheatreLAB, Richmond Triangle Players and Virginia Anti-Violence Project. Ticket for this very special fundraiser are avalible now at rtriangle.org.