Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hearing Voices

Soomi Kim's "Lee/gendary" had a short run of performances recently at the Beckett Theatre as part of the first National Asian American Theatre Festival in NYC. Soomi Kim created and co-wrote a show for which she was the centerpiece playing Bruce Lee. That's right, SHE was playing Bruce Lee and was absolutely stunning. The piece examined the life of Bruce Lee by trying to get behind and humanize the icon we know today. The show had it all: martial arts choreography, multimedia, live drumming, original music, etc.

In particular, though, what hit home for me about Bruce Lee was his steadfast vision and his drive to bring martial arts to the forefront of mainstream culture; to strive for excellence as a martial artist; to carry himself like a superstar even when Hollywood used his Asian-ness as an excuse and explanation to exclude him.

To illuminate Bruce Lee's Ambition and vision, Soomi Kim quoted from the work of American writer Jim Harrison: "Some people hear their inner voices with such clearness and they live by what they hear. Such people became crazy, or they become legend."

As a new staff member to the New York Innovative Theatre Awards, this quote helps me to understand the dedication of my new colleagues. I like to imagine that the founding directors—Shay, Jason, and Nick—were first guided by such inner voices that said: "Create a platform to recognize Off-Off Broadway Theatre to celebrate the art and the artists. Foster community and solidarity in the indie theatre scene in New York City." And I like to imagine that these inner voices were persistent but rang clear and true. And they acted on it by creating the New York Innovative Theatre Awards, and when the vision was expanded, created the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation.

These folks live by what they heard because what started out as an idea has now reached its 3rd year. To get to this point, just imagine how many dedicated hours, resources, skills, sweat and tears have been donated for the good of the Off-Off Broadway community. Let's be honest and say that most of us would normally consider this crazy behavior to execute for three years now something that has no material gain or personal advancement.

It would be a tad facetious of me to start throwing around the word "legend" to describe the IT Awards in a blog entry found on the IT Awards Myspace page. However, I have been thinking about this quote… and about Bruce Lee… and about making theatre… and about the New York Innovative There Awards. And look around us: the wondrous possibilities from listening and living for what we hear clearly in our heads and hearts, and ultimately, the powerful impact that it has to those around us.

Nancy Kim
Member Services Manager

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