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From Mary – Newton’s Laws of Motion

August 8, 2017

I’ve been thinking about Newton’s laws of motion.

First law:
In an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force.

Second law:
In an inertial reference frame, the vector sum of the forces F on an object is equal to the mass m of that object multiplied by the acceleration a of the object: F = ma. (It is assumed here that the mass m is constant – see below.)

Third law:
When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.

Life around Touchstone through much of the year is one of almost constant motion – training, rehearsals and performances, teaching, grant writing, designing. Summer is usually the “force” that acts upon us to allow us to move more slowly. The people around Touchstone never fall into inertia.

We leave that to some of our stuff. Or should I say, I leave that to some of MY stuff? In the hurly-burly of a production or a project things get set down and later I find myself wondering, “Why are there twenty three gold stars here in this pile of paperwork?”

This summer was more hurly than burly … what with designing costumes and puppets for Jakopa’s Punch Processional and two days after closing, jumping into directing Camp Touchstone for two weeks, in addition to coordinating three separate Young Playwrights’ Lab programs. Sometimes coordinating also means jumping in to fill-in as teacher and/or dealing with issues that invariably come up for teachers and school administrators.

And so on August 1st I found myself starting some personal “inertia” time after trying to clean up my office area a little so it didn’t look quite so much like the aftermath of a cyclone for my office mate Bill.

As I glanced around the office I found myself struck by my years at Touchstone and how they are represented by the objects left behind.

There are strands of origami cranes hanging in the front corner office that I hung there about 15 years ago. The cranes were an art project I did with my kids … back when they were much younger and I sat at that desk as the Ensemble member responsible for marketing and touring. 15 years.


I sit a back office that I share with Bill now. On the wall behind me hangs a piece of art created by Brazilian artist Jonas Dos Santos when he was here making giant art pieces for Don Quixote of Bethlehem. There’s also the poster for If At All, the original ensemble devised piece we performed in 2002 under the direction of Gerry Stropniki.

Recently we were cleaning out a back room we’ve called the Green Room for years as storage for all of the Jakopa’s Punch equipment and puppets when I discovered remnants of the glass menagerie used for the play back in 2004 when I played Laura to Bill’s Tom.

And then around my desk you’ll find tokens of my last few years.


A painting of Little Red by my father-in-law

A doll’s head collected by my character Maj in Bhudoo

A thank you note from some acting students

A Chinese medallion that was a gift from Jp and Lisa when they visited China in preparation of our two year Journey project.

Drawings made by YPL students

A stuffed penguin from a Little Red bit in Christmas City Follies in 2015

A rubber ducky representing a play in the Young Playwrights’ Festival of 2016

The poster from my one-woman show Mae Swe.

Clearly it doesn’t seem to matter the Mass of the object. The Force required to act upon them is too great for me. Sometimes that Force is busy-ness. Sometimes that Force is nostalgia.

In less than a month the pace will pick back up in a big way and we’re off to the races again… until next summer when I will look around and think, “How did that get here?”

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