Thursday, 8/18/11—Meeting Susan Rescorla
. I just got off the phone with Susan Rescorla and we're planning a little Sonoma getaway—just us two silly girls—for Labor Day. I've gotten to know Susan so well over the 8 months that have passed since we first met at our Heart of a Soldier
workshop and press conference in December of last year. It has been an honor to get to know this woman who is a perfect balance of resilience and vulnerability. Our first meeting, at least on my part, was full of anticipation and a healthy dose of fear. I was so nervous with questions..."What will she be like?", "Will I be able to sing this in front of her without crying?" and "Will she appreciate the work and give her approval?" So many unknowns.
Susan Rescorla walked into our rehearsal room very quietly as we had begun singing Act 2 of the opera. She sat at a work table watching us along with Chris Theofanidis, Francesca Zambello and Donna DiNovelli. I couldn't look at her; so, I just kept to my task—hoping to deliver the text and intentions respectfully and honestly. As we finished the opera, I dared to glance toward her. She was sitting beautifully upright with tears covering her cheeks. I became a massive puddle.
Upon ending rehearsal, I walked over to meet Susan. I was completely prepared to hug her, hold her up or just sit with her if she needed to cry. She looked up at me (she MIGHT be 5 ft. tall in heels) with tears still running down her face and said, "OH GOOD! I always wanted really LONG legs!"
The rest is history—a really good, close, know-each-other-already-without-saying-a-word kind of history. Susan, "This one's for you, kid."
[Below: Rick and Susan Rescorla]
Saturday, 8/20/11—Act 2
. We have put some finishing touches on the entirety of Act 2 with all choristers, soldiers and characters present. Even in the bare space of Zellerbach A rehearsal space, with only the skeleton of a set, we are all immersed in and transported to the late 90's/early years of the 2000’s. It's a snapshot of a decade on the verge of major change—unaware of the fact that the nation's view of safety and calm will be shaken as of 8:46 a.m., September 11, 2001.
As I look around this room, I am so grateful to be part of such a respectful picture of Rick Rescorla's life, military and otherwise. A picture of his willingness to save anyone he could touch—to his own cost. Rick thought outside of himself and had the courage to directly defy orders if it meant saving those lives. THIS is the Heart of a Soldier.