This summer I had the great fortune to travel as a director with DRAMATIC ADVENTURE THEATRE creating a devised piece of theatre called Whispers of Floreana. The play was created through interviews with residents of Floreana, a small island in the Galapagos, and was performed in both Quito and New York City. Beyond working with some amazing actors I was able to meet a few new animal friends highlighted here. The journey was incredible and I'm so grateful I can continue to do what I love and love what I do. Below is the directors note posted in the program. It is amazing how much can happen when you are simply open to it.
It had been a dream of mine to spend time on the Galapagos since 2009 when I first travelled, as an actor, with DAT. Many years later I found myself on Santa Cruz, thinking I had landed on Mars. The land was different, turtle crossing signs peppered the road, and we had to take one plane, to another plane, to a boat, to a bus, to a truck, to finally get to our hotel, and it was worth every moment. While the Galapagos is known for its nature, it’s the people, and energy from the island’s mysterious past, that created the spark for Whispers Of Floreana.
My initial vision for a play about Floreana, before I left for Ecuador, was inspired by the history of Post Office Bay, the birthplace of the Galapagos, and the letters that were left by whalers. Ask the cast and they will tell you about the letters I had them write to each other, to paintings, to their naps, and the art installation we came across in Quito about the art of letter writing. It was a wonderful way to come together as a team, but on the boat to Floreana from Santa Cruz I was immediately struck by the enthusiasm of the local tour guide, Jimmy, who was bringing a group of snorkelers to the island for the day. He was happily surprised that we were volunteering and staying for more than a few hours and was excited to be interviewed. I believe that when devising a piece of theatre if you follow the breadcrumbs the story starts to unfold for you. Jimmy was the key that unlocked the inspiration to create a documentary theatre piece based on interviews with the islanders, people we came across on our journey, and information we pulled from the documentary The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden.
We could have told many different stories with the materials we gathered, but decided together that it was Rodrigo’s story that was the most inspiring. The cast truly connected with the students they taught, and I have no doubt that they each made a lasting impression. While language was a barrier for some of us relating through the language of love came easy for all. It was inspiring watching each actor dig in and connect on a deep level with each person they came across during our time on Floreana.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such inspiring individuals who truly care about their place in this world and want to make a lasting difference that goes beyond showing up with a handful of candy. It is my hope that you see a little slice of an island that has so much potential, many challenges, and a beating pulse from a mysterious past that continues to tug at the heart of each person who grows up on Floreana.