BWW Blog: Shannon O'Bryan of Transcendence Theatre - 'Rhythm of Life'
Wow, what a week?!?! Every day is so incredibly full and, as we like to say, EPIC, here in Sonoma. Last week was so beautiful. We had amazing shows, community outreach projects, artistic Salons, community open-mic events, family visiting, and overall THE BEST WEEK EVER!!! The week started with family in town. My folks got to experience their first Transcendence shows at Jack London State Park and were completely speechless at the end of them. They have been traveling around the world watching me perform my entire life... everywhere from summer fun in Germany to the freezing wintry temperatures of Moscow to multiple visits to Broadway and off-Broadway shows in New York to dozens of cities around our beautiful country, but this was their favorite experience of them all. What makes it different? The gathering of community in one magical space to share an experience TOGETHER before and during the show and the energy that comes from a group of people leaping and singing to unbelievable heights being inspired by the same mission while living completely in their own unique purposes TOGETHER and the undeniable feeling that comes from that being shared with your heart in those ruins under that canopy of stars. Special beyond words!
After their weekend of shows, I set them up with a Benziger Wine Tasting Tour that was so cool. We bounced through the vineyard on a tram and ended up in the tasting room with some of the sweetest souls around teaching us all about the differences in Benziger's beautiful wines this summer and what makes them so special as winemakers. We spent an afternoon with the incomparable Squire and Suzy Fridell in the most special tasting and visit EVER! They are the co-owners of Glen Lyon Vineyards and Two Amigos and simply the greatest people in the world. Their daughter is one of my dearest friends, Lexy Fridell, who is doing an awesome show this week with the hilarious and adorable Mark Gindick at Jacuzzi Winery called Off to the Cloud... I can't wait!
The rest of my family's trip included an awesome 7 course food and wine pairing tasting with Kurt and Clayton at Mayo and a visit to one of their favorite vineyards in Napa called V. Sattui where they are good friends with one of the owners, Tom, who made the day incredibly special for them. Aside from all of their magical wine tasting touring, we got to spend an awesome amount of time laughing together with my love, Nick Dalton, and our beautiful, inspiring, and hilarious host family, Erin and Francis Collins. I still can't believe I have a "host family"... I mean, they open up their home and let us stay in it and bug them all the time because we are so in love with them and they let us do this for an entire summer!! How are we so lucky!?!? Grateful beyond words. There are so many amazing Superheroes in Sonoma!!
Just when I thought the week couldn't get any better, we got to experience another Skits Under the Stars night at Little Vineyards. The theme was a Circusy one. Their was every possible kind of talent you could think of represented on that stage (including fire dancing or POI by the magical Rachel Lantow!!!) and the night was capped off by an incredible meteor shower display in the sky! Wow!!
The following day brought to us an amazing event at SDC that was a part of our outreach program called Transcendence Connects. We performed a 45 minute show for many of the angelic residents there and it was such a moving and beautiful day that I couldn't stop having feelings down my face to save my life. Those feelings continued into the night when the super special, Linda Dodwell, hosted us in her home for our 3rd Artist Salon. The Salons are my absolute favorite events we have done this summer because they are just the most pure and raw sharings of creative ideas and always happen in a safe space with so much friendly, loving, and helpful feedback for each participant to take home with them. You wouldn't believe all of the talents that our Transcendence Artists have within them. This week's Salon lasted for about 5 and a half hours and about 15 people shared ideas or works that they were birthing. Everyone left the evening feeling so inspired and knowing that they now had a brand new group of peace warriors alongside of them to support and lift their ideas up and make them into a reality. So special. So grateful to be in a place that breathes life into these types of events.
The week ended with awesome shows, an amazing dessert heavenly event at Deerfield, and a bittersweet farewell to one of my bestest girlfriend's, Emily Erdman of the incredible Transcendence Technical Direction Team. Bitter - because I hate the thought of being physically apart from her, but Sweet - because she is leaving due to the acceptance of a dream job that will exercise all of her Super Powers daily. She is moving to Utah to rock the position of Technical Director at Utah Shakespeare Festival and bringing an awesome Transcendence energy along with her. Proud beyond words, but, Emily, you will be so missed here!!
On another note, we are entering into our last weekend with RHYTHM OF LIFE and super exited to do it again, but a bit sad to see this one end. What an incredible group of inspiring people this show has brought together. I know it is only the beginning though in the grand scheme of things;) Next week, we begin rehearsals for our final shows of the season, IMAGINE and THE GALA... Come out and see us!
Super jazzed to continue changing the world in extraordinary ways with extraordinary people, one jazzhand at a time:)
CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE
Stephan Stubbins, Manuel Merjil, Shannon O'Bryan, and Grace Anne Doyle
Shannon O'Bryan and Nick Dalton