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The gift in the darkness box

by Stephen Sachs

I’ve been thinking about a poem by Mary Oliver. The entire poem is only two lines. That’s all it needs. It goes like this:

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”

2020 has been a deep box of darkness. Our task is to learn to view sorrows as gifts. That’s a hard one. The poem encourages us to do something when sorrows come, challenges us not to sit back and do nothing about them. That is what I have learned from this year.

It is hard to receive boxes of darkness. At the bottom of my box, I have found the gift of gratitude. For things big and small. As this dreadful year comes to its close, it has brought me this gift born of darkness: To be without the intimacy of the Fountain Theatre for one year makes me grateful for it even more. I hope you feel the same. While our holiday gatherings may be smaller or grid-boxed on Zoom, our hearts will surely be filled with gratitude.

With vaccinations now underway, our boxes of darkness soon will lighten. I honestly believe that the Fountain Theatre will play an essential role in the healing of our community. As we look ahead to 2021, the Fountain has ambitious plans to move forward, both online and onstage. Creating productions that illuminate what it means to be alive at this time in the world and providing impactful arts education programs for students in underserved schools across Los Angeles. All COVID-safe.

Here’s a snapshot: Our new online platform, Fountain Stream will debut a 2021 season of plays and inter-active community programs. Using innovative video technologies, we will go beyond Zoom, to give you intimate high-quality theatre that makes you think and feel. We have expanded Fountain for Youth, our arts education initiatives, with Fountain Voices, an extraordinary in-school playwriting program designed by France-Luce Benson. Our ground-breaking cops/kids residency, Walking the Beat, will return in a glorious new digital format. And, most ambitious of all, we are hopeful that in the spring of 2021, we will launch our biggest adventure next year: a thrilling Outdoor Stage in our parking lot. Live theatre under the stars! Completely COVID-compliant. Stay tuned.

But for now, the Fountain — like every theater throughout Los Angeles and across the nation — remains closed. I don’t have to tell you things are hard. For the Fountain, our earned income has ground to a halt. The Fountain’s budget has dropped by over 50%. Our building remains non-operational, still standing proud on Fountain Avenue thanks to grants, federal loans, contributions, and the private giving by you, our Fountain Family. 

If you have already made a year-end donation to our campaign, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are the gift in our darkness box. Your love, friendship and support are the light that shines the way through these uncertain times. If you haven’t yet contributed, please consider doing so. Your generous holiday gift will help make the coming year possible. I am asking you to turn the sorrows of this year into a gift of gratitude. Out of darkness, light! 

Onward,

Stephen Sachs is the Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre.

Is the Fountain Theatre worth fighting for? Our future is now. Seriously.

Legal Fund imageAs you probably know, the LA theatre community has been deeply embroiled in a struggle with Actor’s Equity Association. More details here. A lawsuit is now pending.  Both sides are finally at the table, ready to work together to try to resolve this dispute and craft a new plan for Los Angeles intimate theaters. Both sides have agreed to share the cost of this arbitration. As long as both sides talk and work together, there is hope.

The importance of this moment can not be overstated. The future landscape of the Los Angeles theatre community is at stake.

We are raising funds to pay our share for a neutral third party to facilitate the discussion between Actor’s Equity and the Plaintiffs (LA actors & intimate theatres). And to cover the legal fees that have been accruing throughout this process. We are hoping to raise $75,000 towards this cause. Money raised will not go to the Fountain or any specific theatre. It will be held in a trust account to pay legal costs for our side.

Please help if the Fountain — and the intimate theatre experience in Los Angeles — is important to you. The number of folks contributing is just as important as the dollar amount raised. Better to give $10 than nothing at all.

arrow bullseye targetPlease donate right now. We need to have the funds raised by the end of the day on Friday, February 26th. That gives us two weeks to raise $39,517. An average of $2,800 per day. Can we do it? YES! If you give now!

Donating is fast, easy and secure. And the right thing to do.

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