Connection Not Perfection

“I was in the middle of a concert…everything was going perfectly…and I was bored out of my mind. That was the moment that I made a fateful decision (to) devote my life to human expression versus human perfection.” – Yo Yo Ma

A month ago, I was in a theater watching the amazing director Amy Marie Haven work with a huge cast to stage my play ‘La Sirène‘. The next day, she was packing for New York (to join the producing team of ‘The Music Man’) and I was left as the new director.

In my first rehearsal, I felt the urgency of our fast-approaching opening night and a burning need to correct all the imperfect moments. I could hear my voice strain and feel my frustration flair. This wasn’t a good version of me, and it wasn’t what the cast was used to.

At every rehearsal, Amy Marie had urged them not to try to be perfect, “Wherever you are in your process, just add one more layer today,” and Gullah tradition bearer Melanie DeMore said, “It will be different each time so stay in the present, not the past or future, and stay connected with me and with each other.”

Cast of La Sirene
(from left to right) Melanie DeMore, Milan Whitfield (La Sirène), Rene Collins (Joseph Johnson), Robert Sicular (The Captain). Photo by Joshua Sherman-Raz

It took a couple of days to temper my urge to rush, to stay in the present, and to let the actors add their own layers. “Connection not perfection” became my motto. Amazingly, we were often ahead of schedule and the rehearsals were always focused, generous and even joyful.

You can see a video of the production of La Sirène at

La Sirene instrumentalists
‘La Sirene’ instrumentalists. Photo by Joshua Sherman-Raz