Fever Dream / by Jennifer Paredes

2018 was a Fever Dream. It was a miracle that continued to surprise me. As it unfolded, I found myself in awe of it’s familiar wonder. I felt like I dove into a wormhole, traveling at the speed of light. The San Diego Critics Circle awarded me the Craig Noel Actor of the Year Award for my body of work in 2017. I was part of a beautiful bouquet that was American Mariachi at the Denver Center for Performing Arts and the Old Globe, making friends who still enrich my life to this day. Those gems gave me the courage and strength to take a huge leap and jump into the raging river that is New York City. The Big City drove some serious whiplash into me— humbled my spirit and challenged me to dig deep and discover what I was really made of. I was blessed with multiple opportunities to witness the beginnings of new plays by participating in a few workshop readings, supporting friends in their developing projects, and catching a few productions of new plays that I am sure will be making rounds in the regional theatre world for years to come. I learned that the world really is so much smaller than we may think. I was ushered into a world of literal and spiritual magic that was El Huracán at Yale Repertory Theatre. There I met some seriously wise mentors who pushed me out of my comfort zone and nurtured my unconventional instincts and process. I traveled back to the West Coast to renew my spirits and refill my tank with love, sun, and laughter. After a year of pushing myself beyond the bounds of what I thought was possible, the Universe circled me back to participate in the workshop of a fantastic new play/work of technological art called Froggy at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. 

Being back home, I realized just how much I have grown in one year. I have been overwhelmed with so much love, so many blessings, and so many lessons this past year, I’ve learned how important it is to truly stay present and enjoy the moment. I think we all can benefit from giving ourselves the space, just an extra sliver of a moment, to check in with our hearts before we take our next step. 

I spent this past New Years in my temporary creative cove in Houston, Texas. We have our first preview for The River Bride at Stages Repertory Theatre this Wednesday. This rehearsal process has given me the opportunity to genuinely put into practice these few notes 2018 offered me:

—It is so crucial to trust yourself, your stars, your instincts, and your path. 

—I’m still learning to keep an open heart despite the way the world can harden your spirit. 

—Being present takes practice, an awareness of your breath, undeniable gratitude, and true self-compassion. 

I am confident that 2019 will shower me with more lessons and love. May I stay open to receive them all with grace.