A Testament to the Power of Simplicity May 2, 2016

by Tina LaPadula

Employee of the Year is a testament to the power of simplicity...

...and it’s got me thinking about the impact of unadorned story telling and the truth seeking that ends up defining who we are.

There is a gut wrenching intimacy in this collectively held monologue. Such thoughtful care in one woman’s story.  And, there’s something very special about preteens.  A palpable vulnerability, courage and honesty in the simple way these young performers stand, the way they speak, the way they gaze straight forward into the audience and demand our attention. Oh that we could all have our lives acted out by 11 year olds. Maybe witnessing this show will suffice. The experience is at once nostalgic and immediate, like peering into a universal looking glass and seeing your current self and the person you used to be.

The work unfolds episodically in the genuine way most us recall our lives; a collage of half remembered sentence fragments, visual freeze frames, timeline jump cuts, and tiny gestural details.  I sit with a lump in my throat, more moved and self-reflective than any performance has left me in a great while.  There is space in this to recognize myself and feel the weight of humanity.

Living is simple.  And, no matter how old we get we essentially remain our 11 year-old selves. We are a society of preteen protagonists tilting at our individual demons, seeking the answers we hope will complete us, the facts to fill the empty untended hurts and early traumas.  This is the emotional stuff that fuels our lifetimes of longing. Every decision we make from the most fleeting, flip and inadvertent, to the most intentional and conscious we can be, is tied inexplicably to that seeking.  There’s comfort and melancholy in the commonality of existence.


Tina LaPadula is a performer and an On the Boards Ambassador. For the past 2 decades Tina had poured much of her creative energy into teaching artistry and equitable arts access efforts with Seattle Public Schools and especially with Arts Corps, the award winning arts education non-profit she helped found in 2000.