I remember the first time that I rolled into Columbus, Georgia. A young newlywed with my black Dodge Avenger packed to the brim with wedding gifts, TV trays for our new apartment, and so much hope in my heart, so many dreams for what lay ahead. A new adventure with my favorite person, fresh off my years living in New York City as a working actor, I knew that it would be an adjustment to married life, Army life, southern life. Of course, I knew… right up until I didn’t know. Who could predict planes crashing into buildings, thousands of people killed and an endless war? A sweetheart’s promise of “just five years, and then it can be your turn to dream big” went up in the black smoke of 9/11. 1999 Amy had dreams of Hollywood, names in lights and living life with my guy. 2019 Amy had experienced a much different reality.
I had lost my dream of acting somewhere between the 11 moves and four babies and five deployments. It had slipped through the cracks of moving boxes and FRG meetings and basketball practices, and I didn’t know where to look for it anymore, or even where to start. Then with the writing of my play, “I Will Wait” and the beautiful collaborative work that we do at The Veteran’s Spouse Project, I found it again. My dream was dusted off and reshaped into something far different…and better than my 23-year-old self could have ever dreamed.
So here I was, returning to Columbus, GA almost to the day, 20 years later. Columbus and Fort Benning had changed and so had I. Columbus had been torn down and rebuilt; me too. In that moment, I knew that I wanted to produce “I Will Wait” in this reborn city. I wanted to see this all come full circle in the place where I had begun to lose that dream, only to ultimately replace it with something richer.
We opened on Thursday, May 9th, 2019 at the beautiful Riverside Theatre Complex at Columbus State University’s downtown campus in collaboration with the Georgia Repertory Theatre. We had a cast of 28 actors and musicians who shared the stories of veterans’ spouses across generations, and we felt audiences’ hearts’ synchronize as they laughed and wept right along with us. Standing on that stage, seeing those reactions and emotions reflected back at me, with shared experiences and enthused claps, communicating that we are in this together. Civilian, military, soldier and spouse, American to American… oh, that we all could experience a dream such as this.
Stay tuned for where “I Will Wait” will move next in 2020… moving hearts and minds in an area near you!