UNDYING LOVE by Ed Tiger Verdin - September 11

Soulful Productions, Inc.

 End Notes 

Notes from the Playwright/Director:  


Let me begin by thanking this amazing cast and crew of strong, powerful women and my two amazing sons that are dedicated to making a difference in our community.  I always tell everyone I didn't write this play (Undying Love).  God did!   I was actually in the process of writing my musical (Life in the Quarters) when the concept of Undying Love hit me like a ton of bricks.  All I did for the next 5 days straight was write. So tonight when you hear His words please keep in mind the victims of 9/11 and the families that were forever affected.  

As the Board of Directors and I continue towards our mission of creating Art with a focus on Diversity never did we ever phathom that our journey would not include Tyra Yarber alongside us. On a balmy Sunday morning, September 17, 2017, our worlds came crashing down. The man that began my theatrical journey at Franklin High School in 1990 by simply calling to ask for help one day would become a lifetime of working side by side to create, mentor and advocate the Arts in Franklin and Acadiana. The past 17 years at the Teche Theatre for the Performing Arts we have spent more time together focused on creating a better community through the Arts.   Whether we were both on stage together or he was directing we ensured to include as much of the community as possible especially children.   I will always have the memories of spending thousands of hours with my best friend as we created long lasting friendships with each and every person that became part of the Teche Theatre family and more recently the Soulful Productions family. Those hours were always spent with song from musical theatre - Hamilton, Rent, The Color Purple, Aint Misbehavin or whatever we were browsing at doing next. He is missed every single day!

I once heard “The Arts can heal a dying community.” It, however, cannot do anything without energized and proud citizens willing to get involved and make the community what they want it to be. Support by our community is key. Each and every day of my life I try to live as it is my last and Tyra’s death really fueled me to move faster than ever before.   We have a saying in the theatre but moreover with Soulful Productions “leave it all on stage” meaning when you complete a production every fiber of your mind, body and soul should have been used to tell the story at hand and the audience will have taken a part of your soul out the door with them. I live each and every day with that in mind in everything I do. When I finally get home at night and pass out I always ask myself and God, “Am I doing enough?” One day that answer will finally come but until then y’all keep up! To have my amazing, beautiful wife Stacey and wonderful children, Tyler, Connor, Ethan and Ryleigh by my side doing it makes it all so special. Thank y’all for loving me!

Arts Education is something I hold near and dear to my heart. Never did I ever dream that I would be performing, directing, writing and producing theatre.   Being an extremely shy child, (yes I know you don’t believe me), I would have never taken such a step.   Even after Tyra got me involved at Franklin High and I worked many productions backstage I never had the scintilla of urge to get on stage.   It wasn’t until my mentor and second mother, Mrs. Diane Wiltz, saw that special something in me as an educator that I would see that special talent that God gave me.   As a junior I decided to take her drama class to learn more about all aspects of the theatre.   The day came when she was passing out scripts and I knew I would be lighting engineer or stage manager.   She dropped a script with a “character name” on the top. I looked and realized it was the lead actor and had what looked like as many lines as War & Peace. Well, of course she gave me the wrong script! So I approach her and tell her, “Dah, you gave me the wrong script.” She looks at the name and says, “no, it’s the right script!”. Immediate panic took over my body.   “I cannot do this”, I said.   Without any hesitation she stated, “It’s for a grade.” And walked away from me. “Oh $@%*” was my immediate thought. What was I going to do? I studied and studied my lines.   I had to run through the crowd to start the show. Dear God take me now. The butterflies were more like angry gorillas fighting inside my stomach, heart and throat. BUT I can still feel THE moment. The moment when sense memory takes over your body and I hit the stage and turned to face the audience. The warmth of the stage lighting took over my body and touched me down to my soul.   Adrenaline surged and my body went into autopilot. That moment changed my life forever. That shy child died that day. Until this day before any performance I remember that exact moment. I will forever be grateful for Mrs. Diane's love and nurturing through the Arts and Life! I would never have a national spotlight if it were not for you! That is why exposure to the Arts at a young age is so critical.   You never know!   Enjoy the Show!!! #SupportTheArts!



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