As for me, I'm spending the month directing a 75-minute Romeo and Juliet at Ridgefield High School as part of Portland Playhouse's Fall Festival of Shakespeare. Ridgefield's mascot is the "Spudder," a regal, patriotic, and super-tough fighting potato, pictured left. Not sure what that has to do with anything, really, except that I repeatedly and continually find a kind of unexpected and unexplainable joy in this chaotic and self-described "impossible" process (akin to the unexplainable joy this potato man, who lives in Ridgefield's office, brings me). The Fall Festival comes from a model developed by Shakespeare and Co., based out of Lenox, Massachusetts, for which we directors received five days of training in person from the program's co-founders. The model is designed to bring Shakespeare's words to a visceral level and empower students to take real ownership of every part of the process in developing the play. And it culminates in a festival at the Winningstad Theatre in downtown Portland, at which all eight high schools involved perform their shows back to back over two days, to packed audiences full of their peers (and the general public) who cheer for each other as if they're at a sporting event. We're two and a half weeks away from performance, and we're at a point in the process where it feels impossible; there are too many balls in the air. And yet... I know it will come together. So for Monday, I'll put on my fighting potato face and dive back into the fray!