Thursday, 10 May 2012

Anne of Green Gables: A Personal Tribute

Rosebud Theatre is a place where performers bring the pathos of everyday life to our stories on stage. Cassia Schramm plays the beloved Anne of Green Gables on our stage this summer. Her performance will be fuelled not only by her personal love of the story, but by an understanding of the significance of Anne in the life of a dear friend of the family. 

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play Anne Shirley this summer. It is a teenage dream-role! Who doesn’t want to relish words like “excruciatingly” or affectionately endow a tree with the name “Snow Queen”? Who doesn't long for kindred spirits like Diana, Matthew and Marilla? And, of course, who doesn’t want to crack a slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head?! I have always had a special place in my heart for Anne and the people in her story. This past year has given me yet another reason to fall in love with her.

A question in my mind, is how many times should we pay tribute to a lost loved one? Is it possible to spend too much time in grief and tribute that we forget to move on? Last summer a dear friend of my mother was killed in a motorcycle accident. Fern Corsiatto’s mantra was, “I will not live an unlived life!” Even her death seemed to exude this statement; she was riding through the mountains, clinging to the man she loved on the back of a motorcycle. Her death has left a huge hole in our family and community.  She did not live and unlived life, and we miss her immensely. She had a laugh that filled a room, and a presence that commanded it. She was a legendary karaoke performer of “Delta Dawn.” She wore pink. She was an artist and a teacher. She drove a Harley. She grew tomatoes. Her most prominent mark was her gigantic love! She loved her family, her children, her grandchildren, and fiercely loved her friends. She called her friends her “bosom friends” and greeted them with a kiss on the mouth. She liked to cause a stir, but more importantly she wanted people to know she loved them. The church was crammed full at her funeral, and every person there 
believed in their heart that she loved them the most.  She loved in a way that made you feel 
like you were the most important person in the world.

Fern loved Anne of Green Gables! I think in her heart she believed, like many Canadian girls, that she was Anne. A friend of hers told me the story of their trip to Prince Edward Island, which included a tour of Anne Shirley’s house. When Fern walked into the house she was overwhelmed and started crying. Her friend, in her delightful practicality said, “I don’t know why she was crying. Anne wasn’t even a real person!” 
Anne’s story was so precious to Fern that she became real. That’s the beauty of stories. 
They tell the truth, and sometimes they use facts.

How many tributes does a person get? Fern’s friends were songwriters, they wrote songs for her. The women of Fern’s family each wear a new fern tattoo. “Delta Dawn” will be forever devoted to her. Her friends now greet each other with a kiss on the mouth, so that she is always included. And as I stand on 

Rosebud Theatre's Opera House stage this summer, 
I will offer Anne as another tribute to her."

Cassia Schramm