Sunday, April 21, 2019

ASSITEJ International Congress and Festivals: Ruth’s Memories from Montreal

“Nice shirt.”

I looked at the stranger who complimented my Red Sox t-shirt when I arrived at the airport gate to go back home to Boston.  “Nice hat,” I responded noticing his Red Sox baseball cap.  We then proceeded to chat extensively about baseball and the upcoming playoffs.

Typically, I don’t get in conversations with strangers before getting on flights.  I prefer keeping to myself, listening to music or reading a book.  But I had just finished spending time at the International World Congress in Montreal and I was coming from a place where meeting new people and having interesting conversations happened every day.

Some moments from the 2005 Congress that have stuck with me:

  • Running into old friends, and mentors, as well as meeting people that I had just heard of (it’s always great to finally be able to associate names with faces).
  • Finding all the different theatre venues throughout Montreal.  It’s like being on a scavenger hunt or on that reality TV show The Amazing Race.  But I don’t mind too much because I get to see the city and different theatre spaces.  You also meet your fellow congress attendees as you travel together to figure out where you’re going.
  • Sitting in on the actual Congress where I hear speeches by candidates from 22 different countries for the ASSITEJ Executive Committee.
  • Seeing seven shows in five days and learning more about TYA from an international perspective.
  • Quickly building a rapport with others I meet at the Congress.  I think it must have something to do with having the same passion for the work and all being in the same place (because how often do we really all get to see each other in person?).

Although almost 6 years ago, attending the Montreal Congress definitely had a significant impact on my life.  It inspired and invigorated me as I returned to my work.

One last significant Montreal moment:  That stranger I spoke to while waiting for our plane to take off?  I married him 2.5 years ago.

RUTH MERCADO-ZIZZO, Director of Education at Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston, MA

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