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BLACK HAT SOLO THEATRE

The Story of the Black Hat

Usually the black hat represents the bad guy in a Western, but it has a very different meaning here. When I was twelve years old, I developed a thing for cowboy hats. Why? I’m still not entirely sure. I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There were no cowboys to be found. My first hat was a straw department store knock-off from JCPenney. I liked it. It spent many hours perched on my 70s-winged hairdo.

 

But there was a western wear store in the mall (I shopped in malls back then) that had this gorgeous Black felt Stetson. I wanted that hat. I ached for that hat. After a long string of babysitting gigs, it was mine and I ADORED it! I wore it everywhere I could. I even wore it to school, much to the chagrin of my much more popular friend. She hinted and hinted that I ditch the embarrassing adornment. I didn’t take the hint. One day she announced, “if you keep wearing that hat, I’m not walking to school with you anymore!” My reply? “That’s ok. I know the way to school.”

 

I wore that hat well into high school. It just made me happy. It made me feel like me. With the transition to college in Boston and learning to survive New England winters, earmuffs replaced my black hat.   

It stayed with me in my heart, though. Two decades later, in my first exploration with telling personal stories on stage, my black hat became a symbol for the many times in my life I found myself speaking my truth. Truth speaking has often generated the same level of annoyance and rejection that my black hat generated with my friend. The consequences have been significant. So much so that I tried at several points in my life to wear less controversial hats - to lay low, blend in, keep it to myself. But I realized in each case I was betraying myself. I felt smaller, I felt weaker. That was not a trade-off I was willing to make. It was more painful to stay silent than to speak.

Authenticity matters. When we are able to live as our authentic selves, we are happier and more empowered as people and better able to give back to our communities and our world. Despite the consequences, I feel called to stay true to what I believe and the vision I hold for humanity.  My solo theater work is part of this promise to myself and the world. I have a story to tell. Telling it not only helps me stand in a new and stronger version of myself, it gives others room to explore and step into their own truths. Speaking what’s in my heart makes me happy because it makes me feel like me.

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Black Hat Theatre

Theater has the power to change the world because it has the power to reach deep inside each of us in a way few other mediums can. It creates a space in which we can feel so deeply we question what we’ve often taken for granted. It opens wide our wonder at what else the world has to offer and may even inspire us to seek it. Black Hat Theatre leverages this transformative power by producing works that elevate true stories and marginalized voices to challenge the status quo, help us discover (or rediscover) ourselves, and birth new worlds.

Contact

Find Your Voice

Phone Number: 941-518-5718    /     Email: janice@janicecreneti.com   

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