My own EPAC story

By on October 8, 2014

Richard RepkoeWe all have people, places or things in our lives that matter deeply to us. For many it is family or religious beliefs that occupy the top of that list. For others, however, the list of what matters may be off the beaten path. The value placed on these priorities is a very personal and stalwart part of the fabric that defines who we choose to be as human beings. In the end, it is our passion that governs how we spend our time and our personal choices that determine our destiny.
My own passion for the arts has led me to find a place where both my creative passion and my spiritual essence have always felt free and at peace. I speak of course of the Ephrata Performing Arts Center, and it is here where some of the best times of my life have been spent. However, it has also been a place where I have sought solace amongst friends during the darker times in my life.
In 2008, I was diagnosed with melanoma. Having lost my mother to cancer when I was a young man and looking at my life as a new father, I was struggling to deal with the realities that everyone who has been diagnosed with a serious illness must face. I was fortunate at this point in my life to become involved with the EPAC production of The Pillowman. The Pillowman is one of those rare theatrical works that spawns daily conversations about its thematic ambiguity. It was during the rehearsals for this production that I would not only find a special bond with my fellow artists but I would also find a peace of mind and spirit amongst friends.
Night after night after rehearsal the cast and crew would sit to discuss our fascination with the artistic process we were experiencing and our stylistic approach to this unique play. We grew closer as friends, and our conversation began to venture outside of the world of the theater. Some nights we would be laughing so hard that time would stand still; and although exhaustion was present on everyone’s face, we would begrudgingly leave the theater feeling refreshed. These moments of friendship in this thriving artistic environment gave me the strength I needed to face my reality. If not for these special people and these relationships, my own process of physical and emotional healing would have taken much longer.
I have been cancer free for seven years now, and I feel fortunate as so many continue to endure while they seek healing and fight the fight of their lives. I think of my own experience during this time and know that I was blessed. I love the Ephrata Performing Arts Center and what art provides for so many people on so many levels. But more importantly, I appreciate the love and dedication of the many wonderful people who have for me moved EPAC high on my list of what matters in my life.

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