From Julie Davis About. BARBARA KITE
My longtime acting teacher, mentor, & friend here taught me what a safe space when I was 15 yrs old. She taught me how to swear like a truck driver when I was taught to be quiet & cute instead of empowered. She taught me to tell the truth about my feelings, how to find them in my body, & dump them or include them. Any lie I told myself (like trying to stuff emotions) could be seen & the character then did, too. So I learned how to let go of, shift, or include them. She taught me to value truth over perfection & intimacy over attention.
I learned there was strength in vulnerability. I learned I had to be myself before I could be any other characters — who were layers of who I & humanity had the capacity to be. She taught me what people are capable of. She helped create a way for me to bring the same truth I learned for speaking characters into singing opera & musical theater.
She helped me connect to the core of humanity & the mysterious never ending wonder of the human spirit with our struggles & triumphs. Progress requires embracing failure! Right now, I’m most grateful for how she included me in the monthly potluck brunches she hosted with women leaders in Portland. We sat around a big table sharing our projects & dreams & supporting each to accomplish them. Those women were how I learned how to raise money to go to Italy for the first time in 2006 by holding an art exhibition and recital. I saw what feminism was about and how women empower each other in healthy ways. As I build my own community now, I think of her often. I miss her, too, but she continues supporting me from afar well beyond acting and singing. With my artwork/life all around, she asks herself what she can do & believes we are all here to help or find someone who can.
She taught me to fight for what’s right. She further influenced that by having her/our teen acting class interview holocaust survivors, write, produce, & perform our own play with her direction while giving us ownership in facing what evil meant & what we could do in our lives to stop bigotry & prevent genocide by amplifying the legacies of those who died. Her mother’s horror of being in a concentration camp inspired it. Needless to say, I treasure her. 21 yrs & counting