What a week! Dare I say I spent the last seven days pioneering a new way of making theatre? I love living in the future!
Directors Lisa Szolovits, Wolfgang Wachalovsky and I met at Directors Lab West in May 2012. Having known each other a grand total of four days, we began to make plans to collaborate on a piece together, brainstorming around themes, stories, and new forms that would allow three directors to collaborate. This could have been a summer camp romance, a strong connection in a special, intense environment, followed by half-hearted promises to keep in touch. But since May, we met at least monthly via Google+ Hangout to keep talking about how we might make some theatre together. We researched residency programs and applied for a couple of small grants (which we didn’t get). We considered multiple scenarios for how to create a laboratory to test our ideas. We recruited some fantastically adventurous actors. And this week, we transformed our apartments into ad-hoc scenic designs, our laptops and iPhones into movie cameras, and the Internet into the new “Empty Space,” just waiting for someone to walk across it while someone else is watching to engage an act of theatre. (Peter Brook)
This week’s experiment sprang from questions about how three directors can collaborate on one piece; often directors are the only one of their kind in the rehearsal room, or else we’re working alongside other directors in a festival of short works, together but separate, under the curative eye of an artistic director. So one goal of the experiment was to see how we three could work together. We initially envisioned bringing Lisa and her team out from New York, and meeting up in the Bay Area with Wolfgang’s Oakland collaborators and my San Francisco ensemble, renting a theatre space and training together to develop an Exquisite Corpse methodology inspired by victorian parlor games in which players draw the head, body, and feet of a monster without being able to see what the others have drawn. Parisian Surrealists in the 1930s adopted different versions of the game using both images and language; their first word game yielded the phrase “the exquisite corpse will drink the young wine” (in French). Fast forward to May 2012, at the Directors Lab, where we wondered, what would it be like to devise a piece of theatre, only being able to see a few moments of what the others have created?
A lack of material and financial resources made us consider how we could keep working virtually, in our own cities, without springing for plane tickets or taking too much time off from our day jobs. We’ve been meeting online; why can’t we rehearse online? Why can’t we perform online? The experiment morphed to focus on the possibilities of live performance via Google+ Hangout, and within that frame, thinking about ways we could connect three pieces to feel like one whole. With such an ambitious form, we decided to make the content a fixed, known quantity; maybe working from the same source material would mean that the three pieces had the same “dramatic DNA.” We chose an episode of Doctor Who, and each of us claimed the beginning, middle, or end to translate onto our laptop screens in any way we wanted. Deliberately leaving style and tools to the discretion of each director, we ended up with three vastly different pieces to present at our mid-week showing. We shared techniques and called out strong images that could begin to tie the pieces together across our vastly different interpretations of the source material. Back in our individual ensembles, we rehearsed a second iteration of each piece, incorporating ideas from the pieces we’d seen at the first showing. To end the lab, we shared again, each piece making even more ambitious attempts to push the technology and find out what we can do.
We learned a lot this week about what Google+ Hangout can do, how to use different cameras and angles, black-and-white effects, strong POV choices, music and sound, chat functions, and even silly hats on Google Effects. We pulled together anything lying around that seemed useful, just like kids putting on a play in our back yards. Only now instead of grabbing a broom handle to stand in for a sword and pretending a treehouse was a castle, we grabbed an iPhone to stand in for a video camera and pretended my bathroom was a prison cell. We made some props. We put down spike marks on my kitchen floor where the laptop needed to be set up, and marked out where the actors could stand and still be in frame. I downloaded an app that made my webcam broadcast in black and white, and set up a laptop on the highest shelf of a cupboard, to look like a security camera feed. New tools plus old-school resourcefulness became a pretty powerful combination.
What’s next? There’s more to learn about how these pieces connect, and how our ensembles can connect within one larger work. There’s more to learn about how to interact with audiences over this medium. There’s definitely more to learn about glitch-reduction! Lisa and Wolfgang and I are regrouping this week to talk about a second laboratory and how to proceed with making a piece of theatre in this new form. In the meantime, I’m walking around totally jazzed about the possibilities and new techniques to be discovered and refined.
(and oh yeah, I start rehearsals for The Helen Project a week from tonight.)
A huge round of applause for my collaborators: directors Lisa Szolovits and Wolfgang Wachalovsky; actors Misti Rae Boettiger, Siobhan Marie Doherty, Adam Sussman in San Francisco; Maria Paz Alegre, Max Reuben, and Elly Smokler in New York; and Stephanie DeMott in Oakland. And a special thank you to our first-ever audience members Rebecca Longworth and Marilee Talkington, who tuned in on Sunday to our glitches and wild stabs in the digital darkness.
Better to be ignorant, to go into the future as into
a long tunnel, without ball of yarn or clear direction,
to tiptoe forward like any fool or saint or hero,
jumpy, full of second thoughts, and bravely unprepared.
–Theseus within the Labyrinth by Stephen Dobyns
It’s been a while since I last gushed about the sublime insanity of collaborating with Megan Cohen on The Helen Project. We’ve been pretty busy gearing up for our developmental workshop at DIVAfest this May. In the last couple of months, we’ve revised our notion of who/when our five Helens are, tried out a few different approaches to performance styles with some delightfully adventurous women in an Actor Laboratory Day, had some epic meetings with our fabulous dramaturg Maura Halloran, thrown out entire sections of text that won’t fit in this iteration of the piece (with a greater sympathy for others who have tried to tame this unwieldy story before us – and with every intention of coming back to that mess of complexity in the post-workshop editing phase), cast five superb actors Misti Rae Boettiger, Sarah Moser, Ariane Owens, Roneet Aliza Rahamim, and Lily Yang, found a wonderful stage manager Julianne Fawsitt, scheduled rehearsals, taken some press photos at the Palace of Fine Arts between rain drops… and we’ve drunk a lot of tea. Tea is essential to our process.
Any one of those things could be an entire blog post. But in the interest of writing a current update ever again, that glossy summary is all you get. You can find more info on the Helen page of the DIVAfest website.
This photo is from a two-day intensive in the middle of February. Megan and I spent the entire weekend laying out more than a hundred fragments of text, one Helen at a time, putting 2-3 pieces together (and sometimes 8) into one larger piece that would be trimmed and reworked into something a larger. The goal was to reduce the number of movable parts in the Build-Your-Own-Helen Play Kit – and also to get the repetition of ideas under control. And also to remember what the hell we’d written over the last three years. Three years, you guys.
From there, we divvied up pieces that each of us would edit, and put those in the hands of actors for a few hours at our Laboratory Day. In three groups, we tried out different staging ideas, different rules of Helen’s world: can she hear the other Helens? Is she truly alone and isolated? Can each version of Helen only hear the Helens in her past? We learned a lot about our text, how long we want to listen to one person talking, how each Helen’s voice and perspective is different, and how The Face might start to fit into this world. Very special thanks to everyone who loaned us their brains and hearts that day: El Beh, Misti Rae Boettiger, Kirsten Broadbear, Fontana Butterfield, Siobhan Marie Doherty, Maura Halloran, Allene Hebert, Heather Kellog, Luna Malbroux, Rami Margon, Ariane Owens, Annie Paladino, Roneet Aliza Rahamim, and Lily Yang.
Following the Laboratory, we’ve had some incredible dramaturgical meetings, rethinking the entire editing process (you take Helen 3 and 4, I’ll take Helen 2 and 5, see you in a couple of weeks), and taking a stab at building a trial edition of the Play Kit with post-it notes on Maura’s living room wall. (Frequent readers: I bet you could make up a drinking game with this blog and how many times I mention post-it notes. Enough times to give them their own tag, but that would make the game too easy.)
And now, with less than a month before we start rehearsals, what’s next? Burning through the rest of the editing, putting together a grab bag of found text fragments for The Face, hypothesizing some rules for the Kit, and building the First Edition of the text for the May 10 & 11 performances. Plus, starting this weekend, bouncing over to something completely different for a week: an experiment in how to make live theatre online via Google+ Hangout with local collaborators and an ensemble in New York City. Because why would I try out ridiculously complicated new ways of making a play just one at a time?
Megan and I are getting pretty excited about our upcoming workshop of The Helen Project at DIVAfest this May! One of the many things on our to-do list – along with assembling our creative team, budgeting, brainstorming on the form and functionality of the “online interactive CyberJourney” and you know, continuing to write, edit, and create rules for the Play Kit – is figuring out how to talk to “real people” about the piece. Having begun work on this sucker nearly three years ago, it’s a real mental stretch to read our descriptions as if we know nothing about The Helen Project.
Last night, we sat in a Mission cafe for three long hours (no kidding) and came up with three very short paragraphs that explain what the heck we’re doing. It was exhausting and invigorating; we’ve come such a long way with Helen and it feels so satisfying to really get down to the essence of what the piece is becoming.
Nearly a year ago, I wrote a blog post using the image of a disco ball to describe our process of “collecting little bits that reflect something interesting, and sooner or later hoping it will assemble itself into a shape.” Last night, we picked up and discarded a number of similarly visual metaphors: portraits, mosaics, snapshots in an attempt to get “the whole picture” of who Helen is.
Finally we stumbled over the image of a kaleidoscope, and (after looking up how to spell it), everything clicked into place. I love this new image; it conjures a playfulness and curiosity along with a very directed view through lenses and mirrors. It honors the complexity and sophistication of the structure of the piece, as well as its randomness. Best of all, it captures the ever-changing view of Helen as the kaleidoscope turns. And for bonus points, the word is Greek, meaning “beautiful form to see.”
Interestingly, both disco balls and kaleidoscopes are basically cleverly-arranged mirrors – which has a lot in common with theatre, in a way. (read more about how kaleidoscopes work)
Here’s the new description:
The Helen Project zooms in and out of the bedroom and the mind of the most beautiful woman in the world. Creators Megan Cohen and Amy Clare Tasker will test their new Build-Your-Own-Helen Play Kit, constructing two different editions of the modular text to be performed over two weekends at DIVAfest.
Images of Helen from Homer and Goethe, from modern poetry, and even ripped from the headlines of our contemporary tabloids turn in a kaleidoscope of original and found text. We glimpse fleeting portraits of this mythic woman as each edition twists the mirrors to reflect a new Helen.
Like the text, Helen herself is fragmented. Five women – all Helen – crowd a bedroom, each making a decision that will change her life. Five Helens look into a mirror, asking, “is this the face that launched a thousand ships?”
2012 has been a year of fragmentation, as I rearranged my life with a new job and new theatrical communities.
I’ve realized, too, that my artistic work has been in fragments lately:
- Since February, Megan Cohen and I have been putting together our “Build Your Own Helen Play Kit,” made of fragments of identity, narrative, history, feminism, and epic poetry. (Check it out in May 2013 at DIVAfest!)
- From June to November, The Strindberg Cycle kept me hopping among five plays that were part of a greater whole. Yes, I was astonished to discover that something so mammoth could also be fragmented.
- In August, I worked with The Collaboratory to devise a new physical-theatre piece inspired by Lorca’s Yerma. The ensemble highlighted moments and ideas that appealed to them, and I took it all home to (re)arrange the script with some measure of cohesion out of those responses.
- My play Phoebe & Theia was read last week at the SF Olympians Festival, structured around the Titans’ mythical fall to Tartarus. According to Hesiod, a bronze anvil falling from heaven would fall nine days before it reached the earth. The anvil would take nine more days to fall from earth to Tartarus. So the play was written in 18 fragments – and my writing process was fragmented, too, sneaking in an hour here and there between work and rehearsal for most of the last 5 months.
- This week, I am directing for the One Minute Play Festival. I’ve got 10 plays to put together and cast however I please – it’s like a mini repertory project, and so fascinating to see how the plays resonate with each other, even though their authors may never have even met. My 10 plays are part of the larger festival, presenting 70 one-minute plays in one evening of theatre. Dominic D’Andrea, OMPF’s artistic director, describes the performance as 70 “pulses” of moments, brief windows into other worlds. The festival aims to reflect what is happening in the local theatre community here and now.
And now, at the end of 2012, I am doing what many news organizations and radio stations are doing: looking back on the last 12 months/52 weeks/365 days/525,600 minutes and trying to see those fragmented moments as somehow part of a larger whole, trying to find some cohesion in the chaos. Here in the age of Twitter, Google calendar, and compartmentalization, we all have too many balls in the air, we’re taught to break a problem into smaller parts to better see its solution, and we are living fragment to fragment.
Though I didn’t set out to respond to this phenomenon, I’m pretty pleased to discover this thread running through my work. As my delightful collaborators Annie Paladino and Megan Cohen put it last night, it’s “zeitgeisty.”
For the last five weeks, I’ve been working with The Collaboratory to devise a new physical theatre piece based on Federico García Lorca’s poem-play, Yerma. We’ve been experimenting as much with our process as with the piece itself, reinventing how we work together virtually every time we walk into the rehearsal room.
The Collaboratory (Emlyn Guiney, Maria Leigh, Erin Maxon) have a deeply-shared aesthetic and solid working vocabulary, born of a year’s worth of training, reading, theatre-going, and devising together. With The Collaboratory and our adventurous cast (Hannah Gaff, Marilet Martinez, Liz Wand), I have been stretching my own aesthetic and practices to embrace The Collaboratory’s dynamic physical performance style and a new creation process, and to further explore what it means to be a director of collaborative new work.
One of our process experiments was setting up some early rehearsals with just the ensemble, sans director. As difficult as that was for me, to try to catch up the next day and respond to what the ensemble had generated in my absence, it gave the cast an opportunity to try out ideas without the pressure of a director’s judgment in the room and also fostered an atmosphere of each actor taking responsibility for and having agency over her character choices.
Lily Janiak picked up on this atmosphere when she visited our rehearsal last week for an SF Weekly feature:
“In rehearsal, director Tasker functions less as the decider and more as an outside eye, letting the ensemble know how their ideas look and offering some guidance but ceding ultimate power to the collective.”
I’ve had many discussions with other directors and collaborators about power, ego, and vision. Often we talk about power and decision-making in two extremes: dictatorship vs democracy. Neither analogy is particularly useful to me; I’m not Tsar Director and I’m not President of the Rehearsal Republic either. We’re neither voting on character choices nor enforcing design decisions with martial law. Yes, there are times, even in the most collaborative process when the director decides “you stand there and do that.” And of course, there are times in the most hierarchical process when the director actively solicits contributions from writers, actors, designers. No matter what process I’ve adopted for any particular piece, “the best idea in the room wins,” whether it comes from my own brain or someone else’s, or if – best of all – at the end of the day, we can’t remember whose idea it was.
The truth is, no director wants to make every decision that goes into a performance. I need the brain and gut inside each of my actors to make impulsive choices that feed the artist and inform the piece. If I were to “direct” by insisting on controlling every decision, we’d have about five minutes of theatre to show you this weekend, and I might as well have spent the last month rehearsing a solo marionette show. (Which is not to say that puppet theatre can’t be completely enthralling – it just doesn’t take into account the artistic impulses of the puppets.) But if the ensemble is collectively making artistic decisions – if I’m ceding my ultimate power – how do I earn the title “director?”
For Dirty Laundry, while the ensemble focused on developing individual characters, backstories, and relationships, I took on the big picture of how the action moves along, what storylines are highlighted, and the emotional arc of the piece. With input from the ensemble, I compiled the lines that resonated for each character into a performance text that laid out exactly what words we would say and in what order. I’m counting on the cast to tell me and show me what it feels like “inside” the piece, while I pay attention to what it looks like “outside” the piece. Together, we brainstormed and refined a “dramatic question,” Anne Bogart’s term for the central idea, or thesis, of a devised work. Measuring all our choices against the rubric of “does this action/line/movement support our exploration of the dramatic question?” provides an ego-less way to focus our choices and force us to choose the material that thematically belongs in in the piece. It also gives us more concrete and repeatable rules for creating and honing new material than if the focusing criterion was “whatever the director wants.”
Because here’s the truth: if I knew exactly “what I wanted” before I stepped into the rehearsal room, the whole thing would be very boring. For me, rehearsal is about finding what’s interesting and inspiring about the piece, supporting my collaborators as they dig into the challenges of their roles, responding impulsively to what lights me up, and telling the truth about what I’m seeing, hearing, and feeling onstage. The exact location on the spectra of vision, power, and collective decision-making varies from project to project; wherever we ultimately landed with Dirty Laundry, I know it kept me on my toes.
I’ve been doing some image research, looking at neo-classical representations of Helen, and today I came across this:
“According to the Roman author Pliny, the ancient Greek painter Zeuxis could not find a woman beautiful enough to represent Helen of Troy, the archetype of the feminine beauty, so he picked the best features of five virgins to compose the most ideal image of beauty.” Thanks to the blog Sedef’s Corner, which hosts what seems to be the only digital image of this painting readily available on all the Internets.
WHAT! That is a lot like what Megan and I are doing, or maybe it’s the inverse of what we’re doing – constructing a new vision of Helen by drawing on five different aspects of the character and personifying them in the bodies, minds, and mouths of five real women.
Fast forward a couple of millenia to 1778, when Swiss painter Angelica Kauffman created this image of the painter Zeuxis measuring and dissecting his five models, picking apart their best features to construct his own Helen of Troy. My favorite part of Kauffman’s version is that one of the models has taken up a brush and is about to sneakily render her own version of Helen. (Take that, patriarchy!)
I’m blown away by the power of collective consciousness – it’s amazing that thousands of years ago, Zuexis could have the idea to construct an aesthetic (if objectifying) ideal out of the best parts of women, and that 234 years ago Angelica Kauffman could have the idea to comment on that construction, and that right now this minute Megan and I are having ideas about constructing a new reality out of that ancient ideal, and/or a new ideal out of reimagining Helen’s reality… I can’t wait to see what happens when we get our build-your-own Helen up on the Internet for the world to construct with us!
I’m back from Directors Lab West! Helen of Troy is back! My days of hyper-dreaming with the brilliant Megan Cohen are back!
Every Saturday in June, Megan and I are back in our strange, surreal Helen-land, in which all things are possible and we’re going to take over the world. No kidding, it’s true. I am constantly amazed by how productive we are without even the hint of a roadmap. We met up for a delicious brunch on Saturday morning (inspiration covered in ketchup is the very best kind of inspiration), and by the time we’d finished our eggs, we had figured out a radical model of sharing this crazy new play so that director-dramaturgs of future productions would be constructing Helen just as much as we are, with our disco-ball moments organized into specific fragmented versions of Helen that can be played by 1 to 100 actors. Instead of publishing a script, we’ll make the construct-your-own-Helen-of-Troy PLAY KIT available online under a creative commons license. Every time I turn around, this thing gets even more out-of-the-box. I am so jazzed!
When we finished our tea and coffee, then we really got down to business. We never have a “plan,” but just asking “okay, what’s next” generates hours of incredible productivity. Between 11AM and 6PM, we reinvented our producing and publishing model, brainstormed on the online interactive component of the piece, dreamt about a 3-city simultaneous world premiere (12PM San Francisco, 3PM New York, 8PM London, all the time online everywhere oh my gods), and waded through about half of the 170 little bits of disco-ball text we’ve generated, beginning to structure the script into these 5 fragmented Helen characters (oh yeah, which we also defined that afternoon).
Who knows what we’re doing next time, but I bet it will be revolutionary.
Also coming up:
- Dirty Laundry, a coproduction between Inkblot Ensemble and The Collaboratory. I’m directing this devised physical theater piece based on Federico García Lorca’s laundrywomen scene in Yerma, exploring themes of gossip, cycles, clean & dirty, sin & purity, and women’s work. August 10 & 11 work in progress performances at the EXIT Theatre.
- Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Repertory at The Cutting Ball Theater. I’m assistant directing these five plays (Storm, Burned House, Ghost Sonata, Pelican, The Black Glove) under Artistic Director Rob Melrose. We’re workshopping the new translations by Paul Walsh this June/July in RISK IS THIS…The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival, and you can catch the full production in October and November. This will be the first time the five Chamber Plays have been produced together in any language, including their original Swedish.
- The San Francisco Olympians Festival is coming this December to the EXIT Theatre. If that feels far away, you can catch a few snippets on Friday, June 15 at Booksmith, where we’ll be celebrating the book launch of five published plays from the first year of the Olympians Festival. I’m writing a one-act about Phoebe & Theia, the Titan goddesses of light, and I’ll be directing Barbara Jwanouskos’ take on Hera later in the festival, too.
Looking back on my Day 5 post on endurance, I have to laugh. Back then, I thought I was pretty tired. Ah, youth.
Day 7 began with a bang; Indy Convergence visited us to give a crash course in their process of bringing artists together to explore and share ideas. They run a 2-week residency program in which each artist brings a project to work on and teams up with other participants with similar interests to get started. There are some great personal accounts on their “flash blog” on the home page. One thing you can’t tell from the website is how kind, generous, and open these lovely people are, and yet, with each artist driving the project she or he is passionate about, they do achieve rigor in the safe space (related post). It feels different in a 2-hour workshop, of course, because we’re being guided through exercises rather than doing “our own work.” But one thing that can be achieved in that short time is creating a free-to-fail mindset. Cindy Marie Jenkins, one of the steering committee members of DLW and a recent participant in Indy Convergence told us, “I never ever feel like I’m in my comfort zone, but I always feel safe.” When we broke into groups, I ended up performing in a piece of physical theater, and I didn’t even realize until later that I hadn’t felt self-conscious at all.
In the afternoon, we introduced ourselves to our fellow lab participants. It sounds weird, I know, because we’ve been here a week and we know each other’s names by now. But interestingly, the fact that we all knew each other a little bit made it a much more digestible, personal, and honest. I tried not to repeat things that I had said at the bar, and I was able to focus on my fellow lab participants without taking furious notes or trying desperately to memorize their names. With each of us allowed 3 minutes to talk, it took nearly 3 hours to go around the circle, which is tiring in a different way than unexpectedly ending up in a physical theater piece.
What will probably stick with me most about Day 7 is the performance of Crescent City: A Hyperopera, the debut production of a new opera company called The Industry. It was wild, inventive, imaginative, challenging, exhausting, controversial, gritty, physical, beautiful, jagged, perplexing… but as I’ve said before, I’m not writing reviews here. The performance takes place in a warehouse, filled with 6 installations by visual artists which make up the various locations for the story. The audience sits in a 3/4 thrust around these installations… and also on a high platform on the 4th side of the warehouse, and also on beanbags in the installation of a drag queen’s performance space, and also some of us got to be “pedestrians” and walk around the 3/4 thrust as we pleased. (This walking and standing for 2 1/2 hours is part of why the piece is exhausting. But to be fair, I was already exhausted.) Live video feed onto four screens in the space solved the issue of not being able to see into an installation that was across the room or blocked by other scenic elements, as well as providing a place for supertitles. By the end, I had figured out that if I couldn’t see, I could move.
Oh, rules! They were being broken everywhere last night. For example, one piece of advice from a founding artistic director this week was something along the lines of “Don’t try to knock it out of the park with your first show. Stick to something you know how to do.” Director Yuval Sharon said in the talkback yesterday that for Crescent City, “the road map was to figure out that there wasn’t one; the road map only goes day by day.” So you could do what you know, or, well, you could do a hyperopera.
After our break-neck day on Wednesday, I was so glad to leave my car in one spot from 9:45AM to after midnight. There was a lot less running around in the Thursday Lab sessions, too: we began the day with a round table discussion; saw some site-specific theater in parked cars after lunch (The Car Plays); heard about social media and the press from a very frank and entertaining panel; had a luxuriously long 2-hour dinner break (in which there was time both to eat and to give a Twitter tutorial); and then saw The Children, a new play inspired by Medea at the Theatre @ Boston Court, followed by a talkback with the director and the literary manager, which was finished with plenty of time to hit the bar and continue conversations from the day, then fall into bed around 1AM. So that’s what I mean by a quieter day at Directors Lab West.
One of the great things about spending so much time with these lovely, passionate people and all our ideas is that we’re figuring things out very quickly. In yesterday’s post, I made a glib promise to let you know when I’d figured out the secret to collaboration… Well, are you ready?
Okay, actually, dial down those expectations for a minute while I say, of course I haven’t uncovered the secret to collaborative work, because there isn’t one, and because every collaborative process is different for a different group of artists. But out of our roundtable discussion yesterday morning, I jotted down some interesting and insightful thoughts from the collective Lab Brain, and started making some of my own connections. Here are the highlights:
- One: “Instead of “demand,” “seduce” your collaborators.” Two: ”Instead of “seduce,” “inspire.” Me: there are a lot of action words we can use here, like “invite,” and “encourage,” and I absolutely do believe that we should be kind and gentle with each other. That has always been very important to my process. But…
- What is the balance between creating a safe space for exploration and creating a rigorous environment for our work? How to we energize the safe space; how do we challenge each other without shutting down the collaborative energy?
- “Directors must dare to fail first, to set an example of risk and freedom.”
- Directing collaboratively is “upholding something with an open hand.” Ask yourself what do you think you need to control, and try to let that go. It won’t always be the right thing; experiment.
- “Say ‘I don’t know’ as much as possible; for a play to make sense to the people onstage, actors must be seduced into creating the logic of the world.”
- “Democracy without knowledge doesn’t work.” Devising fails when each person doesn’t bring their skills, know what they’re doing, do their job well. A director in devised work provides a central idea for actors to build their own worlds onto. Everyone has to do their research.
- Maybe it’s about finding the people who also come at things 1,000% and can match my intensity. Maybe it’s OK that I am “too intense” for some.
It’s hard to believe that we have just today and tomorrow left of the Lab! Coming up today, we’ve got a couple of hours with Indy Convergence this morning, a picnic lunch in the courtyard of the Playhouse, a 3-hour mystery session entitled “Who the hell are you?”, a couple of hours with Michael John Garces of Cornerstone Theatre, and Crescent City: A Hyperopera this evening. As I have all week, I’m not letting myself think more than one day ahead. Being present for what is happening right now is about all I can handle. So bring it on, Friday!