The life of a creator can be tough between projects. It can be especially frustrating if you feel like the work you make is dependent on others being around to help you do it. Some days it feels awfully tough to “direct” all alone in my apartment. And on days like this it can feel like my work is dependent on so many factors out of my control to come into being.
I recently had a convo with a friend who was in a slump, feeling down about the announced seasons of most of the local theaters (the perennial “No parts for me” frustration), wishing that could she saw a creative outlet on her horizon. Like I said, I know the feeling. But I also wonder sometimes if we don’t unconsciously do ourselves a disservice thinking this way – giving ourselves an out from really going after what we want. If it’s up to others to determine our creative fate, it’s not our fault if we don’t feel ourselves moving ahead.
This blog is the product of one of those long stretches between rehearsal processes. It was a way for me to put all that energy I had into something even if it wasn’t a show. This space, this writing, has been a reminder that there is a way to keep a practice active and moving even when you can’t work it in exactly the way we might wish. Like taking up rowing after getting a bad sprained ankle. Doing something similar but a little different might mean, as I’ve found, a challenge is also an opportunity to find that one’s output doesn’t have to be so narrowly defined.
In this spirit, I’ll try to share ways that I find to keep the research and performance work alive in these interludes between the work. And to start I’ll share a small theatrical experiment.
This is a walking sound journey. It’s rough, a very first draft, but a style I’ve been really interested in playing with recently. This piece came out of a two day exploration at Headlong’s Dance Theater Camp with Amy Smith on “Experiential Journeys.” The goal was to research how to create experiences that bring people into their environment in new and different ways. I wanted to try a solo experience that integrated the real world with an invented narrative. The way that I feel when I’m walking down the street and the music I’m listening to suddenly, serendipitously, syncs with what I’m seeing around me.
So here’s what you do:
1) Download the two files at this link and put them onto your phone. (Or if you get decent service you can play them online.) Grab some headphones.
2) Go to the northeast corner of Broad and Federal. Stand next to the mailbox.
3) Before you move, orient yourself. For this experiment you will walk east on Federal, take a left on 13th, another left on Elsworth and then a final left onto Broad as you pass the diner. You’ll essentially make a loop around the block and end up back where you started.
3) Start playing the first track. Then go for a walk.
4) When you finish track 1 go back to the mailbox. Start playing the second track and wait until it tells you to “Start walking” and repeat the same path.
That’s it. You’ve just participated in a little work in progress.
Feel free to let me know what you think.