Oct 1, 2013

Thinking about the big/little

"That’s the thing you have to understand about the whole process of art (or the work that we do) – you’re only half of the equation. It’s an interaction between you and the person who’s going to experience the work. The person who’s going to experience the work is bringing just as much to it and is just as important as you are."

I listened to a great interview today with writer/artist Austin Kleon. The quote above is a great reminder. I am struggling lately getting the work done. Nothing drastic. Just the usual reach into the recesses of my soul and imagination to see if I can cobble together an original idea. Driving home from my teaching gig just earlier today a whole bunch of thoughts on my theatre activities whirled through my mind. I was thinking about why I do my theatre work, how I want to share it and the connections I hope it makes.

Actually, I've been thinking about my theatre work a lot lately. Part of this is because I've been doing a great deal of theatre lately.

Travis Stuebing and Tashina Richardson in RASPBERRY FIZZ
I've been rehearsing RASPBERRY FIZZ with some kick-ass actors. I'm taking it to the Houston Fringe Festival at the end of the week. As I am directing the play I am reminded by the process that it has been a long time since I have been in a sort of traditional rehearsal process. My eyes go to the details of the performances and I'm torn between what I did a lot in my earlier days (shaping and molding a performance out of an actor) and more recent interests in multiple approaches to acting decisions and an emphasis on spontaneity. It is definitely a workout for some mental muscles I haven't flexed in a while.

RASPBERRY FIZZ is a small play. It is a one-act that times in at under an hour. The process of working on it has emboldened two ideas in me... 1.) I love the size of the play. It is small, close, and intimate. It is not a play to run in a large amphitheatre, but instead would work well in front of a few dozen audience members in a cozy venue. 2.) The size also makes me want to work on something large in scope.  This play is like having an appetizer, and I now want to move on to the main course of a mighty feast.

I realize these are two somewhat opposing ideas... the small and the large. I think, though, this can be reconciled. I think I can create a piece that is truly significant working in weighty, important thematic territory, yet at the same time still keep it very intimate. I think of small-cast heavy-hitters like Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT, Frayn's COPENHAGEN or Stindberg's MISS JULIE. I big/little play. This is what I want to share with audiences. 

I think I know what I'll be doing in 2014...

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