As we covered yesterday, not about knots. Onward with the navel-gazing.
‘Who am I?’ is truly the more iterative looping question. Though what I’m trying to get at is less existential than that, more like ‘Why am I doing theatre?’ Followed by, ‘Okay so how should I do theatre?’
I concluded yesterday that I do theatre because I have to. I believe in it; find it necessary, vital, aspirational, challenging and useful. A combination I which his endlessly appealing to me.
So how do I do theatre? To a certain extent the Carnegie Hall punchline ‘practice, practice, practice’ is applicable here, but what you’re practicing is much broader. To do theatre one should: read plays, go to plays, work on plays in both their unaccustomed and preferred roles, read theatre criticism, engage with people who do theatre in ways you’ve never imagined, train your body, and voice, and tune your whole being as a giant sensory recorder. I guarantee you will need to conjure up the memory of the most unexpected or banal sensations in the course of doing theatrical work. And of course you should try to get as much experience in your subspecialty as you can.
For me the subspecialties are actor, director, manager, writer in alphabetical order. Quadruple threat! Polymath! Jill of all trades? Maybe, but it’s hard to tell. My preferred roles are writer and director. But because of the other needs of my life (a woman cannot live on creative inspiration alone, though I bet I could light my house with mine) it’s hard to do any of my subspecialties consistently. So I sometimes (like now) grow impatient with the pace of my own improvement, and the limited opportunities to develop or express myself.
Instead of figuring out what show to do, I am figuring out how to configure my life to allow myself more space for my creative soul. So the answer is, too early to choose. Those bursts of fire under new ideas and urges to run hard in a specific new direction are excellent. I should cherish and nurture them. And follow them until a strong gust blows the flames out or I stumble, out of breath from the effort. Because if it’s necessary you go until you get there, understanding that getting there isn’t the important part.
Yeah, okay. That’s not where I thought I was going. But the sun is shining and that’s where I went on this blue-eyed sky winter afternoon. Until I angst again.