I need more training. Embedded in that statement is the desire to grow, and the curiosity to ask questions and challenge my present assumptions about what it is to make theatre. When I think about how and why I created Single Carrot, it was mainly for practical reasons–very little of it was because I had something specific I wanted to use theatre to say. Over the course of the last four seasons at Single Carrot, I’ve used my directing opportunities to do plays that spoke to me–that interested and fascinated me and the ensemble, and hopefully they spoke to the audience, too. But I didn’t have something I needed to tell the world. I let the playwright do that part, and I tried to present the playwright’s work to Baltimore in the 20 x 45 foot blackbox that is Single Carrot’s theatre. The discoveries were immense, and I’ve had to opportunity to present some of the strongest and most important voices (living and dead) in theatre–Shakespeare and Ibsen, to Kane and Eno. I’ve learned a lot about building ensemble, about presenting truth onstage, about asking for more. Most importantly, I’ve learned that finding buried treasure is only possible collaboratively.
Theatre changes lives. I’m living proof. I was headed one way, and theatre came in and took me another. It isn’t the desire to be famous, or any like that which inspired me to do theatre–it is because theatre has the ability to change lives. That’s an amazing thing. I’m not saying it has to change lives, or that it has to take over lives, but it can shift us, shape us, and show us things outside and inside ourselves. The ability to watch people in a live setting explore the gamut of humanity allows the audience to safely make sense of the most confusing conundrum of all–existence. Like Arthur and Excalibur, the power to transform is a huge responsibility, and I want to be part of it.
The theatre I love to create is about transformation. And magic. With a touch of deep spirituality, commitment to impossible questions, and, of course, love. And stories masterfully told. The artists I love to work with are those who are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually adventurous. My favorite audiences are those eager to set off on a journey. Affluence should not be a necessity for access to the journey. Anyone who is willing to walk into a room as one person, and walk out of the room changed into another should be able to. The theatre demands people who are capable of living in the moment–even if it’s only for a moment. Theatres must both invite people in, and go to them.
I have these influences I need to bring together in my mind, so that it’s more clear how we’re going to say what it is we wish to say. Over the next part of 2011, my study is going to be dedicated to exploring them.
Here they are:
First, I was reading a dissertation on Philip Arnoult’s Theatre Project, which talked about his influences, which has influenced me to write my influences. Plus, there was a lovely quote from the writer of the dissertation, Benjamin Franklin Carney III:
“A theatre not of the marketplace or museum, but rather a theatre springing from the social and psychic life of the people and representing to the community an accessible and necessary expression of self and society.”
Influence and the Corresponding Resource
Jerzy Grotowski –> Eugenio Barba –> Double Edge
Augusto Boal –> Cornerstone and Irondale
Writers and their unique contributions:
One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Glass Bead Game, East of Eden
The magic of Garcia Marquez, the spirituality of Hesse, and the incredible storytelling of Steinbeck.
This feels like a good place to start–these are a lot of things that have deeply challenged and influenced me. Now it is time to pull the pieces together, and to talk about what it is I’ve brought into my own work, and to make sense of who I am as an artist, and this format is as good as any to work it out. So I begin.