C O M I N G
H O M E
C O M I N G H O M E
Queenslad Academies of Creative Arts Production.
14 November 2015
Those of you who follow my posts and my Facebook page know that my life right now is working with 22 beautiful young artists, directing them in a collaged version of HOME, EVE and HE DREAMED A TRAIN, the plays that make up my Trilogy of Belonging. The entire rehearsal process is very short, having to fit in rehearsals in class time, and then some afternoons and some weekends. Although short, it was been enough time to create a bond between us. These young artists are moving into our industry in a few years and their passion and commitment will stand them in good stead…but I’ve got ahead of myself…one of my major stumbling blocks is speedy thinking. I think too fast for my own good…so…
Many years ago, our family was holidaying at Linderman Island. It had been a big year with no breaks so we decided to visit an island, something we rarely do. We were all walking along the coastline and far off into the sea I saw someone waving. Look, I said to my family, someone is waving at us. Mum that’s not waving. that’s drowning and they sprung into adolescent action, leaving their uninformed parents wondering what had happened. All Good.
Fast forward to now, and I am understanding quite clearly how closely waving and drowning sit to each other especially in the rehearsal room. It seems I move from waving to drowning and back to waving in minutes when I co-devise a scripted piece (I know. How does one devise if its scripted?).
I’m juggling a number of questions:
1. how do I make this experience a powerful one for all the participants and at the same time
2. how do I engage in rigorous visual and aural dramturgy serving the artform?
Sometimes the two things run counter to each other. one wishes to empower the actors yet the material sometimes simply does not fit.
The tasks have been clear. The actors have chosen the passages in the three plays that resonate with them. They have then been invited to ‘dream it on’, sticking as closely to the original as possible. They have made the piece age appropriate and age relevant.
I have loved their work and dedication. The work is strong. Sometimes it moves the story forward. That’s when I feel I’m waving. Sometimes it moves it sideways. That’s when I feel I’m drowning. So much material I think to myself. And not much forward movement. So I cut. And in the process of keeping the work firmly in mind, I can see the decision has hurt my young actors. They so want to do their work. And my red pen is taking it away from them.
So the lessons of collaborative writing are learned. Hard lessons. Painful lessons. And I remind myself, and my actors, to follow Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements:
1. Do not take things personally (this is not about your writing or your acting, it is about the fact that it is not moving the story forward).
2. Do not assume anything (no, you are not a bad writer, you are possibly a brilliant writer but it simply does not fit)
3. Always do your best (and you are. I can see that. And the one or two of you who are struggling right now have permission to do so. It is the adolescent’s role to discover and re-discover where you belong. It may mean you do not do much in the production. I call that ‘life getting in the way’. All good.
4. Use impeccable language (and you do. I love your check in and check outs. Positive and as honest as you dare).