You cannot hide; your growth as an artist is not separate from your growth as a human being: it is all visible.
Photo by Stephen Henry
Sometimes I feel as though I am doing exactly what I should be doing: telling important stories to the best of my ability...
Presently we are creating (each evening and two or three matinees a week) a story based on The Heroes Journey: The Wider Earth at Queensland Theatre Company, co-produced by QTC and Dead Puppets Society led by Dr. David Morton-Paine and Nicholas Morton-Paine, two of the most vibrant and alive theatre makers from Brisbane, and based in NYC.
Photo by Dylan Evans
We all want to be heroes, or heroines, and here is a story that helps us closer to that goal: What have I learned from the characters I play (and I play three) and the puppets I operate? I am a great believer that reflection on what we are engaging with makes us better artists:
The practitioner allows himself to experience surprise, puzzlement, or confusion in a situation which he finds uncertain or unique. He reflects on the phenomenon before him, and on the prior understandings which have been implicit in his behaviour. He carries out an experiment which serves to generate both a new understanding of the phenomenon and a change in the situation. (Schon, 1983, p. 68)
As I reflect, I find myself far more curious and engaged in the apparent ordinariness of the moment... I am constantly asking myself questions such as "What if I were this barrel I am pushing?" (as "Bill Cochrane" pushes a barrel on stage) or "What if these were the last words that Charles Darwin will ever hear?" (Sir John Herschell, whose role is to convince Darwin to continue with his astonishing ideas that the Laws of Nature could in fact be the Laws of God).
Questions such as "How do the physical actions that I engage with reflect the deeper story?" and "How can the simplest action grow the metaphor of the story that we are telling?" These are serious and important questions I ask myself each evening as I concentrate on the play, moment by moment. In other words there are several of me at work at the same time: the performer, who is doing the choreography, the interrogator who is making sure that everything done on stage has integrity and adds to the spine of the play, and the one in third position, the one who stands outside of the performer, constantly alert to what is happening around the scene at hand.
Sometimes storytelling is the most wonderful act of service:
Photo by Cass Kowitz
In the theatre we reach out and touch the past through literature, history and memory so that we might receive and relive significant and relevant human qualities in the present and then pass them on to future generations.