Wednesday, October 2, 2013

as He unfolds the rose

Whether you speak to one person or to many—you are speaking to the world.
--Anton Juan


I hoisted up my five bags that I had been dragging along with me, and I plopped them down in a chair in the black box theatre where I have spent 95% of senior year.
Home, my heart sighed, before I had time to correct it.
Right on its heels, someone laughed: "Do you live in this theatre, Renée? You're always here."
Whoops.

And so I sit here, learning to let go a little bit.
Trying to catch my breath before the great plunge.
I am directing a show. (Come see it.)
Which means that there are week-long gaps between little half-entries in my journal,
which means that my diet has consisted mostly of chocolate for the past six weeks,
which means that my world has been completely soaked, submerged, saturated in this kaleidoscope world that we have gotten to call home for the past month or two.

So, for a certain stretch of time right before the show opens, it is incumbent upon a director to be extremely picky.
Everything that is not 100% correct is question, critiqued, fiddled with, and examined (and double-examined).
But then, there comes this magical moment, which I just experienced this morning at 10:13am.
Where I found myself detaching myself a bit from this little piece of my soul. (As I type this, I feel like I'm making this show sound like a Harry-Potterian horcrux. Maybe it is, in a way.)
I start to imagine what life will be without breathing, thinking, constantly dwelling in this world inhabited by three ridiculous and intelligent women and one very versatile gentleman.
My mind has been filled with Fanny, Mary, and Alexandra, and their magical little Terra Incognitas filled with Grovers, Alphonses, and Mr. Coffees.
I must confess, I find myself a little trepidatious about what life looks beyond them, without them.

But in those moments, the fact that they are living, breathing human beings completely outside of me, bringing to life what I have only seen in my head in a way that only they could helps me to take a step back. I look at what is in front of me, not as my creation, but as something that belongs to them, to all those who made it; to those who took it upon themselves that story in some way.

I find myself being delighted when I find parts of my ephemeral vision have become so precisely incarnated on the stage, and being surprised by joy through moments I could never have conceived.
The director, right before opening transforms from a critic to a lover.
I remember the moment I first read the story and was utterly enchanted.
I remove the critical, precise scales from my eyes, and remember that first enchantment.
An enchantment that I set in motion, but whose magic is worked by others.
And I find myself falling in love with these people, with this story all over again.
It has become something I could have never have found on my own.
And that's the very part of theatre I live for--when an actor says: what if we do it this way; why did you tell us to do it that way?; what if we did this instead? And then you get to say the happiest three words in the universe:
I was wrong.
You are right.
Art is much more fun when you get to be wrong once in a while.
And then a moment is created that is something you never could have made happen on your own.
And that is the moment I live for.
When I can let go and watch beautiful people tell a story that they have taken into themselves--the story has become a part of them, or they are a part of the story. 
I'm never sure which way it goes.
And that's the phrase that I too glibly toss around: theatre magic.
So I just sit back and watch them shine, and I delight in it.

What comes next? I have no idea! Many mysteries to come.
I am on the verge.
--On the Verge, Eric Overmyer

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