“I hear he makes you roll in your own shit”
It’s all a little bit much right now.
I’ve sat down in front of the computer every day for the past five days and I have yet to write anything that makes sense. It’s just too much. This might not make sense, might be too much, but you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. I’ll never know.
The impulse to create the narrative of one’s own life as it’s happening is causing my brain to melt and somehow seems to negate the incredible rich and creatively fruitful days I’m having. Day after day after day.
The four days with ‘Doctor Brown’, who I had seen perform in Edinburgh, was like a brilliantly concise and totally mad recap of my month with Philip Gaulier. My will is just as horrible as ever and I still have this terrible idea that I know what is going on, that I can be in control. No. I know nothing. I am made to follow only. He’s right though, I got the best laughs by standing there, standing with nothing more than being myself with the audience, whilst others indulged their most stupid impulses around me. Felt pretty great actually, I got a lot more laughter than when I tried to be stupid. Good lesson that; I’m really not funny when I try. To be fair, to be proud, I did have some very good moments of stupidity for about five minutes all by myself pretending to be a pizza maker. There were actually some fantastic happy sounding noises coming from the direction of the audience. A lot actually. I believe those sounds are called laughter.
Someone turned to Phil, Doctor Brown, during a break and said, You know, I had heard that on your retreat you make people roll around in their own shit. Phil smacks himself in the forehead. People are so stupid. We all laugh.
We’ve definitely all been rolling around in the shit and it stinks to high heaven so we just dive deeper and rub it on our skin and discover to our immense joy that it’s good for our skin. We all go out on the last night and drink a bit too much. Someone chewed off a few of my finger nails. I can’t remember why. Probably just because it was a stupid thing to do. Shitty idea.
The next morning, good grief only yesterday, I wake up long before my alarm clock goes off. Very hungover. Too hungover. Oh no. Blech. Off I go for the Very Last Workshop Before I Have To Go Home. Despite my lack of a fully functioning brain and body it’s a wonderful day.
Two days in and I am confidently back in my director body and the best part is, by some cosmic random act of brilliance, this seems to be a workshop designed to sum up my artistic summer education. All this, with a clear focus on the role of the director in the creative creation process.
Now I am not only rolling in the shit but I am as happy as a pig rolling in said proverbial shit.
There’s just one thing.
I have to go home.
In one week.
All of these wonderful experiences, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned, the discoveries I’ve made, how can they possibly live in the same place that I left so long ago just this past May.
In the room today, with everything we tried and all the conversations we had I could not get a word out of my head. Like a neon sign PRECIOUS kept flashing on and off, on and off. By the end of the day Precious had evolved in my mind to Sacred. Our expectations of How Things Should Be Done and Why are based in this idea of Sacred. We are so precious with our work, with our lives, with our patterns and our habits. Shakespeare is Sacred therefore we dare not play. Frankly, I’m thinking this is shit. The bad kind. This is why I’ve been in rehearsal rooms where actors break down and cry because they are so frustrated and scared. Why companies can insist, Oh no, we won’t do that kind of theatre. Why artists can find themselves surrounded by so many brick walls of Sacred Rituals and Expectations that there is no place for them to breathe, discover, or create…
This isn’t my point.
You must forgive my tired and excited mind. My point, I think, is that I was living a very precious life. I was living with a lot of fear and a ridiculously, impossibly, high bar of expectations set for myself. There was no true notion of a journey, of an ongoing exploration, rather there was an idea and a fantasy that what I would do would be incredible or nothing at all. It would have to be great. Different. Exciting. All the things one can dream about but forgetting the in between. The work. The research. The development. The propositions. The experiments. The discoveries. The curve balls. The pleasure of it all.
To allow the freedom of the self from the pressure of success. To dive in to the shit and risk being bad.
I keep saying, I don’t want to go home. Maybe I’m hoping someone will offer me an out, a way to stay.
Truthfully, I think if I really wanted to stay I would find a way. Truthfully, I think I have set some great relationships in place and the potential to explore them does not die with a return to Canada. Truthfully, I think I need to go back and see a few things through and then, once I’ve had a little time to reflect on this journey, if I truly want to come back, I will. Simple as that.
Now, let’s see if I can keep this in mind over the next six days.