Setting Traps

by childofwine

You know how it is

You’re just wandering around the internets
Clicking on this or that
For no real particular reason

Just looking for tasty little snippets of things in the hopes of seeing
Something cool
Eliciting some sort of reaction

This particular clip
Of the cute and heartwarming variety
I’ve seen it before
And yet

Yet I am taken aback
Just a little as
Les Larmes
Start leaking from my school weary eyes.

Have you clicked on the link?
Have you watched the whole video?
Go on now, just do it
Watch the whole thing, would ya?

He’s scratching his way through with such confidence
He is so completely present in this moment
In this barely toilet trained body
With this barely formed mind
With those barely controllable little fingers

He is the everything that we are learning here at The School

His little water trick      It’s so stupid
It’s so stupid                   And he is so pleased with himself

Do it again he’s prompted
oh okay
and they love it
Eighteen thousand people 18,000 love him
Because they love his freedom
To do such a silly thing
Such a free spirited

So Akim does it again
Might have done it
And again
Were it not for the beautiful guidance of Andre Rieu

The gentle way he lets the tiny child do a party trick
To feel comfortable on such a huge stage
The way in which he reminds the tiny child:

There is something even more exciting yet to be done

Something few of us would have the courage to try
At the risk of such inevitable failure
(If failure is the lack of perfection)
Such potential
(If Embarrassment is the exposure of vulnerability)

And then the orchestra starts

What do we expect when we watch this?
What did they expect in this massive stadium?
With the formally attired orchestra onstage?
Can this child really be a genius?
He’s only be taking lessons for months
But he wouldn’t be there if he weren’t special
Will this be good?
What will happen…

And he raises his little violin
and we, watching the video see
Little coloured dots to help locate
Little fingers on the instrument

And he raises his little bow

And his face is so serious…

Go back
Go back and watch him
Watch this tiny child walk on stage

Just that

Do it a couple times

Watch this tiny little child walk on
Such joy and pleasure on his face

Imagine you are in his place

Now, at whatever age
In whatever part of life you are
Imagine the intro has been given for you
Now your legs must walk you onstage
Carry you out to stand in front of
Eighteen thousand people
Now your heart
Your lungs
Your legs
Must support you as you collect everything that trembles and shakes
As you collect what wits haven’t escaped you

Take a big breath because it’s time
Perform this skill you have dreamed your whole life of learning
This skill that you finally managed to find
The time
The money to learn
To practice for a few months

Now imagine you walk on stage in front of 18,000 people

I can only hope that I manage to keep the sick from splattering all over my dress

but what if, what if we could walk into situations like tiny Akim…

This week at The School we are led in a three day workshop of games by 500 Clown’s Adrian Danzig.

We talk a lot about the difference between
the world outside
the so-called Real World
and the world inside
the Performative World.

We talk a lot about
The crazy way we as groups and individuals live by
Imaginary rules
That we impose with total lack of regard for logic
Disregarding unthought of possibility

We talk a lot about
Setting a trap for an experience to happen
How games set traps for real experiences to happen

We play 4square
You know 4square

A large four square area
A ball that bounces into each person’s square
A leader and “ref” in the fourth square
Sure enough
We become invested

There are villains and heroes

How we choose to play
From the sidelines
As spectators
Implicitly affects our collective experience
Just as much – if not more – than our brief times in a square

Real tangible experiences

We commit to playing a game
A silly little game
A game with no real impact on the world
The world at large or our place in it
But we commit nonetheless
And as a result
We have real emotional experiences

Adrian asks
When you go to the museum must you be so quiet
When you see a piece of art that blows your mind

Why can you not respond in equal proportion
Why not allow some
Reactionary response
One equal to that which the piece in question has just offered you?

In the outside
In the Real World
Do we shy away from the risk of the emotional response?

How do we possibly
Leave that at the door and play
Like children with something exciting
To find and
To show and
To tell
In this bouncy colourful playground we call our classroom
For the next six months
In our individual and collaborative practices we explore for the rest of our lives

Ain’t that a question worth chewing on for a lifetime

Akim doesn’t disappear from the public scene
Turns out he actually is a young musical prodigy

At five years old he performs again with his ‘old friend’, Andre
A little older now but
No less precocious
No less completely enamored
Of music
Of making music
… if a little startled by a kettle drum

If Akim didn’t love what he did so much
If we didn’t see
Wonder and joy
Dance across his face

Would we have such an emotional experience?

Here he is again at eleven years old
The same serious face
Barely containing that smile
Revealing the music that is bursting from inside

We see something new too
We see the beginning of adolescence
Self-awareness starts to make an appearance
Will he make it through

Imagine your adolescence
Come face to face with
The rigour of practice
The pursuit of excellence

The most recent clip I’ve found
nine months ago
A young man emerging
Playing a recital
Babies cooing and squawking in the background
Far from the eighteen thousand delighted faces
Far from the pure magic that is the infant prodigy’s grace

Love and passion
Beginning to confront the disappointments and trials of life
But the joy and the pleasure
The wonder of being present in the moment
The moment that is the everything
The moment when the bow touches the violin…

The moment and actor crosses the line between offstage and on…

The moment an idea touches paper…

But still, remember that first entrance

I think we’re all here to learn how to find that entrance