Saturday, August 30, 2008

on endings and beginnings

so, as one might have surmised, i couldn't even bare to blog on thursday and friday because i was just that tired. oof, i say!

but now it's saturday. i'm preparing to meet with an old friend of lovely partner's to see some more sights and eat some more food. woo-hoo to seeing more of vancouver!

i'm in a bitter-sweet place about ending the workshop. my body was so obviously beginning to break down. i got a sharp pain just above my knee-cap on thursday morning, and on friday during our suzuki training, my ankle started acting wonky. but that said, i was actually very sad to be ending this week.

i feel like it's only just begun. spending 7 hours a day working on physical theater with a small group of people really clarified what i need to continue working on. and my mind wanders to all the possibilities. do i want to go to australia to train with zen zen zo? do i want to apply to train with SITI next summer? do i try to find some other venue to do another intensive? do i try to partner up with an austin group to bring someone to train us to austin? it's all craziness in some ways, but also intensely necessary. it's been a long time since i've taken to a training method so quickly and fully. i remember running in a circle yesterday, doing a version of the 12/6/4 viewpoints exercise (where the group running in a circle somehow magically decides to change direction, jump, or stop simultaneously 12, 6, and 4 times respectively) and thinking, "hey, i could do this all day long, for a long time!" even the suzuki, which is designed to make you twitch and grimace (but you resist this urge) had a certain quality that hailed my deepest level of concentration.

on saying our last impressions of the week yesterday, one of the women in the group said, "i realized i don't want to rehearse anymore, i just want to perform." she was talking about how you can make "rehearsals" into performances, bringing the same amount of intent and energy to the rehearsal space. it was a wise thing to say and one that i plan to bring back to stamplab rehearsals.

having finished out this week, i'm still trying to figure out how to continue. i found myself walking down the hallway of my rental apartment as slowly as i could, heel to toe, upper body not moving.

i am transfixed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

on bodily fatigue, creative vigor

maybe it's being in a strange place, or me not being used to sleeping alone, but the past two days i haven't been able to sleep until 1. and waking at 7. it's not a lot of sleep for me. but for some reason, i've managed to make it through two 7-hour workshops. i'm so tired right now, though, i'll be really surprised if i make it much longer. still have to journal about today and go over some more macbeth and dante.

today we stomped twice. i can't really go into what stomping is right now, but just know that it is very physically demanding. there is always a moment of fear midway through the exercise where i actually think i'm going to die from pain and exhaustion. this is usually the time when simon (the australian instructor) says, "relax your faces and shoulders" and i can feel my face try to unsquint. i think, i'm gonna die! but i continue stomping. and it ends. and i wipe my thoroughly wet brow and realize that i can actually get through it. it's a very powerful realization.

god, i wanna write more, but my eyes are so droopy. i don't know how i thought i would be able to watch theater in addition to doing this crazy work. but i'm gonna try tomorrow night. a whole bunch of folks from the workshop are going to see eric bogosian's "suburbia." i'm gonna try to tag along.


Monday, August 25, 2008

on canadia/sur le canada, part two/deuxième partie

okay. i have to memorize some macbeth and some dante's inferno by tomorrow, and i need a good night's sleep, so here are the highlights since my last entry:

kintaro ramen on denman: very good, hand-made noodles. the ramen guy had a rhythm and precision that was awesome to watch in mouth-watering anticipation. it was also cute how he kept squinting to read the orders because he's too vain to get glasses. i got the rich (read fatty) broth with moist (read fatty) pork in shoyu flavor. mmm.

don't underestimate vancouver theatre. just because you go to a show on sunday night in the middle of an industrial district doesn't mean it won't be sold out. this isn't austin where people beg you to come see their show.

abdominal breathing + an intent/present listener/audience = an intensely intimate and vulnerable dramatic experience.

the suzuki acting method will make your thighs explode. and then you have to collect your thigh bits, piece them together, and get up and do more.

viewpoints is like montessori for adults. but with intention. and if you don't share, everyone looks bad. don't let the egalitarian, consensus-like, oberlin-esque ethos of viewpoints fool you: slacking off and cheating show. lack of generosity shows. it's not for the physically or emotionally timid.

note to self: canada is really a different place. it's not just the pretty money and the funny accents. you may, in fact, really like it here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

on canadia, on performance

i'm in vancouver right now. i had resolved that i would resume blogging while here.

what i've been doing for the last two months:
once i got back from japan, my time was consumed by artspark. i believe i was spending nearly 30 hrs per week on the production, going to scriptshops and rehearsals at 6, getting home around 11. writing lines, learning lines, editing lines, trying not to fight, watching people fight, etc. and then.... we won! yeah, baby! you can see pictures of "hush" (the production) and stamp lab (our theater collective) at the stamp lab website.

so yeah. did you get the part where we WON the ARTSPARK FESTIVAL COMPETITION? yes. it's been a while since i've won stuff. i even sent a short email to pretty much everyone in my address book, bragging. (if you know me and didn't get the message, it's likely i don't have your current email address. leave a comment and we'll figure out a way to exchange the emails.) i had to do it. i just had to. we won. and... and.... and... wow!

so that's a very short note on artspark. in the meantime, our director was hospitalized, three of our performers threw their backs/necks out, i got stung by wasps, one performer got bronchitis, several peoples' cars broke down, two of us lost our central AC (which is deemed an emergency in 100+ degree central texas weather), lovely partner made a huge, wonderful, exciting and challenging life decision, and we had to put down our older dog of seven years--a companion who has seen us through many, many trials.

it's been a crazy, crazy, crazy summer.

the reason i'm in vancouver is for the vancouver stomp intensive. i mentioned it earlier here and here. we will be training in vocal techniques, the suzuki performance technique and viewpoints (another performance technique developed at SITI theater with ann bogart). i just got back from the meet and greet. most of the folks there are younger than me. most participants seem to be local and/or college students. it's small. the main instructor talks in australian and the organizer talks in canadian. i'm excited. i hope my body holds up.

this is really my first time in canada as an adult. vancouver has been really cool over the past couple days. some college friends came up from seattle and we spent yesterday tromping around, talking, and comparing our american selves with the canadian folks. people who think canada is really america-lite just haven't been paying attention. my friends left to return to seattle this morning.

this trip marks a moment in my life. i'm not sure exactly what that moment is, but i'm figuring it out. i realize as i write this that it has been almost exactly one year since i started the lotto project, writing all of you about being an artist, trying to make ends meet, and thinking through my identity as a creative person. this pilgrimage of performance training and this trip to a new city by myself is like the capstone seminar in my last 18 months of personal study. i raised money to come here. i will be spending my time immersed in performance training, seeing theater, and having conversations with myself. everything is new and awkward, but oddly pointing right toward the center of my soul. i am expectant, open, curious, and afraid.

it's where i'm supposed to be.