Wednesday, February 22, 2006
the challenge of distraction
Overcoming distraction is easier if you have a lot of deadlines looming. Focus is a kind of tyrannical thing we do to ourselves out of necessity. Last week I had just discovered a few new websites and started checking them out... emusic (not a bad downloading service, way cheaper and less draconian than the itunes store, though with a smaller catalog), digg ('social bookmarking'), some videoblogging tutorials, and so forth... I could have embarked on a whole new set of projects based on the things I found. Ridiculous. Meanwhile, four jobs pressed in, forcing me to get offline and live my life.
I'm grateful. I think the danger with being curious in an age of some much readily available information is that you could be constantly learning about things, and never doing much with that knowledge. It's so easy to be distracted by the next new thing. But really -- what so great about newness? I doubt there's a real answer to that question.
This week is a busy preparation for a show I'm designing lights for, The Arab-Israeli Cookbook. It is a big show, with a fabulous cast and solid script. We have been rehearsing in a church basement where people occasionally walk through to the washrooms, and pipes knock a jazzy syncopation every few hours. It's nice to be there, in the room. Helps with focus.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
The Dinner Party preview
I've spent a lot of time at Buddies' lately -- this shot is of the design, with two fabulous actors, of "The Dinner Party", written by Rose cullis and directed by my Bea Pizano. I thought it would be fun to mess with things and open the back of the stage -- as soon as I saw that window I have been dreaming of an opportunity to use it. Then along comes a show about two women in an apartment -- great!
Last night was Friday. I was in a one-night installation, pretending to be grass, whispering words. It was like a childhood challenge: not knowing what the next word out of my mouth was, just blah blah blah... I think some people actually put sentences together, and sometimes I did that. But mostly it was word-association and whatever came out came out. I wish some of it got recorded, but that's the thing abut theatre. You gotta be there.
We did three 15-minute sessions. By the end I was a little zoned out, kind-of like doing 5 straight runs of BREATH[e] in an afternoon, back in August in Edinburgh.
Now I'm a little tired. Not getting enough excercise, seeing too many articles and documentaries about the lies the Bush administration tells. Not looking for them either, they just keep coming up. The latest:
It's enough to make you want to get off the continent.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
glass building in the winter
I have been watching the construction of the new opera house at Queen and University for over a year. It absolutely floors me that so many millions are being poured into this project for the sake of a few big productions a year. After working on a project with six other artists for a week's run at the Rhubarb festival -- each of us earning a whopping $125, and very glad to get paid at all, thank you -- I can't understand the disconnect between our position as creators of performances and the small group of artists that can harness the millions to make the opera house pictured here. I'm not about to claim that we could do their jobs -- it takes experience with monster budget shows to make monster budget shows. And they are very good. But if half of their budget went to the Toronto Arts Council the Arts in Toronto would undergo a massive renaissance.
Okay that's all the wingeing for now.
Maybe I'm distracted by having to create a $8000 set for $4000.
Bea just got home. I'm avoiding work. I think we might take a walk into Little Chinatown for groceries. I am really only beginning to discover the neighbourhood I live in -- after 2 1/2 years. After that, maybe I'll actually get to know the neighbours.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
memory and action
I spent today in a van collecting set pieces and gear for a show called "The Arab-Israeli Cookbook" -- we've just begun rehearsal, and I'm designing lights and production manageing. I also spent the day not thinking about what I had to do this evening: open a Rhubarb! show in which I have to actually perform. I'm not a performer. I'm not performing when I'm skipping, speaking, or getting hit in the head with a beachball in front of a paying audience.
I think this week will feel like a strong study in contrasts. The Rhubarb (that's a theatre festival of new and often experimental work) show is called "Do you have any idea how fast you were going?" and is mostly a laugh. We try out a few neat ideas, but mostly have fun. The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, on the other hand, is taken from actual interviews of people living, cooking, and eating in Israel / Palestine. I am not going to comment on any of that right now, there's too much and nothing at all to say, and I can't think what I could write about it here that would actually matter.
Anyway, I'm not an onstage virgin anymore. People spoke to me after "Any Idea", and said encouraging things. I got to skip real fast, and play with lights on the very computer which sits under my fingers right now. I don't really understand what happened this past month that led to my actually being onstage; but there are gratifications in life that just roll into you, sometimes.