It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog. Having spent a month, constantly with the same people, and having forgotten somehow during that time about the world existing beyond the sight of the massive mountains, where the sun disappears every night, and with it the notion of reality… All that makes being thrown back in reality a rather difficult transition to go through. And it does not get better the second time. It was hard to leave this place as an apprentice two years ago, it is heartbreaking to leave it a second time, now.
I fell in love. I fell in love with 17 people, with a place, with a house, with a dog. That is what this month is -was for me- a month for falling in love again. Ultimately that translate into the work we are doing. We fall in love with the people we do it with, with the words we are breathing life into, with the people on stage and in the audience we are saying those words to.
Anne Bogart, in her book “A Director prepares”, wrote a chapter about “eroticism” as a necessary force in theatre, and breaks it down into seven steps:
1 something, someone stops you in your track
2 you feel “drawn” to it
3 you sense its energy and power
4 it disorientates you
5 you make first contact, it responds
6 you experience extended intercourse
7 you are changed irrevocably
She then writes on about how to fall in love with someone or a process, you have to let go of your daily habit, and in order to be touched by something, you have to let yourself be disoriented.
Nothing is as disorienting as a month spent in Papingo, in every possible way. I realized during the apprentices final individual presentation how much they were deeply touched, changed by this experience. Whether it was in Ariella’s willingness to let go and gently reveal the humor hidden in everyday life by creating a musical/parody of life in Papingo, or in the truth in a sincere and poignant look from Rachel on the guitar thanking everyone for the experience with her words, but mostly eyes; the beauty in a Logan's journey, alone, naked in the frozen river, while everyone is silently and religiously taking in the otherworldly beauty and strangeness of the scene, a Bailie’s, Nadja’s, Mary’s heartbreakingly open, honest, giving and gorgeous written monologue spoken by someone else, while they are embodying their words for us, Meropi’s broken haunting gaze and dialogue with herself, Beth’s sharing of her vision, from the writing to the directing… And we are all, in turn touched and moved by these gifts. There is so much spaciousness and awe inspiring landscape around us at all time, that it is easy to draw back in oneself, become painfully self centered. I was moved and impressed everyday by how each and everyone who was present found a spaciousness and grace within themselves, in order to constantly give to the people around. That energy of giving, necessary for living together for such a long amount of time, and certainly very difficult to find at times, makes the work invaluable and elevate it to new levels. The gift of allowing students to experience this apprenticeship then turns into a gift to the audience, OYL and the people from the villages, who after the show warmly thank the actors for bringing to them the joy of theater.
It would be easier to leave if we didn’t give ourselves fully to the experience, but we wouldn’t allow for the change within us to happen, the hearts and souls to be filled with new and old faces, images, memories, inspiration… It is worth having a heavy heart now.