Choosing a season:
I have to fall in love, simultaneously, with four… four sort-of-people. The four plays we’ll bleed and sweat over in the months to come, I must love them. It’s so much easier to fall in love with one at a time. But I’m open to the thunderbolts that can strike, and this season love hit me really hard and I really am in love x 4. The trouble is rather to NOT listen daily to Ainadamar, or troll for John Gabriel Borkman’s space, or start learning my lines for Dream of Autumn before the official translation’s even been made.
So there is the very primary falling in love part of choosing the season, and then comes the number crunching part. We figure out what we want to do, and then we have to figure out how we’ll afford it… those dozens of musicians in the orchestra of Ainadamar? Heating that February run for John Gabriel Borkman? It’s funny, we don’t worry so much about how we’ll physically accomplish things – where we’ll find a bandoneon player, or how we’ll build floating platforms on Lake Carnegie, how we’ll make woks ignite in flames. We know we’ll figure that stuff out. And how to actually realize the plays themselves, show what they’re ‘about’… well, I’m comfortable (only comfortable) choosing things I absolutely don’t understand. I’m happy not knowing what they’re about. The process of making them is one of trying to position them to move the audience the way they’ve mysteriously moved me, another way of saying we’ll figure out what they’re about together (or we won’t.) But at a certain point we commit to doing them and I try to get people excited to join that process. That’s where we are now. I can say a few things:
The Golden Dragon is like a dream. It’s funny, it’s unpredictable, it might get violent, it might make me cry. Its language is really strange, its mode of communication very challenging for actors. I wanted to see the actors in a horizontal plane and thought of the surface of this lake…. wanted to see an actor run fast a long way out in a straight line and then boing back to the company as if elasticized. I’m fascinated by the dialogue this play opens with the world on globalization. People are buzzing and conflicted over a German writer writing about seemingly Asian characters and not casting Asian actors in the roles. It definitely seems (to me) that the actors should not be Asian, should be every ethnicity but Asian, but as I say, the play is very much a mystery to me at this point.
Ainadamar is like a dream. I go into a trance when I listen to it. Most often it’s three women’s voices, one climbing over the others onto the top line, then surrendering that line and someone else climbing on top, exquisite. It’s about a great man, one so important to the theatre, Federico Garcia Lorca. It’s about revolution, and whether art is political… maybe about whether art isn’t always political.
John Gabriel Borkman is like a nightmare, kind of a funny one. I imagine being in this nightmare, as the characters seem to be, and saying ‘Who’s that guy pacing endlessly in the attic!’ Or, as one might be in a nightmare, sentenced to endlessly re-living a moment of extreme shame. Or finally saying everything you always wanted to say to your sister. Ah, Ibsen, gotta love him.
Dream of Autumn is like a dream. An erotic dream, the erotic forces very much representing the life force itself. It’s battling against a strange kind of censorship, which is also life itself. The play is short but the battle is very, very, very long, our battle, we humans.