On Returning

Theatre, Uncategorized

(Less frequent and more theatre-centric blogging due to having been on tour the past week, and preparing the three weeks before that. Back now. Reflecting. Interests diverging again. Wrote this cheesy post for the Open Source Theatre blog:)

We’ve returned from the Israel/Palestine tour: four cities, five performances, nearly 200 audience members, almost £150 raised, and a great deal of intense, exciting and worthwhile performance interactions.

It’s been an exceptional month. In one sense, time goes incredibly fast; it seems strange that as little as two weeks ago we didn’t really know what we were going to be performing. When the creative work is carrying you along, you don’t notice time passing. In another sense, time has been stretched out, because the work is so packed, the moments so full. And when you’re working on a tight schedule, you have to make those moments count. There’s a similar feeling in our performances: they’re only 90 minutes, and, while we’re pretty confident the audiences don’t get bored, it feels simultaneously that so much time cannot possibly have passed and that the moments have been incredibly full. That’s the kind of performance we’re aiming for, at least.

It’s at this point that two things happen, as a director: taking stock and finding space. When a project concludes, something which has taken up every waking moment for weeks, so that even when you’re not working on it you’re thinking about it, there is an enormous space inside you that needs filling up. You try and have lie-ins. You catch up on Twitter and books. You trawl the artsjobs listings. Or, if you’re me, you start compiling performance reports, trying to capture the magic, relive it. This taking stock is a part of my process as a director and human, and part of the whole OST concept: documentation as open source theatrical process. But it helps be cope with the absence, too.

The great thing is, it’s not the end. We began this project not knowing where we’d reach, what performances we’d actually be giving in those five cities, and leaving the future open. But we think this project has been a success, and our time together has been extraordinarily productive, and so we want to take it further. This is always a risky set of feelings: the desire not to let go of a project which has run its course can be crippling. But for this one, there’s a sense of work left on done — we think it deserves development, expansion and wider audiences. We think it has mileage. We don’t want to make the same thing happen again: we want to take it further.

So on that note, I’ll finish this post on this too-infrequent blog (the desire to document every moment is strong, but time is so short!), because there’s a lot of work to be done. Planning. Sketching. Finding venues, funding, dates. Dreaming.