Thanatos

I do not love my work. I am obsessed with it. As is the case in most obsessions it drives me mad. It is not a pleasent experience to be mad, not like a summers day or a hot cup of tea on a stormy night, but a pivotal part all the same. Over time it can be quite taxing on a persons disposition and turn to dark bouts of depression. But the obsession does not stop during these times, no in fact often it drives harder asking more of you then before. When your body is so weak from exhaustion it can barely get our of bed then the light of inspiration strikes and drives you farther on into the nether regions of creativity. The things created from these moments of inglorious weakness are often the pieces that shine most brightly. For when love and pleasent airs leave you there is nothing left to do but create.

“To die, to sleep, to sleep perchance to dream” – Hamlet

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Work habits

  • Meditation/introspection start and end of day
  • Tea first thing
  • Stretch and move my body and lungs at the start of the day
  • Spend time in the moment upon wake up
  • Record dreams in greatest detail possible
  • Limit social media and email in the morning
  • Always take the time to look great, life is too short to not be fabulous 
  • Walk to work whenever possible, making peace with the elements brings great calm
  • Coffee only after fed and mind is awake and active
  • Limit mindless media for special occasions and rewards
  • Read before bed, at lunch, after work. Write in the morning and before bed.
  • Ideal bedtime is between 10 and 11 on week nights 
  • Warming up as a group is essential
  • Remember to check in with yourself and your group
  • Active listening to the room as well as the speaker
  • Work with what you have and where you are at today
  • Work the body hard to out smart the mind
  • Do too many things at once, make mistakes, how happy accidents are born
  • Be mindful of downtime
  • Cultivate healthier habits in the work
  • Practice self care outside of the work
  • Dedicate work space outside of home space or public space
  • Pause to reflect often
  • Take lots of notes
  • Privacy is essential to my process
  • Trust is necessary at all levels
  • Give myself room to break the rules
  • Engage with the world outside of the theatre as much as possible
  • Be inspired by everyday things
  • Practice mental distractions to prevent unecessary worry
  • Everything is part of the work
  • I’m going to hate myself and my work sometimes and that is ok, show up and do the work anyway
  • Be a shit disturber. Prevent static energy through static routine
  • Research everything, you never know when it might come in handy
  • Be able to throw out good ideas that aren’t working. Accept the evolution of things as natural part of development.
  • Dream in technicolor blueprints
  • Pay attention to the small things asking for your attention
  • Meet people where they are at
  • Ask unruly questions
  • Unpack tidy answers
  • Be concious of creating safe spaces for those with less of a voice
  • Follow the fascinating thing
  • Value what is important
  • Foster a culture of change
  • Take an active role in the design of your life and work
  • Start a fight. Be unapologetically outspoken. 
  • Speak truthfully; act truthfully; live truthfully
  • Have a goal, know my purpose
  • Stay involved through the entire process, delegate often, work communally 
  • Surround myself with people that inspire me to aim higher
  • Feel new things
  • Think larger
  • Play out of my league
  • Ask the tough questions 
  • Lift others up and be the champion of each other’s work, there are enough detractors
  • Leave room for other perspectives
  • Don’t be boring
  • Make bold choices
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    Spring

    Currently, I am testing how to strike the balance between working in that nauseating place outside of my comfort zone and sharing the unique perspective inherent in my personal place in the world. It’s often difficult to know what is self indulgent vs vulnerable revelation. It takes a lot of practice to be comfortable enough in my own proclivities to be able to see them honestly and work my way out, and from there welcome shifts in perspective and new ideas about the work to emerge. Starting from the outside appearance of thins and working inwards rarely proves successful in my practice.

    You know what they say, when you assume you make an ass out of u and me.

    Assumptions are like monsters under the bed; there is no way to escape them except by facing them head on and testing them in the practical plane  against your ideas and fears about them. Most of the time they will reveal themselves in the light to be something other than you imagined.

    My biggest fear of monsters under the bed when I was a kid was that my bed sat directly on the floor. I wasn’t so foolish as to think that saved me from having to worry about monsters, it just meant that ¬†I couldn’t be sure where they would come from once the light went out. Of course this prepared me for the challenge of facing manifold unexpected monsters and assumptions when I decided to pursue a life in the arts.

    Judi Dench spoke of the incredible fear associated with her practice. It’s inescapable in our work. To learn to live with that fear, and to not allow it to define you is a great gift. From the place of fear we can find the strength to face the assumptions that are hidden in plain sight.

    I don’t want to live a life unexamined.

    This spring has been a great awakening for me. I’ve been opened a deluge of discovery and growth that I did not expect at the top of 2015. Which all stems from testing myself against the limitations I perceive from my narrow vantage point. It reads like a tired truism, but the merit is in the practice.

    It started off by deciding to apply for the Ghost River Theatre Devised Theatre Production Intensive even though “I knew I wouldn’t get in”, and then after being accepted putting together a grant in a week to be able to attend in spite of the voice saying “there is too much competition, they will never fund my project”, and then asking for the time off work when “I know they can’t spare me this time of year”.

    Well it all came together, and the experience was transformative.

    From there I had the pleasure of joining the Saskatchewan contingent at Magnetic North Theatre Conference and Festival in Ottawa. This was the first time I have engaged with the theatre community on a national level and meet many of the movers and shakers in the industry from across the country and around the world. The beautiful thing about Magnetic North is that it is still a size where everyone in the room feels approachable, even over the brief time I was able to attend I felt at home like I had finally found “my people”.

    As a result of a connection there, I have the great fortune to be returning to Calgary to study with Denise Clark at One Yellow Rabbit next summer, and have renewed focus pursuing the next phases of my fall projects with new revelations from Magnetic North and Ghost River Theatre. I feel the question of when not how bubbling to the surface more and more as new ways of entering the work begin to emerge that exceed my own imagination.

    I want to take this opportunity to send a big platter of gratitude to the fine folks at the Saskatchewan Arts Board for their support both financially and their on going support of the Saskatchewan arts scene. We are so fortunate to have a legacy of peer reviewed, arms length funding in our province, and it truly makes a difference on the ground as they understand that opportunities do not always wait for “the right time” to manifest. Without their support it would be much harder for young artists like myself to build a sustainable career in the prairies.

    It is humbling to be reminded that it take a million small steps to climb the tallest mountain. As the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, and a hectic spring dissolves into a languid summer, I am happy to pause and reflect in that moment of balance as it passes through the center.

    May the path be ever mysterious and the journey never complacent.

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