P is the only thing that fits

Posted by Lori | Posted in | Posted on 3:20 PM

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“Hoping to go see this next month in London: The prayers of Peter Brook | Stage | The Guardian,” the Facebook status read. Emil Kang had popped up on my news feed by chance.

"Peter Brook? Like The Empty Space Peter Brook? Like the acclaimed genius artist and director Peter Brook? The one who changed experimental theatre? Peter Brook!?" My mind ran fast, my fingers faster.

“Really? Because I just might join you there…” I wrote in response.

I was half-way serious.

A few days later I get a reply. Emil informs me that if I’m serious about going to see the show he might be able to get me a ticket.

I become completely serious.

Well, not completely serious. I might have let out a school-girl style squeal.

Several series of e-mails later, travel plans are made and I find myself with a plane ticket to London.

*******

Then, the other day I finally got the chance to Skype with Emil. It was the follow up to an e-mail I had sent back in November following an artistic crisis-near-breakdown. I was frustrated because all of my searches for collaborating artists had been proven futile. I couldn’t find an outlet anywhere. This lack had made me realize just how important art and performance were to me and all of this culminated in one long e-mail to Emil (who I hadn’t really seen or spoken to since my Freshman seminar with him, a couple years ago.)

Fast forward a few months to now and our conversation found me in a lot better state [artistically]. I told Emil of how his response to my e-mail, the personal development I was experiencing, along with my experiences in London and Portugal all led me to create the theatre collective here. I think he was more proud of me than I was of myself.

We talked future possibilities, current musings, and parental concerns. Emil told me the story of how his parents threw a wine bottle at his head when he told them he didn’t want to be a doctor, instead pursuing a career in the arts.

We agreed that there would be more time to discuss these things in London. And then he gave me a few things to consider in the mean time:

Get feedback on my work. “It’s not very good to get to 50 and find out you stink.”

Keep searching for more ways to do what I’m doing but further it. Look to do it in different ways. The same idea, but in different ways.

Push myself to work with my weaknesses as well as my strengths.

*******

Today I drudged up some of the essays I wrote for the performance class in which I had Emil as a professor. Some of them were pretty terrible. And they certainly made me surprised that Emil remembered me in a positive light.

Always growing, always moving. My perspective on performance has certainly altered since that communication performance course in which I first came into contact with Peter Brook. I remember feeling confused reading "The Empty Space" and thought it was interesting, but maybe just a bit weird.

At the end of the semester, we had to get into groups and write a performance piece. I didn't really understand the whole idea of performance as something other than traditional theater and wrote this really terrible mini-play. (Trust me, I just reread it. It's awful.)

Our professors stretched us and helped us change it into something that, if I remember correctly, was half presentable. But I do remember feeling frustrated during the process and complaining with my group that the professor didn't make any sense.

But then, when it came time for all the groups to perform, I remember clearly this one performance. I can't remember what it was about or what exactly they did, but I remember this red piece of cloth that they used throughout the piece. And I thought it was one of the most beautiful things in the world. And it was beautiful because I couldn't figure out why it was so beautiful. It just was. And I didn't have to make sense of it.

*******

Now, this week, the collective is going to the street. To start to make beautiful things that will probably make little sense. Or will make the sense that people decide to place on them. Or perhaps we'll come up with a sense of our own.

In a few weeks I’ll be heading to London. To watch beautiful things crafted by a man who at first made no sense to me.

And now I finish with a sentence that will try and be a summary of all these things in my head. But this sentence isn't coming, so I'll just throw out a few words.

Pursuit and passion and perform and play and pushing and prayers and peter

and I think I somehow got stuck on p's.

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P is for Possibilities. And lots of them.

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