Friday, July 23, 2010

creativity in decline

people are not going to theatre- Magnetic North Festival is in financial woes and Luminato was struggling with tickets sales... can we just say
oh well! people are not interested?
what must I do... we do... to examine why people don't go
sure it relates to TV/DVD/COomputers... audiences seem to be getting increasingly literal- even the rise of documentaries is fantastic but makes abstraction and metaphor less and less something people are familiar with.

BUT what can I do? yes we need more arts education and this is a tragedy- we all KNOW math is hard- we have had to do it enough... but do we really know how hard art is when all we get is less than basic instruction and only chances to 'express ourselves' creatively but with no formal principles, skills or techniques taught...

what are WE doing wrong? Is it really just marketing issues- sure there is no way that the average artist can compete with most commercial marketing giants... although the internet may be changing that

SO do I have to get all my stuff on line and attached to cute pictures of animals to market my shows? MAYBE!


Monday, July 19, 2010

rehearsing in Amherst

,I am rehearsing Poetic License in Amherst MA

fun... great to have the time to reinvestigate the angel... my nemesis character...
it was lovely to be given the theatre to be in it all alone... and I will have more of this time this week... I think I might like theatre again. But then I have these other moments - I found myself staring at a floor lamp... basic theatre light on the floor, tape marks, wood base... I followed the taped down wire with me eyes until it disappeared behind a wing... and I thought
I could be anywhere in time or space in the last 30 years of my life... I looked around and the whole scene, the shins, the house chairs, the tape on the floor, the flat black masonite floor looked like any other theatre, any other week/month/year/city and I was suddenly sick of it all...
why? familiarity breeds contempt? Doing One Pure Longing I was pushing all the edges for myself and then had a show that was full of mess and wonder and unfinished and moments of beauty- but I was trying to do something big and different... did I/we succeed? maybe not - maybe I/we crashed and burned... will I be able to keep taking risks? I laughed out loud- cause I don't think I am capable, actually capable of doing otherwise. And I do not mean that in a pompous way- I really am not capable...
ok, maybe I am... maybe I should try to make something... purely
what? pure entertainment? I am not against entertainment- the show I am working on now is very entertaining (according to many reviews... and performances and apparently happy audiences...) but what does all that mean? Should I care about all that? Do I? can I really get my ego out of the way? Maybe it isn't about ego at all- maybe it really is about service... how to create something USEFUL, ENTERTAINING and MEANINGFUL... did I lose the first 2 trying to do the third in OPL? Joni Mitchell's last album that was so politically correct- I really did not like and I think she is a genius... does one have to TRY to work from that place to get closer to it and then let it go again and go back to the grimmy self to create and hopefully with the effort of trying to do something with deeper meaning or political/spiritual intent, then the next 'create what ya gotta create' maybe gets more meaningful???


art... really, if you don't HAVE to- do something else... way, way too hard...

Friday, July 16, 2010

vitamin D, a little sunshine!

ok sometimes its as simple as a little sunshine
i was- for some time doing this physical meditation practice walking outdoors... then sometimes I do it in a movement studio... so sun or no sun? bet it makes a huge difference... but being in theatre I spending so much time in blacked out spaces... not good, not good!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trigeminal Neuralgia

So if I am going to tell the truth here- what I am really in the midst of re: healthy animal- is a condition that I have that comes and goes called Trigeminal Neuralgia

basically and electrical headache... varies is pain- but at its worst- like an ice pick thrown at your head... (the doctor told me 'we call them ice picks')

The headaches are a drag- but the fatigue that they cause is my main issue. It began 12 years ago and was really bad then, but now comes in less painful doses- but is starting to happen more and more frequently. I am now going to do the 'healthy animal' work
to get healthy for real! See if this work that I do - with emotional connection and awareness is HELPING or AGGRAVATING this issue. I am rehearsing for Poetic License that requires a piece of choreography that is not physically demanding in some ways- but I use a conscious connection to what I would call my nervous system to make the spastic movement of my muscles to play my sister who had (and died from) MS

Trigeminal Neuralgia is often a precursor to MS... and when I had it 12 yrs ago- they basically ASSUMED I had MS, but I never did the MRI. And I am pretty healthy and my sister has ... gone home, as she would say.

SO... do I have a mild case? Just TN and not MS? Did I avoid it by something that I am doing? Am I risking getting it by walking into the fire of playing someone with it and working physiologically???

Who knows...
but I am going to investigate...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8th- my birthday more private work

Had a brief session today after a long walk
simple, used toes a lot and really can feel how using the fingers/toes actively engages so much
the squeezing that the martial arts talks about
so worked INTENSELY with toes, some basic dance work and then a fast tense releasing- like neural flossing- which i really want to study/understand more

was a lot of work, but i think it released other things
then went into rehearsal...

MAr 5

Had a 25 minute session
Began on floor- under blanket- music on

Started really easily into the work… continuously finding that I was hungry to engage muscles- but as typical for me- not balanced with releasing into gravity
So kept moving back and forth- gravity… muscles… blood… gravity

TONS of pleasure… all round

Almost hit ecstasy immediately … sang occasionally- very aware of typical tension in back of neck… slowly was able to release some of it- singing improved…
Awareness of prayer- but only vaguely
Then checked time and saw I had more than I thought
- collapsed- more full release into gravity
- (lying with head/chest on coach, knees on floor- good position for me
really released, sank into right hip… lots of pain… but tolerable
stayed there and decided to try and move it…
felt that slightly nautious feeling that tells me lots of nervous system/emotion/history
simply started there in muscular engagement and tried to move it with nervous system (or whatever I mean by that!) up and out towards my hands… lots of tension
but moving/stretching tension… released into gravity- did this several times and then end with HUGE scream… new sounds for me and then released into BIG breath, holy spirit stuff and release and submission…

felt right, felt healing- not much emotion at all… mostly physiological- even the scream- which certainly had a call the police energy!

Must now remember to watch the hip

I did not have typical shaking after this… (good sign? Bad sign?) I think good sign- as I think I really released more fully than when I shake and I used gravity and breath well to ground the energy…

I now feel so much better and as usual wonder… why I don’t do this every day

I feel alert, ‘cleared’, happy…
And this really only took 20 minutes

Mar 14

Big session today
Standing with music to start… really was able to follow- with no warm up- the nerves- got out anatomy book…
Also could feel how out of shape the muscles were- could FEEL that fact- and how sluggish they are…
So clear

Then read Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, then Godfrey’s book on immunity, then Body Stories, then did more work… in hips… slow stretches and BIG deep breath- really feeling the tightness in my hips and how that affects my diaphragm

Tried to get over my prejudices about ‘cellular’ sensation and read more about that via BMC… which made me focus on blood in lungs and marriage of breath… to breath entering blood system- which I cannot feel!!! I can feel tons of sensation from breathing
And I can feel more and more detail in my blood system
But I cannot feel in a specific way air going into blood…

I can IMAGE this and use my imagination about this AS I feel breathing sensations and blood sensations… and marrying the two (something I have been working on for some time) does lead pretty fast to that tingly… oneness feeling of boundaries blurring between skin and air- and some of her language does address this directly- but that feeling still feels pretty global and non specific to me… and I am hesitant to name it… but her language does resonate with that feeling… but am I feeling my cells??? I have no idea!

Feb 6 private work

Feb 6

Realizing how hard it is to feel full blood system while muscular skeletal system is very active. I was walking and really controlling my walk and then I let that go and there was a flood of sensation… more breath, much more swing in legs and arms, more pleasure and joy and actual movement… less tension. AND I could feel blood in hands- and vaguely in back of neck and at times tongue and lips… but not much else. I stopped a few times and felt the blood system- pretty accessible when still except calves- which continue to be numb… my tension/issues there are big. I need to keep feeling blood system first thing in the morning… why is it so accessible then? Because the M/Sk is quiet? I keep reflecting on the words ‘come to throbbing life again’ and this is what I feel I am seeking… can one (and have I ever?) feel the full blood system in very active physicality?

Jan 29th private work

Jan 29th- did 25 mins

So lovely… lots of stuff in my left hip… found a glorious moment with arms pinned- found real length and opening in my chest (the way kate can lengthen those arms I think)
In this I found some real tension in my wrists and forearms that I hung out with and was so rich

The gems images I am using in class I think is accurate- that those tense places- those places of pain hold info- hold truth… so hanging in them

I was trying to examine the idea of flowing thru impulses versus staying with them- wondering how that relates to Denise’s idea ‘don’t choreograph’- hanging out there does feel different but if one keeps moving it also feels like the healthy animal does not feel fully heard- that somehow IN the listening… you have to stop and BE in those moments

So rich… I really can’t wait to spend more time with this… it does feel like what I want versus ‘classes’ and yet I am not sure about that- if that is just inertia… but perhaps the thing to do is to do this- which I DO feel hunger for and then see if desire for classes (even at home- on video or what ever) become something I hunger for…

Jan 28th private work

Jan 28 2010

I have done 2 short sessions of going into my body (one just now)
amazing how listening to ones body deeply is sooooooooooo rich...

I can't wait to have more time for this... I think I am really ready to go deep into the work MYSELF again
and I am really curious to see if I can transform my body/soul/habits/posture/prayer practice even more with this awareness work

I am also getting better at working and then being able to deconstruct, reconstruct, describe what I did after- useful to this process of writing about this...

I think the reason I find it so hard to name this work and call it 'mine' is that it really truly is just listening to the body
for real

and allowing it to speak, move...

and there are so many systems that address this- so articulating how this is different? and also not wanting to make it something like Viewpoints... which has become something that makes people think that 'architecture' (her word for intelligent spatial use and design)
is a Bogart thing... when it has been around forever! she simply has some accessible ways of communicating it.. and this may have never been her intention, but people do it anyway (false gods)
I would hate for this to become a technique like that- that commodifies something that is accessible to anyone in many forms

I want it to be packaged, written about- so that it is accessible, useful

that is my latest word as a teacher- how can I be useful... also as a director

if I can figure this out- a way to package this- so that I can hand this info to people- like the glass... and say
this glass is a useful glass...
but the water... I want nothing to do with claiming I know more about the water than any living being...

babies know more about this than I... and that is the beauty of this... it is so simple and yet hidden...
mystical and yet tangible...
and healing, fun, rich...

from private work Jan 18th

Finding my healthy animal:
Jan 18th-

As I was waking up…I just focused deeply on releasing the back of my neck as I was very aware of tension on the verge of pain there. I was very warm and could feel my blood system pretty completely. Took me some time but was able to release the back of the neck and then could feel my face go through some involuntary habitual tension patterns- unraveling. It was only the beginning- but was able to sit with it and watch the facial patterns emerge with truly no doing… then they let go at one point, then it happened again. I very much wanted to move down through the spine but there was so much undoing right there in the neck that I couldn’t really go past that. I had to work very hard to keep my awareness on the back of the neck to maintain that release. The pain in my feet- as usual when I wake (Plantar Faciatis) was at medium level and I was waiting to see if there was a time I could shift- but I did not. It all was mostly proprioceptive versus kinesthetic listening, but there were moments of shifting posture- but very small. I was able to work within the posture I was in. Once I was very present I could use the breath intentionally to release (which felt more active) and this was wonderful. I then focused on the Greatest Name internally- no vocalization. I had the image of painting Ya Baha’u’l’abha on the inside of two round coaches curved towards each other- then I moved that image to writing it on the inside of my body- I could not get too specific with this image- the coach was stronger. I could feel the body as one thing for just a brief time- a reminder that maybe I did not have to deal with the feet directly- but could use the release in one area to be the release in all areas. I have a cold- head congestion and massive tension from holding the space as a director/teacher/mom these days. So letting go of the neck was likely the ideal place to work and I did not seem to have a choice anyway and I was having some success. As I write, I can feel the neck tension coming back- but can still feel the pleasure of the body as one thing (throbbing blood system, ears gently ringing). I sense that if I keep my breathing alive and full- that I will maintain a very tiny bit of this as a whole body release- even if the neck tension comes back.


It was very helpful to be warm. Which the past few days I have been thinking about. That starting back in to the work I must be comfortable and warm to begin.

Waking up I could feel my blood system completely without having to do anything.


I forgot to allow the breath to enter consciously when I began and I am not sure if I can undo whilst doing the breath- and if waiting until I am fully undoing somewhere first is best before I start to have more active breath awareness and doing.

HEALTHY ANIMAL- from notes to a student April 2010

-follow the path of the blood system... from one pulse you can feel to another

-capillaries feel very different than veins/arteries... so hands and blood feel very different from say- belly and blood...

-and remember ... juggling awareness... more manageable and realistic than real full simultaneous awareness that tends to feel more like... getting high or being intensely alive (if you are familiar with runners high- feels like that)

-Some of the folks in Italy (Pontedaro Grotowski center) say that it is impossible and yet i disagree- it is just really hard and takes many years of practice... and it doesn't last that long. I mention this because it is important to know that it is this hard- because if it is coming easy... likely you are missing pieces (I mean consistently easy and by conscious choice- we all have great performances where grace/awareness visits us!)

-the way i get there is by building specific pieces, one at a time INTO the scoring on my performance work, like picking up one ball, then another, then another... with the foundation specific and clear and the details all choreographed... both the external shape AND the things my mind is holding

-and I usually have one or two places where I am working this way for minutes at most- the rest is more normal acting stuff where I am scoring elements of the work into normal acting scoring

-and sometimes I have a blissful moment or two where i get more than I bargained for OUTSIDE those times where I am consciously trying to juggle way more than the normal joe...

-over the years I am getting better at holding this for longer and longer periods of time- but I am talking minutes versus seconds.. I would say that I can hold it consciously with an audience and memorized text etc... for maybe 3-5 minutes at best and it is REALLY HARD with text! really hard! and also hard with movement that is predominantly muscular (similiar challenge for actors with difficult text as for dancers with intense choreography)

-next show i am going for more! Cause when I am there (and I have done studies with other performers to prove this very thing) the audience feels it! and i want to see how far i can go with this stuff!! So build specifically and slowly with small and realistic objectives.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

moving on

So One Pure Longing is done...

and life moves forward. As I rehearse Poetic License, I am thrilled to be back in the actors process- loving this show, able to not be playwright- but performer in a finished solid piece! I love this piece- it's fun, has depth and I keep finding new things in it... of the three characters... Marty (the professor), Kathryn her sister with MS and the angel, Marty feels much cleaner/more specific now and the angel I am finally figuring out (takes me YEARS to figure out my own plays!) I am excited and the logic and NEED of the character is finally clear. The challenge now is... the show does take a lot of energy and I am VERY out of shape- by the time I get to the angle I am pretty tired... and with only 2.5 weeks to the show in Amherst MA... not really enough time- so I will have to keep building my stamina (it doesn't help that I am rehearsing in Toronto in an unairconditioned location during a heat wave!!!)