Tag Archives: artist statement

Artist’s Statement: Director

And…here it is.  The result of a lot of research, brain-storming and re-working.  Not bad.

When working on a production as a director, I find myself infinitely excited by the potential of the artists around me. Together, we will create visual and visceral aesthetic, but first comes a working aesthetic: a pulsing, floating, flexible, beautiful collaboration. This, in turn, breeds creativity, excitement, enthusiasm and trust, steadily becoming a process not just to create a play, but to reveal a new truth within each collaborator. If I do my job well, every artist will have a moment of truth, myself included. I will never know when and I am not always privy to each, nor should I be, but I know I am heading in the right direction when epiphanies start happening.

At the heart of every dramatic piece are the words. Theatre is telling a story. Were I to strip away the lights, the fancy costumes, and the scenes, and stand before you with the script in my hand, the words should hold you captive and play out a scene in your minds eye. The rest is just icing on the cake. Needed, wanted, loved, and revered icing, but without the foundation of poetry and prose, I find little to work with that has meaning for me.

Once I find the words, I move beyond simple story telling, looking for silence, stillness and negative space. Used with aplomb, these hidden gems create the energy-filled tension that pulses, unwinds, or explodes. Silence, stillness and negative space create the fourth dimension that we all crave in a story. Theatre is not real life. Bodies can move as we see them in our dreams, in other dimensions, and non-linearly. By using bodies the way we use them in our dreams, they become something more, and the story becomes something more.

Because I believe theatre can use the unreal to more deftly explore the real, I love to mix times and mediums into a new kind of world. Our thoughts are not projected on a screen; we do not freeze in time with our neighbors; Ancient Grecians did not wear biker jackets, but by placing the unreal into the real, I can highlight moments, exaggerate ideas, pluck out multifaceted truths, place them before an audience, and make them listen.

Oddly enough, my favorite moment in a production is not the play itself. At the end of the first performance, I love to squeeze into a corner in the lobby and watch the artists greet their families, friends, and fans. Their pride is my pride. In the end, they made the audience take note, listen, and think. They provided the bricks; I just lovingly slapped in the mortar to bind it all together.

Writing an Artist’s Statement

I find it daunting to write an artist’s statement.  It means tackling the unconquerable task of identifying WHY I do theatre.

This is what the world asks you as an actress:

Why do you do theatre?

Out of my lips always came a weak “um…..because I love it.” And the pale catch phrase rang in my ears, but rarely crossed my lips, “it’s in my blood.”

WHY do I do theatre?  Because I can’t not do theatre.  I’ve tried.  Believe me I’ve tried.  As a young actress, I found myself hurling back and forth between ecstatic joy and darkest misery.  And I’m not talking young adult blues.  This was so clearly linked to my life in the theatre that it pained me simply to attempt to identify the exact cause.  Because identifying WHY I hated what I loved meant that I would have to walk away from this thing coursing through my veins. I would have to drain the very life from my body, entering hell in the search for joy.

As it turns out, it wasn’t really all that dramatic, or traumatic:  I just don’t love acting all that much.  I love the sense of pretend, the freedom from my everyday fears, the ‘other-worldliness’–for lack of a better word.  But I love telling the whole story much more than just one character’s story.  And I only discovered this when I tried out directing.

Which brings me back to the WHY because, as it turns out, an artist’s statement is not about the WHY.  It’s about the HOW and the WHAT and the WAY.

I did a little poking about and although most how-to resources are written for the visual artist, they’re still quite helpful because the tips all include identifying material and color.  I have never considered my directing work as a whole based on tangible materials.  I’ve been tackling it in terms of people, stories, literature, and relationships.  In short, the intangible.  But when broken down into tangible materials, it becomes space, crowds, rough, smooth, silky, red, yellow, blue, white, distance, length, height, wood, metal…you get the idea.  Which, in turn translates into the story.

The HOW is enough to imply the WHY.  No one cares about WHY once you’ve passed adolescence.

And this is my current task: to put on my grown-up shoes and go beyond the unanswerable WHY to the very attainable HOW.