Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Several thousand plays in 4.2 million minutes.

Applejacked (2010), with Caitlin Stainken and John Pierson (Photo by Evan Hanover)

This weekend marks my eighth year as an ensemble member of The Neo-Futurists. I made the decision to mark the time based on my first weekend in the show, rather than the night I was cast, since our standards of membership demand that you are consistently creating and performing new work, not simply showing up in the room. So eight years ago was the first weekend that I performed something I had written and directed, on the stage of the Neo-Futurarium, for an audience that had given us money, and only then did I consider myself well and truly involved.

In theory the internet is a medium of unlimited space, and if I was a being of unlimited time I might spend a not insignificant amount of it unloading here the entire sensory archives of this wing in my library, criss-crossed bandoliers of bullet points containing lengthy anecdotes about Chloe’s use of eggs and John’s use of milk crates and Heather’s use of fierce, coiled-spring countenance; of half-naked ninjas and greens that were hard to describe and speeches the speed and blister of cyclones; the jewel-box world Mary made of paint and potatoes in under three minutes; the passionate impressions Dina built of scary white masks and Andrew Bird; the various explorations of clown to be found in Kristie and Dean and Tim and Eliza and Leah’s arts; the way Kurt’s work makes mental labyrinths of your perspective, building and breaking down walls on every side of you. I’d rattle off these and a thousand other moments and take a breath only because I needed to. I would do that and the fact that I’m not is only because I do not live in a perfect chronosphere that bends to my will as necessary.

What it all really comes down to is my love and gratitude, to the artists who were gone before I arrived and who passed through while I’ve been there and those who I’m watching experience now what I experienced in 2004. I’m trying to say thank you.

Thank you Jay and Dina and Jonathan and Andy and Rachel and Noelle and Ryan and Joe and John and Dean and Caitlin and Jessica and Tim and Sharon and Steve and Heather and Phil and Lisa and Tif and Eliza and Mary and Jonathan and Genevra and Chloe and Greg and Leah and Kristie and Megan and Trevor and Diana and Sean and Kurt and Brenda and Rob and Molly and Jill and Eevin and Desiree and Ryan G and Jacquelyn; and also to Mindy and Dan and Luke and Scotty and Taylor and Rachel S and Justin and Kevin and Dylan; and also to Alex and Emjoy and Seth and Clifton and Dan K-H and Evan and Steve H and Merrie and Steve W and Tanya and John S and John B and Carl and Andra and Ian and Lindsay and Oriana and Dan M and Jessica M and Steve P and Mandy and Brent and Don and Megan G and Annie and Jen and Jeff and Tim S and Bennett and Susan and it is all but certain that I’m forgetting somebody. The audience. I’m forgetting the audience.

It wouldn’t be honest of me — and if nothing else a Neo-Futurist is supposed to be honest — to pretend that I haven’t had brief flashes this year when I’ve thought that the time might have arrived to put this chapter of myself away. In truth, there have been times that I’ve wondered if maybe I had missed my exit some time ago, and that I now exist in the place moreso due to momentum than relevance. It’s not that I’m no longer enjoying the work; the work remains as stressful and invigorating and rewarding as ever. The ensemble is as strong as it has ever been and every new infusion of Neo-Futurists has given me something new to learn about either myself or how to make work for the stage. It’s not Robin’s birth and rapid maturation (and this very morning, in fact, he finally managed to prop himself up into a full crawl position). But the nature of our beast is to be in constant ephemera, to change the show each weekend and to acknowledge the changes in the performers and the audience each night. Very little of our art is static for long. That’s by design. I know that I’ve changed as well but I’m not sure it’s possible to change as quickly, and while within the hours of rehearsal and performance I feel the energy of lightning bolts and playful cats, outside of that context I occasionally feel like some ancient hermit from the ruins of a Roman outpost.

But I do think I’ll stay. There’s something more that’s been woven into me than the mere understanding of community, here; and if I’m being honest with myself as well as anybody else listening, I do still believe that anything worth doing is also worth the experience of continuing to do it.

An eight on its side is infinity. But an eight upright is infinity on its side. Here’s to number nine.

Current Music: Guster, “Careful”

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This entry was posted on July 27, 2012 by in Neo-Futurists, Performance, Theatre.
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