8/21/14, Day, 13,988 (Mercena Day 7): …and I still can’t stand and we’re all laughing…
We take a break from your regularly scheduled baby blogging for the following message:
This day is so named because our devised adaptation of Goethe’s Faust opened last night, and thanks to Heather and Sandra watching over Mercena, I was able to see it. Though it was strange to leave the house, I am so glad I did.
There is much I could write about the excellent work of the entire Faust team, but Mercena may wake from her nap at any moment so I will only say this: I always knew something was missing from the end of the play, one more shoe or two that needed to drop. When Mercena came nine days early, I assumed I’d missed my chance to figure it out in rehearsal.
So imagine my joy in seeing the play last night to discover that this wonderful ensemble had found the exact moment–the only choice–that could make the play feel truly complete. That it was the ensemble that discovered this moment made it all the sweeter, as this Faust is in part about the collective genius (and dysfunction) of ensembles (juxtaposed against the solitary genius of the play-within-the-play, Doctor Faust).
I can’t say more for fear of spoilers, except to say if you do see it, the naming of this day may give you a clue as to what I mean.
“Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy. The end product for her was not so much a successful poem, as something that had temporarily exhausted her ingenuity.” – Ted Hughes, Prologue to The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath
One final thought about the play, inspired by the quote above. Last night, I was fearful the audience would be empty except for Marielle the director and me. Instead, there were a number of dear friends present, some that loved the work, others that seemed indifferent, and of course others somewhere in between.
One of the hardest things for me as an artist is to accept that not everything I write will be a “table”; in fact, it seems I write very few tables in comparison to many artists I admire who write irresistibly sturdy plays. Sometimes I get lucky and write a table play, but more often than not, the material leads me to write a blender, or a beanbag, or a butterfly.
There is the pain that comes from feeling that you have failed your vision through a lack of discipline or craft; then there is the pain that comes from fulfilling your vision only to realize you’re writing chairs in an age of tables.
Last night watching Faust, I recognized both kinds of pain and just let them go. Maybe it’s the perspective of being a new dad (or just the exhaustion), but it felt like recognizing Plath’s truth that the play had indeed “temporarily exhausted [my] ingenuity” but that it had sparked the ingenuity in my collaborators in unexpected, exciting ways.
So thank you again to my Faust team for a wonderful process and production.
And now back to your regularly scheduled baby blogging…
With only a few minutes left in the day, and after having been interrupted many times in trying to complete this blog post, all I will say is that our nemesis, the Decaying Umbilical Cord Remnant, at last gave up the briny ghost, and Mercena has a liberated belly button!
Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…
Writing: 125 out of 157 days
Spanish: 114 out of 157 days
Music: 27 out of 62 days
What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”)
- Asked the EPA to strengthen limits on toxic emissions from refineries;
- Asked the EPA to end loopholes in the Clean Water Act;
- Asked Eric Holder to pursue an end to police violence nationwide;
- Joined the ACLU’s Protect the Vote campaign;
- Asked the USDA to reject apples imported from China;
- Ate and cooked local, organic, vegetarian food, and used cloth diapers for Mercena.