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I'm an NYC-based director, and this is an outlet for my various musings about theater and about the city of New York. Sometimes the subjects run together, sometimes they are entirely separate, but between the two they comprise the most fitful, most intense, most trying love affair of my few years. They fill my head, my heart, my mouth every hour of every day; they could fill a book.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Lab is Over, Alas for Mankind.

The Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab has come and gone, and after doing nothing but wrangling with Strindberg's A Dream Play for three weeks straight, now that it's over, it already feels, ironically enough, like some kind of strange dream. People keep asking me, "did you learn a lot?" and I honestly don't know the answer. I certainly took in a lot of information - now time will tell whether or not I'll synthesize it into anything useful. Anne Catteneo, the Lab's relentlessly hard-working director, says that it could perhaps take four years to really process everything that you learn in these three weeks. It was director boot-camp, there's really no other way to put it. Exhausting, challenging, frustrating, eye-opening, and leaving it behind is bittersweet. As we came toward the end, I was running on fumes. The countdown became my mantra: "Three more days. Two more days. One more day." I don't think I moved on Sunday after it ended. But now, I keep thinking of my little yellow ID pass, how I wish it didn't say, "Expires July 17th" so that I could walk through the Lincoln Center stage door again, head to the rehearsal rooms in the basement, and go again.

But Strindberg himself, I think, said it best:

In the moment of goodbye,
When one must be parted from a friend, a place,
How suddenly great the loss of what one loved,
Regret for what one shattered.
Oh, now I feel the agony of existence!
So this is to be mortal...

One wants to go, one wants to stay.
The twin halves of the heart are wrenched asunder.

And I've found that, whatever my difficulties with A Dream Play - and I have many - Strindberg often says it best.

I'm sifting through all my notes, re-typing and summarizing the experience, in an attempt to get a handle on it all before it slips away. I'm hoping to have some more detailed blog posts about it in the near future too - but more on that later. But while I'm processing all that, if I learned anything from the experience it would be:

1. Trust your actors.
2. Trust your collaborators.
3. Always say yes before you say no.

More later. For now, back to attempting to pick up my life where I left it a month ago.

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