New Work, Performance and Writing
It's a piece of silliness about a Christian jewelry ministry. Okay, maybe it's less silly and more satire. I'm not sure, in some places, how satirical I am and how serious I am. Part of me wants to be the jeweler in the piece, only not out of the same . . . shall we say, convictions?
It's a piece I wrote and wasn't sure what to do with, so I'm glad it found a home. I say that like it up and wandered the world until it settled at Defenestration. I have a couple of other pieces that should do likewise.
I'm involved with Fieldwork this spring. By "involved," I mean I'm the facilitator of the session. The people we're getting are topnotch, I just wish it were twice as many. Or just two more would be about right. Finding independent artists who want to show new work and receive feedback is harder than I would have imagined. But that's not the point here tonight.
I'm making a new performance piece. Now, all my work has a religious bent, even though I often fight against that. But this new piece is perhaps more overtly religious. Or maybe I'm just not fighting the religiosity. I'm embracing it. I just hope it doesn't come off like some evangelistic pamphlet. That's always my worry. It needs to have it's own integrity, apart from any message. And at this very moment, I'm not even entirely certain what the "message" might be (although I'd prefer to think of it as a "theme").
Here's what I do know: It's a piece that I'm building based upon three sayings of the Desert Fathers, the 4th century monks who started the whole Christian monastic tradition. Perhaps even more, it's based upon Roberta Bondi's book, T0 Love as God Loves, which is about the Desert Fathers. But I'm not paraphrasing her, I'm paraphrasing the Fathers. The feedback that I've gotten so far is that the rough beginnings remind people of Buddhist ritual or maybe Yogic movement. It has something about our weakness being strength, which a notion from St. Paul. Yes, I guess that is the theme.
I also know that I don't want it to be a solo piece, although I've been showing these rough beginnings as solo performance. I'm talking to two friends/colleagues about performing with me and they're amenable, now we just have to coordinate rehearsal schedules and the like--which is always the hardest part. I'm tired of solo performance. I'm sure I'll do it again, but right now, I'm itching to work with other performers. And these two friends/colleagues are two people I respect and enjoy. We're brainstorming other ways to work together. We'll see how this goes.
There's so little financial reward in making performance work, which is disheartening at times. Especially if you're doing performance like I tend to make: meditative, introspective pieces for people with measurable attention spans. But when it's not disheartening, it's such a joy to me. The work is its own reason, commerce be damned. I don't want to say I make performance just for me--an audience is essential! But if my audience is a handful rather than an auditorium-full, well, the audience gives me joy as well, no matter what size.
I'll tell you more about the piece as it's made. And about the performers as the schedules clear up to reveal who'll actually be with me . . .