It’s strange to see a piece of art not need you anymore. It’s like the day the kids leave home for school. Suddenly after all this time and effort, the thing that you have put so much investment in no longer wants your help.
“No, it’s fine. I already know. Jamie taught me like, five years ago. I’m fine on my own.”
For any parent, I’m sure, this leaves you with a complex mixture of feelings: Emptiness, a bit of depression, and maybe, underneath it all, a secret sense of freedom.
Last weekend, one of our actresses made a man break down in tears. We’ve left people stumbling behind us, unsure of which way is up or down. Somehow, without me even realizing it, the play has evolved into something that has a kind of horrible beauty. People enjoy the performance, but are at the same time repulsed by the fact that they enjoy it. It leaves them twisted.
One of my mentors, András Visky, once told me that if a scene makes someone laugh, they should immediately ask themselves why they are not crying. I couldn’t ask any more from a play other than to make someone pause. Aside from it being time to go into production, there is no other way of knowing that the performance is ready.
Unfortunately, some productions never are. They go onstage half baked, ill conceived, or just don’t have “it” anymore. Trial by audience is the final testing ground.
But watching the way that our accidental audiences in Grand Rapids have reacted so far, I’m confident and happy to announce that there’s nothing more I can do, except maybe go off and have a midlife crisis.
So long, Stories in Blue. Remember to write if you have the time.