Thursday, September 27, 2012

Spalding Gray video

Here is a scene from Spalding Gray's seminal work, Swimming to Cambodia. I met Spalding a few years before he did this show at the Wooster Theater Group.

I saw an earlier  show at the Brattle Street Theater in Cambridge, Ma. in 1984. It changed my life. About twenty of us sat in the audience. He came onstage in his usual way. His voice and style was already established.

He spoke openly about his mother's suicide and masturbating at Walden Pond to feel closer to the Spirit of Thoureau. I was hooked. From that night on, I knew that solo performance/contemporary storytelling was my path. Who knew how far it would lead me.

I love you Spalding. You were my first and the best of the best. Your generosity onstage set the bar.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Creative Empowerment: The Right and Need to Create Your Own Work

I am sitting here in a cafe in my hometown of Santa Fe...pondering.

What do we crave? What do our Souls need? What is the highest path as an artist?

The answers are different for all of us. But, I do see certain patterns in common...either for better or worse no matter what the medium.

My medium is solo performance. It began almost 30 years ago when I met Spalding Gray and saw him perform an original show.

At the time I was studying acting and didn't realize it consciously, but I was already feeling confined.

I had performed in classical plays for years by then. I began as a young teen. Shakespeare, Molier, Albee, Pinter, the Greeks were already in my repertoire. I loved the experience of pouring my own emotional experience into a character. It was amazing. But the stories I was telling were not my stories.

I could relate to some. Many..not so much. Including the pinnacle. When I was twenty seven years old, I was in the Pulitzer Prize winning play "The Kentucky Cycle". It was a well done production, but less than satisfying. I has the realization "If this is the BEST, contemporary American theater can offer me and I am still not getting the experience I was desiring, I need to create my own work.

So, I did. I took the leap. The terrifying, exciting and HUGE leap into the world of creating my own work and helping others create their own work. It was raw, it was hilarious, it was heartbreaking, it was true, it was hard.

And I was hooked.

That was twenty some years ago.

What has my life been since?

It has been authentic. It has been hard. It has been joyful.

Mostly, it has been ALIVE. Vitally and unapologetically alive.

My medium is solo performance. Some will call it indulgent. Some will call it narcissistic. Sometimes it is. But not the way I strive to work with it.

I call it generous. I call it intimate. And I call it fulfillment in the way that conventional theater never could be.

My favorite musicians are always also composers. I'd take a rendition of one of Sam Llana's songs, straight from his own Soul and life over a polished Broadway voice or pop icon calling it in any

My own guide has been "do the most intimate work in alignment with your own soul as possible"And, you will find your true audience. The one who resonates with you.

Be bold. Risk failing. Be true. Be who you are. Put it on a stage and let yourself shine.