31 December, 2018

"To a Child at the Piano" by Alastair Reid

To a Child at the Piano
by Alastair Reid

Play the tune again: but this time
with more regard for the movement at the source of it
and less attention to time. Time falls
curiously in the course of it.

Play the tune again: not watching
your fingering, but forgetting, letting flow
the sound till it surrounds you. Do not count
or even think. Let go.

Play the tune again: but try to be
nobody, nothing, as though the pace
of the sound were your heart beating, as though
the music were your face.

Play the tune again. It should be easier
to think less every time of the notes, of the measure.
It is all an arrangement of silence. Be silent, and then
play it for your pleasure.

Play the tune again; and this time, when it ends,
do not ask me what I think. Feel what is happening
strangely in the room as the sound glooms over
you, me, everything.

Now, play the tune again

28 December, 2018

FAQ - Part 6

1. You’ve premiered a bunch of new works (such as Arlington at the Vineyard Theater and Love Story at Walnut Street Theatre). What is the best thing about premiering a new theatrical work to an audience?

In my experience, there is absolutely nothing that can compare to being present at the birth of new work. I think the most profound experience I had with that was Arlington by Polly Pen and Victor Lodato— a solo (with a pianist/vocalist played brilliantly by Ben Moss) piece, told in direct-address about a woman waiting for her husband to return from fighting in a war that I debuted at Inner Voices in 2012, that went on to a fully realized production in 2014 at the Vineyard. It was one of the most challenging, confrontational, exhilarating experiences of my life in any arena. To be inside the creative crucible at the birth of a new work that felt so relevant, contemporary and important, crafting it daily with the creators, was the absolute honor of my life.

The world we live in deserves, craves, and needs new stories. Sometimes difficult, sometimes hopeful, stories.

2. Are there some specific works of art that have gotten you through tough times?
©hula seventy

A  real mixed bag here but here we go:

"Kid" Stuff:
  • The Magician’s Nephew
  • The Secret Garden
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Funny Stuff:
  • It’s Called a Breakup Cuz It’s Broken

Deep Stuff:

  • The works of Marcus Aurelius
  • Far From the Tree
  • Braving the Wilderness

I find children’s literature to be particularly soothing in times of crisis—perhaps because when I was a child, my life was in a state of low, sonorous, but constant crisis. I identified with the protagonist children in the stories above because I recognized their conditions—not necessarily the exact conditions, but close. I identified with The Magician’s Nephew because the protagonist wants nothing more than to retrieve a magical apple to make his dying mother well again. I wanted that for my father.
    Similarly,  The Secret Garden’s Mary Lennox saw the power of nature heal her chronically ill cousin back to health.
    By the time my father had passed away I was sharing my days with Harry Potter, who, in The Prisoner of Azkaban, thinks he sees his dead father perform an act of heroism in a time turning spell, only to learn the profound lesson that he did not, in fact, see his father—he saw himself. And Harry this performs the act of heroism because, having seen the image of himself perform the act, he now knows he is capable. That image has never left me.

It’s sardonic, brutal, best-friend-holding-your-shoulders bracing. It’s hilarious, painful and real: It’s Called a Breakup Cuz It’s Broken was given to me like a Holy Bible of how to break up by a friend from college passing through New York after her own horrendous breakup, at the dawn of one of mine. It’s not great deep literature but it’s fantastic. And crucial? It actually helped.

3. How do you feel you've grown artistically since your career began?

Tyne Daly taught me a phrase that her mother (also an actor) taught her:
    “Deeper. Fuller. Richer. Better.”
I think that sums it up as well as anything ever could. It’s my intention, it is my aspiration, it is my devotion.

I give fewer f*cks about the stuff that doesn’t really matter (praise, awards, fame, followers), and a lot more f*cks about the stuff that does (ethics, growth, lessons learned, relationships made, contributions to society at large). It’s less about me and more about how I can serve.

4. Where do you see yourself artistically in 5 years?

I would love to see each of my artistic “arms” lengthening and broadening.

I’d love to be consistently working as an actor and theatrical writer— contributing to the theatre.

I’d love to continue to relinquish my singing baggage and sing with greater ease, less drama, more joy, more clarity, and feel freer inside my technique so that there isn’t a single sound I don’t feel confident making.

I’d love to write more books. I’d love to see my books dramatized for the screen and play an active role in manifesting their creation.

Overall: I intend to continue to create and make works that matter to me personally as well as socially. I want to continue to learn new things and sharpen old knives. I intend to make personal, profound, universal, connective, and relevant work that matters to humanity on any scale.

I intend to keep walking my talk.

©hula seventy

09 December, 2018

Preview of 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' at Chicago Shakespeare

Cast members Melisa Soledad Pereyra, T.R. Knight, Alexandra Silber and Sam Kebede and took time out of rehearsal to share their excitement about the production, and why this production of Shakespeare’s audience favorite “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will have the whole theater laughing and dancing. Performances begin on December 6 in the Courtyard Theater at CST’s home on Navy Pier.


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