August 16th, 2014.
It’s the last but one morning…
I’m sitting on the rough-hewn bench by Mikro church, with my replacement yoga mat, waiting for the first presentation of the day to begin.
I am the first. Just saying…
My head aches strangely, almost as if someone last night forced open my mouth and poured a tad too much tsipouro down it…
I fear, last night, I may have been thralled….
It is FAR TOO EARLY to be up. Just saying…
I look like a woman of a certain age, but, in truth, this morning, I am more nearly an old sun lounger left out in the rain too long…. rusty, creaky, someone should throw me in a dumpster…
And yet, I am full of joy.
Even that stupid cockerel isn’t annoying me.
People all these past few weeks have been asking me…”How is it, having your play done by us? In Greek? Outdoors!!! Apprentices!!! Is it the same??? Is it normal?” Here, today, finally, some answers.
Pandora is the most unfortunate human being on the planet.
Me? I am one of the most fortunate.
I am a playwright and for these three and a half weeks, I have been watching magic made with young gods and goddesses. They, in turn, have been being led by only slightly older gods and goddesses from a collection of deities called One Year Lease. There’s several geniuses among them. Or should that be genies? Anyway, they can turn basketballs into fruit, yellow rope into anything and almost any raw vegetable into a pasta sauce for thirty people. Oh, and one of them can talk in a rare language called “dance”…oh, and one can not also act, but can alchemise others into acting…and they’ve ALL got these kind, deep noticing eyes. One of them, I am convinced, is my long lost son…Who, in turn, have been led by a Buddha a Saddhu, a Rabbi, a Priestess, A Guru (please chose appropriate respectful nomenclature) …okay, she’s called Ianthe!!!
I have experienced the Olympus of playwriting.
(Anybody marking the continuing over-stretching of Hellenic mythic reference? Endaxi!)
Last night, the fourth of the performances of “Six Seeds” …and it nearly cracked my heart wide open…I felt at the absolute epi-centre of why we make drama…drama is Magic…The definition of Magic? The Art of Making Wonderful Changes…I felt in Megalo that we were having the most pure empirical experience of making wonderful changes….a brand new company of actors, all dressed in white (Hades of course, in black, very scary…!!!!) a square full of people wanting that experience of drama…one group of people bringing its story to tell to another group of people. Then, the white company done, those now familiar, very dear black-caparisoned company come in and change the air….(That’s Oscar Wilde talking…theatre is about changing the very viscosity of the air. We were remarking from the back of the auditorium together….quite a lot of jealous playwrights, living and dead, have been with me, observing you, you know. Go out and find them…they are VERY keen for you to work on THEIR texts too but, remember to COME back to me!!!!)
….about breathing the same air. Except…this air is mountain air, these people mountain people…and…the story was their own story…about their children, about the hell just a thin crust away from us, under all our feet, about that wispy, floaty thing flying always about our heads…..Hope. Always now for me, in a white dress, and called Natalia. It was the fourth of our shows, which have each been exciting, surprising, miraculous, expensive (the torn bleeding feet, the mosquito bites, the unexpected pomegranates that are really FREE gifts situations, the perilous pink bus journeys…) I’ve been fortunate to watch, in as many days, four Daedalus, Pandoras, Demeters, Hermes and two Persephones whose acting choices, skill and commitment I would be thrilled to say my words on any stage in any theatre anywhere…but, specially…here, on the hard stone ground in a country that could do with some Big magic at the moment. Also two convincingly canine Cereberuses, a mindblowing Chorus…oh, and that transcendent Icarus.
How is it having my play done by You Chaps? (chaps is Brit for Guys…I can do translations TOO, Meropi!)
The answers to your questions…
How is it having my play done by You all?
In Greek???? fantastika!!!!
Outdoors? Brilliant! ( trans. Brit for “Awesome”)
Apprentices????? As If!!!! Ianthe just hired a load of actors from Equity… PRETENDED they were students, right….?
Is it the same? It’s never the same!
Is it normal?
It’s Never normal!!!
I’ve made over sixty pieces of theatre.
I’ve had, perhaps four or five horrid experiences.
The majority have been similar in this one way.
You TOGETHER make this ship of air, this wheel that turns this cart that carries everything, this bridge between you, the makers and the audience….you all start off as Apprentices…because this new this special craft has never been made before
Never in this way never in this unique combination of people, props, place, space, light, dark…
There’s always early euphoria
There’s always a few dark nights of the soul
There’s always love, compromise, the expected, the unexpected…
There’s always the moment when you think you,re just not going to pull it off
There’s always the moment that you Do pull it off.
Here’s what is unique about this Six Seeds here in The Greek mountains, August 2014….
I’ve never worked with a group so lovingly, rigorously, thoughtfully led.
I’ve never EVER known a group work as hard
Never EVER felt such complete commitment to make something work as magnificently in so short a time.
Never EVER worked with a body of people who were so open and generous of spirit, so open of heart, so kind to an old British sun lounger…
Thank you, you Americans (oh, and that girl from The Himalayas! Oh and that woman with the Dutch mother and Greek father…oh, listen ANYONE whose journey from ANYWHERE sent them on their life’s journey from wherever to HERE, Mikro Papingo, today that didn’t start in England!
You will be blessed if you meet as wonderful a combination in your future lives.
For the (hopefully) few dark times…lost in those dark woods…Here’s my wish for you all.
“As a queen sits down
Knowing a chair will be there
Or a general raises his hand
And is given field glasses
Step off assuredly into the blank of your mind
Something will come to you ”
With love, awe, respect and(if I had any) the most enormous gift jar of Merenda.