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Thursday, July 12, 2012
The Chaos Is Your Friend
We open our little compendium of playlets this week (tomorrow night, in fact), and, true to form, our nights have gotten hectic. Up until Sunday, everything had been copacetic and cozy as we rehearsed our actors in the little time slots we all found convenient. But on Sunday, we moved into our venue to begin our technical rehearsals, and everything became a mess.
"Mess" is what happens when you start using objects made of metal and glass which require power cords and electrical sockets. It's when you put costumes on the actors and find out that the measuring tapes were somehow defective and nothing fits. It's when your actors start forgetting what they've been saying and doing every night and day for the past two weeks.
This is all bizarre and unexplainable, perhaps; but it is inevitable.
This "messiness," as I call it, is a very important part of the process of putting a production on its feet. The trick is to bow humbly to the chaos and let it run its course.
Too many times, though, too many people want to control the chaos. It can't be done.
Even here, working on this little piece, one producer or another will take turns melting down when a sound cue is late or louder than it has to be or a light goes out when it should go on. I try to take them aside to explain that each of these machines is just as temperamental and insecure as a lead actor. They both require the same hugs and sweet nothings purred into their ears—followed by a swift kick to send them out onstage.
Yes, a little humility in the face of chaos works wonders. One should never forget that the purpose of all this frantic and seemingly meaningless rocking and rolling is to conceive a little bit of art.
And it will.
In spite of us all, it will.