What Blake Said

Two years ago I attended the One Yellow Rabbit summer lab intensive. My good fortune to study theatre making (story, choreography, set design) with a whack of whacked out starry eyed artists in their early 20’s plus 3 older freaks like me with whom I could compare mortgage rates and chest pains.

Wish I understood some secrets of theatre.

I wish I could rewind the tape and see how ideas start and come together. I attended the summer lab with the hope I might get insights.

On the first day Blake Brooker told everyone that he loves deadlines. Deadlines force things to move on, get done, manifest decisions, commitments crystallize… something like that. What total bullshit I thought. I don’t care about deadlines and I’ve made a lot of records, made a lot of soundtracks, produced a  lot of other people.  This was no golden nugget to demystify theatre, shit.

But as time passed I think I was wrong. I started to realize that theatre people have the same relationship with finishing things as I do with finishing records or soundtracks. Blake’s musings about deadlines were just that they were a useful aspect of the structure of doing the work. Right. I can finish what I start, whether it is good is another question.

This was no small awakening. Kind of a reminder to simply make the work and not get too heady about judging it, at first anyway.

The next day he spoke about putting ideas on a bulletin board, gathering different ideas in one place, stare at it, think about it…Denise who is the actual grand poobah of the summer lab intensive also spoke about adding ideas to a central place and let those ideas percolate. Doesn’t really sound profound does it? But it was to me and so was their confidence. So the secret to theatre was that you think about it and then make something. Ah Ha! Blake was like whatever, we’ll finish it, we have a deadline.

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