One man's exploration in finding himself and his search for light, beauty, desire and art.
Friday, April 22, 2011
The Obsession Of An Art Form
I eventually did get back to school at the University of Montana and got my BFA in theater arts with an emphasis on directing and stage management. Taking some time off from that disastrous first go-round at college proved to be helpful in figuring out what it was I really wanted to do. A couple of years later I was ready to jump back into the theater. This time I focused my energies more on the technical side of the art. I fell in love with lighting and began to design shows and worked on every project I could that would teach me more about light. The keys to good lighting design for the theater come from observing the natural light as it changes through out the day. Know what and where the light source is that you are trying to recreate and begin your design process from there. I really began to pay attention to the properties of light. How the sun, streams though the window. How it changes color and intensity through out the day. How all the various sources of light have their own properties and qualities. I loved how you could say so much within the scene through the color and position of the light. Of course it’s quite subliminal to an audience and this made it what makes the process even more intriguing. I fell in love with theater history and drama literature. I became consumed with reading all the works of great writers. I loved the structure of how scenes were written and put together, discovering the arch of the characters and the play. Plays were not just mere words written on the page, they were entire microcosms of a universe that were self contained within their own specific set of parameters. I loved the way characters could reveal themselves through action and then finding the richly layered subtext that was often opposing or a contradiction to their actual motivations. I adored the writers’ Tennessee Williams, Herrick Ibsen, and Anton Chekhov scripts and the complexity of their characters and taboo themes of plot and structure. I became a master at script analysis, which then led me into directing. There was no undergraduate program for directing and so most of my work was done with graduate students and I would become the only undergraduate to get my degree with a directing emphasis. Then, of course with my background and passion developed in all other phases of technical theater, I turned out to be a very good stage manager. In fact this kind of become my bliss, because I had such great communications skills with all side of the theater spectrum. It was a perfect balance of my right brain/left brain activity. I could translate all the various departments into the single final element of the show. I became like the conductor of a symphony blending all the elements of the production into a perfect harmony. I became so proficient at it that I was always assigned to the guest artist who used to come to the University to teach or direct for a semester and absorb all the insight they had to offer. One break I flew to Paris because I had become so obsessed with the absurdist existentialist movements of such writer as Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco and Samuel Beckett and I wanted to see the roots of their origin. I had finally found my passion and it was defiantly in the world of theater. I finished my senior project by directing a full stage production of “The Glass Menagerie” on the main stage at the University.
Now for one week my friend Billy is coming back to Missoula and I will get to dabble in those talents again. Bill’s show is so amazing, possibly one of the greatest things I have seen or been involved in for some time. He speaks from his heart and the depth of his soul the journey of his process of creation. It is honest, compelling, bust a gut funny and tragic. He has now taken this show all over the globe. It is truly one of the shows that elevate the craft to an art. I highly recommend those that can see it to do so. If you like the style of structure of my blog, his show is based on the same style. Here is the contact information for the Missoula show.