I went out on Saturday night to see a play that a friend had co-choreographed, Welcome Back to Harlem: A Hellfighter’s Story.
It was the first time the play had been staged for the public. And just as interesting as the play itself was the chance to see the collaborative process that script writers and actors must go through. As a writer, you work alone, then share your draft with one person at a time. Plays have a much more interesting (though probably messier) birthing process. This was officially a “staged reading,” and the playwright stood on stage afterwards to solicit feedback.
To me, that seems like inviting Goodreads commentators to bring you their feedback live and in-person. Something I would never be brave enough to do!
A completely different experience on Sunday: the kids and I took Min to Cirque du Soleil’s Totem for Father’s Day. It was the definition of “spectacle,” complete with death-defying acrobats and some darned impressive unicyclists. (We once took Min’s mom to see a Cirque production, and she declared it “surely the most grand show in all the world.”)
New topic. Bear with me. I recently had a drink with a friend who works at the Vancouver Art Gallery and she said something along the lines of: People don’t know what art really is. It’s not something that anyone can create. Real art has layers and is conceptual and isn’t something that you can just look at and understand.
Watching Harlem and Cirque this weekend, I felt myself rejecting her argument more and more strongly. Of course art has layers, and of course there is a place for “high art” in our world. But art is something that anyone can create, in infinite forms, from ambitious playwriting to amazing dance. From traditional quilt making to children’s book writing. (My recent reading of Howie White’s “How We Imagine Ourselves” likely helped me along here.) I’d hate to be too busy decoding concepts and lose the ability to gasp as a trapeze artist flies over my head.
So… onwards this week with art for all! Maybe I’ll create something world-changing. (Or my kids can, since apparently they don’t go to school anymore.)
In the meantime, I’m going to round off my today with one more highly cultural activity: