Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We Belong to Something Greater than Ourselves

Did you see the space shuttle and space station flying by in tandem above the Chicago sky last night between 9:31 and 9:36pm? Chris and I stepped out to the patio, faced Northwest and saw the two lights approaching and continue moving East Southeast. It was really cool.

It reminded us of how absolutely small we are here on Earth. We waved to the astronauts but I have a distinct feeling we weren't seen. We waved anyway and talked about the view those chaps up there were seeing ... clear night ... they could probably see our landmass and say, "Hey, Cap'n, we're over Chicago right now ... there's the Great Lakes!"

There's a lot of fatalistic conversation in the theatrical blogosphere as of late and, I admit, I take part of it on a daily basis and ask myself the eternal questions of Why and How. The discussions help firm up my own philosophies about our chosen artform.

.... and then I see a celestial occurance ... reminding me that the stars whose light we're seeing out there may well have died thousands or millions of years ago .... and I ask myself the questions all over again ... thinking about the galaxy always sends my brain a-whirlin' on an unanswerable, unfathomable trip ... and I remind myself of our own little microcosms, our own bubbles and it's these little things that keep us all moving.

Tony Adams over at posed the "Why do you do it and how does that shape your work?" question ... Here was my reply:

"My motivations have changed from year to year. I'm going to try to be point blank.

I create theatre because I feel I don't have another artistic medium to use that I'm able to do well and this is the one that makes the most sense to me, that I consistently get personal satisfaction out of at the end of the day. My grandfather is an artist and architect and uses his hands to create a picture. I like to paint pictures on stage using people, words and collaboration. I'm happy just sitting home with a glass of wine reading a play out loud. I've been doing that since I could read. (Not drinking wine, of course ...)

My father didn't want me to go to school for theatre and always discouraged my growing fascination with it, so that was a motivation to continue with theatre to prove him wrong because theatre was always a part of what I've wanted to do. I haven't spoken to my father since I graduated high school and he's never seen my work. My mother pointed out that a lot of the plays GreyZelda has chosen to do involves a character that is looking for acceptance against many odds and will do the worst or have the worst done to them just to see if others will abandon them or stay true.

A friend said that she thinks I'm motivated by "obstacles" and "anger". If someone tells me "NO", I get up in arms and, instead of doing nothing, I create theatre.

I like the fire.

I want to communicate. I want to prove my point. I love that spark of inspiration. I'm addicted to it. I love seeing an artistic plan come together. I love the synergy of an amazing cast and collaboration. I love people and I love it when people leave the theatre and the process feeling different then when they came in ... preferably feeling good, but I like reaction either way.

And, I think, like a lot of theatre folks, I love the sense of family that comes with creating theatre."

Now, to leave you all with a quote from a movie that always gives me a little charge ...

Ellie Arroway: I... had an experience... I can't prove it, I can't even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever... A vision of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how... rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that we are *not*, that none of us are alone! I wish... I... could share that... I wish, that everybody, if only for one... moment, could feel... that awe, and humility, and hope. But... That continues to be my wish.


Tony said...

That picture is awesome!

GreyZelda said...

I wish I could credit it as our own ... but I believe it was taken in the Pacific Northwest. =)

I found it off of

Regardless, however ... that's what the space shuttle and station looked like from our view.