Kicking to the Left

Our latest project has taken a bit of a left turn. We are supposed to be a devising group, and here we are working on a new play. Conventionally.

Mark is the playwright. I am the director. And Jason is writing music.

I’ve been consulting with a costume designer (the ever-talented Patti McCory), and, in a feat of last-minute generosity, Diego Villada has agreed to help me with some fight choreography from afar. My colleagues at the University of Evansville have been incredibly accommodating about letting us use the May Studio Theatre for rehearsals and odd items from props storage.

We’re not exactly breaking new ground with our process.

I have mixed (get it?) feelings about that.

I feel lucky to be collaborating with such talented people on an exploration of the all-too-timely complications of police brutality.

I know this collaborative territory.

What, you ask, makes this an In the Mix production?

Perhaps you’ve noticed. It’s been a while since we’ve produced anything. When Lauren moved away, and Mark and I went on a half-year adventure overseas with our family, we talked about exploring collaborations at a distance. We had a lot of grand ideas about how we’d send each other inspirational material and shape it into a web-based performance piece.

But then I found out that my video editing program (Premiere) wouldn’t work in Europe. And we spent most of our time on the basics: figuring out where we’d eat and sleep, locating free wifi connections, and, frankly, just taking things in.

As all our best intentions flagged, we (mostly) avoided letting our biggest fear eke its way into conversation. In spite of the surge of energy we felt when we got to collaborate with The Fourth Wall through an NET Seed Grant, we couldn’t guarantee we’d be able to continue as an ensemble.

Here’s the thing, though. Because we had already developed the notion that we could become a core ensemble with itinerant collaborators, it was easy for us to embrace Mark’s idea to respond to Ferguson with a play that could work itself out on its feet.

Plus, our friends from The Fourth Wall had told us about Indy Fringe during our NET Seed Grant collaboration, and with their specific advice, what had once seemed logistically impossible suddenly became plausible.

Admittedly, we didn’t know this process would become so conventional. We thought we might be able to pull off a production with a fully integrated approach to sound, a dream we officially abandoned yesterday in a flurry of emails between me, Jason, and Mark. (Yes, even though we live in the same house, Mark and I often communicate via email. In fact, even as you read this, he and I are emailing at a distance of five feet.)

So here we are: recommitting to our desire to keep this ensemble alive, focusing on the part of our mission that acknowledges our limitations, and keeping ourselves In the Mix.

 

Posted by on August 2nd, 2015

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