Theatre / Director's Statement
There was a time when our live entertainment, and our mythic life, were one and the same. Shamans of all cultures were the storytellers, the performers and the wisdom holders of their time. The stage was set around the fire. The audience was the participants of a sacred rite. The backdrop was the immensity of nature. The Shaman was the Showman.
At one point in history, the idea of our connection to nature shifted. There appeared to be a division between our animal nature, the body we inhabit, the body of the earth and our higher, more “spiritual” self. The concept of duality came into being. Good vs. Evil. Us vs. Them. The Sacred vs. the Profane. We started to separate our entertainment and our spiritual experiences.
Much of modern culture has become trivial because of this separation. There is a glorification of the baser qualities of humanity, without the understanding that our animal and our intellectual sides are part of one manifestation that is a whole expression of the Cosmos.
When did this start to happen? Why did this happen? There are reams of books and musings on this subject. What interests me is how a unification of so-called opposites could occur. That is what attracted me, as an artist, to create the theatrical works and experiences I have done.
I have been inspired by pop music, fashion, and films. Classic and avant-garde art and performance movements have influenced me. I have explored the history, the mythology and music from tribal cultures. I have experienced rituals from the European, Middle Eastern cultures and the African Diaspora. I have delved into the works of Campbell, Jung, and Mircea Eliade.
One night I was at the Theatre for the New City, which is a legendary Off-Off-Broadway theatre in the East Village. It was Halloween and I was asked to drum for a ritual that was part of the theatre’s yearly extravaganza. It was a sweet ceremony. At the end the audience was invited to dance. The audience threw themselves into the dance, and what ever was sweet and quaint about the ceremony suddenly became wild and fierce.
It was at then that I had an, AHA Moment!
What if a ceremony had the creative sensibility of a well-crafted theatre performance? What if a live performance had the intention of not only entertaining, but actually invoking a true ecstatic experience for the audience? What if the proscenium stage were abolished, and the audience were totally immersed in an performance that was primal in its passion and modern in its creativity?
It was from that place of exploration that I created my works with the gifted artists and performers I have directed. And it is from that place that I will continue to do.... so. My intention will always be to bring the ancient and the tribal into today’s context. The works presented will not only entertain but also be transformative for the audience and the performers as well.
“In imitating the exemplary acts of a god or of a mythical hero, or simply by recounting their adventures, the people of an archaic society detaches themselves from profane time and magically re-enters the Great Time, the sacred time.” - Mircea Eliade