As a playwright, there are certain plays you write that become your personal favorites. Usually, they are plays that only work for a few people, and plays that are marked by a personal experience you had in seeing them come to life, or a mystical experience that accompanied the process of writing it. Last night, I was lying in bed trying to motivate myself into staying up to watch the eclipse. Although I didn't make it before sleep engulfed me, I did fall asleep thinking about a play I had written fifteen years before which was coincidently called, 'Total Lunar Eclipse'. The play was about a film actor who is shooting a scene in a restaurant. He is sitting at a table at a window, with the moon in full view. As fate would have it, unbeknownst to the film crew and the actor, as the cameras rolled, the moon outside the window began her dance with the earth and sun through a total lunar eclipse. At the same moment the eclipse begins, a light explodes knocking the man from his chair. During the fall that renders him unconscious, he finds himself on the moon, interacting with seven strange archtypical women, part from his past, part from his future. He is confronted with each one of them, both personally and collectively for the duration of the eclipse and the play. As farfetched as the scenario sounds, there was a strange beauty that emerged from the play. As I've mentioned before, each play that somehow finds its way into a production, is always accompanied by a surrounding energy from 'real' life, and this play was no exception. Valeria, a most talented costume designer, designed the costumes as only she could, with an understanding of what I was doing unsurpassed in my theatre experience. (when this happens in a collaboration its other worldly and a bit twighlight zone unhinging). Now for the extraordinary. (If that was not enough) her boyfriend at the time was, and I'm not kidding here, a German psychiatrist named Helmut. Both of them became my most important collaborators on the play. How does one line that up? How does the moon line up behind the earth blocking out the sun's rays to create an eclipse? How did I venture to write a play about archtypes without knowing that a German psychiatrist and an avante garde costumer would appear to help us all understand the experience? As we say in the theatre, "it’s a mystery…" And this was a profound one. How many coincidences are needed to justify something else going on in the deep crevices of the spirit or psyche? I don't know, I only know that it happened, and it was miraculous in its unconventional and progressive revelation. It was one of those experiences that I sometimes have, where I am witnessing all the existing variables and can't fully explain the miraculous way they are working together. Although I believe there is, once again, a book about the experience, I will just say that I could never repeat that experience in the same way that the universe cannot exactly replicate that particular eclipse. So there is always another one.
This morning, I realized that it is also one of the 'missing plays', as I'm now realizing that there are several plays in my canon that have gone missing. I have no copy of it. If there is someone out there possessing a copy of this play, please let me know. In the strange way that the memory sometimes serves up our past experiences, this morning I am wondering how and why I ended up choosing a path to explore these strange artistic experiences. Or did it choose me? Can I have a 'do over'?
There are pages more to write about recounting this experience, but I haven't got the strength to move it forward. As always, my brain is scrambling to unmask my direction. For the last two weeks, I feel as though I've thrown a giant bowl of pasta against the wall, to see which of the noodles will stick. Its typical of the way I'm conditioned to operate, come into town, preach the gospel of a whole new artistic movement, motivated by projects and ideas, all while thinking to myself, where will the resources to do these things come from? How will I eat? How will I live? Why can I not get off this crazy train? Is there any value whatsoever in placing that which is subconscious on a stage for people to watch? How did I get here? As you can see from the writing lately, there are more questions than answers for me lately.
And then there is love. I used to believe that love motivated all things, healed all things, gave sight to all things, gave all things life. This morning, I'm stumped and wondering how it became so fickle and shallow in my life. Its as though I'm given a small bundle of it like firewood, but I must burn it to keep from freezing to death. As though I've been given the mandate to only have enough for one fire at a time. When the coals are cold, I get on my horse and look for more wood, so that I can live through another singular night. I used to believe that I could start a fire that the whole world could stand around, and the wood supply would be endless. I want to believe that the cold weather has not jaded me, that I will come across a forest that I can live within, but for now, it seems I'm riding through the desert, and the desert is either hot or cold. Although I am reassured by the notion and recent short experience of love, still it remains unrequited and distant. There are so many things that I have learned as I get older, so many experiences to call upon, so many questions answered, but as for love, she has only created more questions.
So very self absorbed this morning, so unwilling to serve, so unwilling to risk, except for art, why am I always willing to risk my life to create art? Why does my brain constantly plan to build out theatre spaces and put a creation in the middle of it? If I would have been a painter of canvases, it would have been so much easier…