Control and Surrender

Anne Bogart's picture

I am currently directing Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth at Glimmerglass Festival (come visit this summer in beautiful Cooperstown, New York and catch the entire season of operas between July 11th and August 22nd). This past April with SITI Company, I co-directed the theater is a blank page with visual artist Ann Hamilton. These two productions provide a study in contrast around issues of a director’s control.

The reciprocal link between artistic and scholarly work

Anne Bogart's picture

An acting student at Columbia University once mentioned that her father, a surgeon, had a saying: “Study one, do one, teach one.” I instantly recognized that this formula, familiar to surgeons, “study one, do one, teach one,” is precisely the right equation for me as well. The ratio that allows me to be the best possible theater artist is: 1/3 research, 1/3 directing and 1/3 teaching. If I do not dedicate enough time to research or if I teach too much or too little, my work as a director, as an artist, is compromised. The correct balance among the three activities is key. 

Faith and the Vacuum

Anne Bogart's picture

One who could make of himself a vacuum into which others might freely enter would become master of all situations. (Okakura Kakuzo) 

I probably share with many a terror and trepidation around the process of creating new work.  I am often frightened and apprehensive of an upcoming rehearsal or difficult encounter.  My stomach churns in a chaotic mess. But there is a saving grace that keeps me moving forwards: the image of my shoes.  Literally. I look down and see my shoes walking, one step after another, towards the rehearsal or towards the encounter. The fuel that makes this dreadful walk possible is faith.  I try to cultivate the faith that something positive will occur once I arrive.  

the theater is a blank page @Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH: some random thoughts afterwards

Akiko Aizawa's picture

My dearest friend, Tom asked me “How did it go?”. And I tried my best to answer.  

I’m still digesting about the experience of “the theater is a blank page”. It was deep, meaningful and somehow ephemeral.

Here are some random thoughts.

the theater is a blank page: diary_thursday, 4.9.2015

Akiko Aizawa's picture

Hello friends, 

“the theater is a blank page” team came to Columbus, OH at the end of the last week, and began to explore our journey.

The Art of Adjustment

Anne Bogart's picture

The Taoists describe the art of life as the art of constant adjustment to the current surroundings.  Similarly, nothing could be more central to a successful creative process than the ability to adjust to what is happening in the moment.  A painter continually adjusts to the previous strokes on the canvas.  A musician adapts to the room and to the choices of other musicians.  A theater artist is sensitized to the constant spatial and temporal changes that are taking place from moment to moment.  Clearly the practice of adjustment is essential to artistic training.

Allie's Questionnaire

Anne Bogart's picture

Allie Lalonde, SITI Company’s wizard of communications and development, is also simultaneously writing her final thesis paper in completion of the MFA requirements for Columbia University’s Theater Management and Producing Program in the School of the Arts.  Her thesis addresses issues about audiences in our current environment of technology and social media. Allie sent me a series of questions that I found very worthwhile and provocative. For the February blog I would like to share her questions and my answers with you:

Moving the piano: a conversation between two ensembles

ConArtists's picture

Impressions of the ConArtists after a week-long residency at Double Edge Theatre with the SITI Company

By Ria Samartzi

Thinking back on our time in Ashfield many images come to mind, training in the barn, frolicking in the snow, mountains of kale, the endless supply of coffee and the conversations that accompanied it and moving pianos. 

But before any of that of course, we had to leave New York City. We arrived at open space, quiet and an entirely different time signature. 

‘We received a Wonderful, generous welcome from Double Edge today. They welcomed us with delicious food and then performed for us, a stunning, athletic, beautiful survey of the entire 20th century called The Grand Parade. Then they fed us again.’

Getting Lost

Anne Bogart's picture

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.  (André Gide)

In 1947 Nina Vance, who at the time had only $2.17 in her handbag but was determined to start a new theatrical venture, emptied the contents of her handbag onto a table and proposed that with that available money she would found a new theater company.  Postcard stamps at the time cost one penny apiece.  She and her friends addressed 217 postcards inviting people to gather at a particular time and place to discuss starting a new theater.  And thus was born the Alley Theater in Houston, Texas, one of the nation’s leading regional repertory theaters.

The Business of Busyness

Anne Bogart's picture

Several years ago the performance artist and composer Laurie Anderson spoke with my directing students at Columbia University and advised them never to relate their dreams to other people. “No one ever wants to hear the details of your dreams,” she said. Later I shared Laurie’s insight with Leon Ingulsrud, my colleague and Co-Artistic Director of SITI Company, who then proposed a few other things that people never want to hear about: “People never want to hear about how busy you are or how tired you are,” he said.

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