The Body is Your Teacher

So educate yourself:

Blood calories heartseyelash popcorn yawn

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Got No Strings to Hold Them Down

Evolution of the puppet in modern day theatre:

Yoho

Sound of Music. 1965.

littleshop-audrey2seymour

Little Shop of Horrors. 1982.

LionKingNY

The Lion King. 1997.

aveq

Avenue Q. 2003. First instance of Human Puppet Nudity on Broadway.

The-cast-of-War-Horse-photo

War Horse. 2007. 3 Puppeteers to each horse.

pizzaandbread

Bread and Puppet’s Decapitilized Circus. 2010. They’ve been around since 1962. At the end of every B & P performance, the group shares fresh baked bread with the audience, suggesting that art should be as basic to life as bread.

whitesnake

The White Snake. 2012 at Berkeley Rep.

kkong

King Kong. Australia 2013. 14 People to operate the King.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

How to Make Every Day Feel Like Saturday Morning

When faced with a question on balancing commercial pressures and creativity integrity, consider that a meditative mind might be the ticket:

“I came from painting. And a painter has none of those worries. A painter paints a painting. No one comes in and says, “You’ve got to change that blue.” It’s a joke to think that a film is going to mean anything if somebody else fiddles with it. If they give you the right to make the film, they owe you the right to make it the way you think it should be — the filmmaker. The filmmaker decides on every single element, every single word, every single sound, every single thing going down that highway through time. Otherwise, it won’t hold together. When there’s even a little hint of pressure coming from someplace else — like deadlines or going overbudget… — this affects the film. And you just want support, support, support… in a perfect world… so that you can really get the thing to be correct.

Now, this doesn’t happen these days — so, “support, support, support” — when you do dive within and experience this pure self — atma — pure consciousness — it’s the home of all the laws of nature. You get more in tune with those and … nature starts supporting you. So you have that feeling, even if they’re breathing down your neck, and there’s pressure here and pressure here, it doesn’t matter — inside … I say, “Every day is like a Saturday morning” — you got a great feeling, and it grows and grows and grows.”

– David Lynch

Everyday

Allow yourself permission to not concern yourself with what others think. Get busy being that version of yourself you want to be.

Rediscovering the Child

learnfastMaybe it’s been more than a little while since you allowed yourself to try something new, dig in with abandon, and fearlessly approach what you have no idea how to do.

Remember that we have all been beginners. There is no shame is starting and no time to late to start becoming the person you wish you be.

Approach it with childlike enthusiasm. No one tells an 8-month old that they’ll never learn how to walk. Because smack-talking a baby is bad form. Why allow the rules to change as you grow older?

Bolster new efforts of others, and you may find the courage to support your own.

Get kickin’ little one. There’s still more room to grow.

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That Old Black Magic Has Me In Its Spell

Lookbook: The Crucible, Arthur Miller

Great words conjure up great images. And The Crucible is nothing if not a master class in playwriting. Miller’s text ignites with its mix of magic, hysteria, and faith.

candles“There is prodigious fear in seeking loose spirits”

cantsleep“I cannot sleep for dreaming; I cannot dream but I wake and walk about the house as though I’d find you comin’ through the door.”

breathe a word“Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.”

fireflies“A child’s spirit is like a child, you can never catch it by running after it; you must stand still, and, for love, it will soon itself come back.”

hysteria“it’s the proper morning to fly into Hell.”

possession“Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.”

names“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Switching Up The Same Ol’ Habits For Better Ones

switch

When was the last time you did something out of the ordinary? Shook up your ingrained habits for ones that were foreign to you? Studies show that breaking from your traditional mode is good for the brain – it allows synapses to connect in new ways, gets you outside of your comfort zone, and generally makes you a more well-rounded individual. What’s not to like? But how do you go from indecision to action? Here’s a quick list to start you off:

1. Dig deep to find why the habit has been elusive up until now. You may have continuously told yourself that you’re “not a morning person” or “can’t cook” or “just hate running,” enough that it’s fully reinforced. But is the reason you’re not able to rise early actually because you burn the midnight oil? You sleep poorly? You’re overwhelmed? Bed just feels way too good? ( Understand that last one completely) Unpack why you think that oft-repeated mantra is a fact, and you may just find that it’s much more open to interpretation and ready for change.

2. Set up habit tracker that reminds you to stay on track. My personal favorite is Habit Forge which helps you track new habits for 21-days (the scientifically proven amount of time necessary to implement most new habits). You miss a day? It resets. If you prefer the Benjamin Franklin model of keeping your own notebook to stay on track, give that a go.

3. Get ahead of yourself. If you know you want to accomplish ten little goals tomorrow, give yourself an extra hour in morning, turn off the phone for an hour, carve out some space to get things done. Because that lecture you give yourself when you don’t get through your checklist doesn’t do anyone any good.

4.  Break the status-quo. Our minds are often on auto-pilot. Take notice of when you’re about to go down a familiar path, and see if you can find 5 other alternatives. Follow any of them.

5. Make it fun. If life-hacking your way to a more rewarding day-to-day doesn’t sound like an adventure waiting to happen, reevaluate. Make sure you’re looking at the changes as opportunities to grow instead of tasks-you-have-to-follow-or-else. Life’s too short not to enjoy it.

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In With the Old, Out Comes the New

As we’ve discussed before, creativity comes with a great deal of getting inspired, borrowing, and sometimes straight out stealing.

But who is to say that a derivative work cannot be equally as satisfying as the original? As long as the pieces are different enough, is it fair to say a certain one is better?

Take for instance the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera  The Mikado. The composers set the opera in Japan, far away from Britain, allowing them to satirize British politics more freely by disguising them as foreign notions.

Opera Australia’s 2011 production of The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan.

In 1939, the classic was adapted into a new piece entitled The Hot Mikado and performed with an all African-American cast. Primed with a lot more sass and a lot more swing, The Hot Mikado became a hit that is still performed to this day.

Now it’s been over 70 years since the original piece was given a facelift. Thus, theatres are still looking for ways to update the show and help it feel as novel and sexy as it was when The Hot Mikado first took the stage.

This recent production does just this by updating the 1940s American setting to a modern one that tips its hat to the original Mikado, complete with the “three little maids” in anime-style schoolgirl outfits. Up to you to decide which version you prefer – but I’d say there’s definitely room for both in the world of live performance.


Watermill Theatre’s production of The Hot Mikado in 2009

A Year Worth Living

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

– T.S. Eliot

sparkAs we reflect on another trip around the sun, let’s take stock of the all of the surprises and joys 2012 had to offer:

– Felix Baumgartner leaps from the edge of space and lands safely just a few minutes later.

– The Royal Shakespeare Company collaborated with international troupes for the World Shakespeare Festival featuring 37 productions, either of or inspired by the Bard’s plays,  in 37 different languages.

– People show immense compassion and prove the generosity of the human spirit post-Hurricane Sandy.

– Announcement made for a musicalisation of Pan’s Labyrinth coming to Broadway ASAP.

– Films break out into riskier territory and push the envelope with titles such as Cloud Atlas, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Looper, Les Miserables, and more

– The future is now. From DARPA’s cheetah robot which can run faster than any human, to Google View glasses hitting beta testing, to a woman being able to control a robotic arm merely using brain signals, we’re living in some incredibly fascinating times.

– Maryland, Maine, and Washington join the ranks of those states that have made equality a priority.

– No apocalypse! While many clamored on about the end times, my guess was that the Mayans were onto to something…just not what many feared. Sounds like rebirth is a rumblin’. Let’s hope 2013 allows for more awakening and understanding from all of us.

What do you hope to see in the new year? Wishing you all a beautiful new beginning.

A Culture Where Guilt Doesn’t Exist

PicMonkey Sample

What would it feel like to banish guilt from your vocabulary? To remove it and replace it with words that are action-oriented? What change may come from taking away words that no longer serve you?

I feel guilty

I should do that

I don’t want it

It can never happen

Little adaptations make for big change.

Almost Like Flying

Freedom is one of those things that we love and crave about being human. Want to take off on adventure? We can. Want to create something beautiful? We jump to it. But how does a person cope when they feel as though their freedom is hampered – by another person, situation, or even by their own body.

In a series entitled ‘Creating the Spectacle!’, a filmmaker offers an innovative take on finding freedom. This is such stuff that dreams are made on, guys.

In this video, the underwater wheelchair enables the occupant, Sue Austin, to go on a gentle, dream like exploration of an exotic underwater world.

“Through unexpected juxtapositions, this work aims to excite and inspire by creating images that transform preconceptions.”

 

Love it? More at We Are Free Wheeling

Because Life’s Too Short Not To

When in doubt, remember:

Laughter heals. Embarrassments, heartaches, confusion, or whatever else may ail you. A good laugh can help combat that ever-present need to take yourself too seriously. A healthy dose of humor will always come in handy.

Apologize. Not for being yourself, but if you actually make a mistake – big or small – take responsibility and make the first step towards salvaging the relationship. Don’t let the ego get in the way of the bigger picture. Your pride is not as important as the person you hurt.

When you have no control, let go. Nothing will drive you crazier than trying to fix what cannot be fixed. Realize that some things will remain unchanged. And then let it roll off your back. Focus on the aspects of life that are adjustable. There’s a freeing feeling that accompanies the realization that the world does not, in fact, revolve around you. And that’s okay. It’ll keep on spinning, and so will you.

Why Repeat Yourself? Why Repeat Yourself?

Cobble together and decollage your past to create a creation to rival Shelley’s –
All the working pieces but lacking the ephemeral spark of life.

Copy your old patterns and wonder why nothing changes.
Familiar patterns make for familiar feelings, friend.

His and herstory will repeat themselves
Without the injection of something new.
How long will you circle along the same loop
Before realizing the whole world awaits you?

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