Years ago I was offered some advice I liked from a Lululemon bag: “Do one thing a day that scares you.”
Spooky and sage advice from Lulu™
I think I do an okay job of saying yes to scary experiences that push the boundaries of my comfort zone and freak me out. There are smaller day-to-day scary things like introducing myself to new neighbours or eating seafood, and sometimes bigger things like bungee jumping or raising a child. But lately, I’ve been asking myself whether I’m taking my Lululemon mantra to heart as a director/producer, and facing my fears in my stage life.
As artists, we challenge ourselves to ‘take risks’. We avoid ‘playing it safe.’ We do this in order to evolve our craft, to test the boundaries of the material we’re working with, and to make bold new offerings to our community. At least that’s what I constantly say to my students. Am I a hypocrite? Maybe. But I know I can’t be afraid to do something about it if I am.
Trick or Treat? from Peter Brook’s Lord of the Flies, 1963
Peter Brook’s description of a director from his “Deadly Theatre” section of The Empty Space is pretty darn spine-tingling: “In a sense the director is an impostor, a guide at night who does not know the territory, and yet he has no choice – he must guide, learning the route as he goes. Deadliness often lies in wait where he does not recognize this situation, and hopes for the best, when it is the worst that he needs to face.”
I’m sure a tired mantra on the side of a shopping bag is about as deadly as Peter Brook could fathom… but still, the image of some lost fraud leading others down a dark path with deadliness lying in wait at every corner… It’s just too eerie and romantic to resist at this time of year. It’s a dark image I hold enviously in my mind as LML discusses what’s next for our company. It’s an image that’s both truly terrifying and warmly inviting, like how trick or treating can be for a three year old.
As LML takes time to refocus and stare down that dark, unknown path and ask ourselves “what’s next?”, we must also ask ourselves “what are we afraid of?”