Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the performance artist

do we all yearn for the aha moment? the experience of certainty, knowing what you want to do or be, no reservations at all?

i've had a couple. once, in Chico Children's Park, eating a bag lunch, watching a family play music, i realized with clarity i want to direct plays.

actually, i didn't follow up immediately, though this park across the street from the blue room theatre where i eventually perfected my directing.

no, it took a similar experience two years later, sitting by a lake in nepal, the himalayas towering over me: i want to direct plays.

so, i came back to more theater classes, finding the book which dropped everything into place, 'a sense of direction' by william ball.

alas, alas, alas, once i'd directed the plays i needed to do, i pretty much lost interest. in other words, the goal once reached left me empty. and for the past few years i've been dying for another aha moment. and yesterday morning, at three a.m. it happened. once again i revised my life!

i'd been looking at a book on the performance artist james lee byars, admiring his life and his work. yes, this way of bringing focus and joy to other people seemed to me the ultimate. and suddenly, it hit me, my whole pathway could be seen filled with the staggered footprints of a person who always did solo performances, mostly for himself, dancing in boathouses, skating on lakes, banging on decayed trucks in death valley.

yes, i'd seen and loved many performance art pieces. mainly they'd been less than an hour, involved voices without words, symbolic transformations, plenty of humor. yet it never occured to me i might be a practitioner.

aha! certainty! how delightful! three a.m. and i couldn't go back to sleep for the longest time.

this morning i browsed my photos and picked a bunch where i'd performed for the camera (not another soul in sight) and posted them here:

if you can't change your life, you can certainly change the way you see it.