Part 2 of my artist's day report complete with seeing the performance of an adult lifetime and the gift of Endurance Lesson #2. The day's events helped me to understand how to endure a relatively stagnant working period among several projects that offer neither the excitement of a beginning nor the satisfaction of an ending. The lessons I learned that day through performance have helped me to understand life's "in-between" moments. Read Part 1 revealing Tony's Orrico's performance at New Museum, NYC and Endurance Lesson #1
Later that evening, I headed to Brooklyn Academy of Music to see Einstein on the Beach. A fan of Robert Wilson, Philip Glass, and Lucinda Childs, I was enthusiastic to see the opera live after exposure only to its images, music, and choreography as separate parts. I moved to NYC to dance just two years after its last live performance in 1992 so I had been waiting a long time for this opportunity.
I should first mention that Einstein on the Beach is four and a half hours long with no intermission. That was a lesson in endurance in itself. The reality was that I did not want to miss a single moment (and thanks to the women in front of me who left a couple of times, I could stretch my legs over their seatbacks and did not have to get up!). Each scene, each piece of music, each dance was integral to the whole experience. The sets were simple yet grand, the transitions planned, and each scene felt elongated due to principles in composition, minimalism, and repetition. The artistic explorations and choices never felt redundant. Rather, they were deliberate. In fact, it was the repetition of images, words, and sounds that allowed the brain and body to absorb the experience so fully. The crew even takes long walking patterns in moving set pieces and passages across stages with their required duties. I overheard the man behind me whisper to his girlfriend, “Why don’t they just hurry up? Just pick up the damn bench and get rid of it already!” For the stagehands to have rushed those set changes would have taken away from the mesmerizing quality of the overall work's progression. The viewing experience when staying seated for the full performance was transformative mentally, energetically, and physically.
By the time we arrived at the last two scenes, Spaceship and Knee Play 5, my eyes were bleary and my head was pulsing (and I would do it all over again!). The tangible after-effects of the evening’s journey reminded me of taking a long road trip. There is a certain satisfaction in the arriving but also in the recollection of each town you drove through, each car game played, each song heard on the radio, and each story told by your companion: all are part of the trip in making the destination so much sweeter.
Lesson on Endurance #2: Waiting can be rewarding when I believe in what I am waiting for. And if I remember that along the way, I can appreciate, perhaps even savor, the laborious moments as creating the unique landscape of my journey.
Thanks to my artist's day last Saturday, I have been able to find some wisdom to journey through this relatively stagnant phase of my projects. I’ll never get where I am going without these “in-between” days!
Have you taken an artist's day lately? If so, did you encounter any wisdom worth sharing?