Recently I directed the Contact’s Young Actors Company in their latest performance The Third Side. A performance inspired by the riots and looting of 2011, The Trinidadian state of emergency imposed in the same summer and considerations surrounding materialism, freedom and control. I will write more on these issues but today I am writing about something that I am learning to appreciate and live with: Doubt.
I think that good art lives with doubt and with its opposing forces constantly present.
First there is the nurturing energy in allowing the truth of doubt to be present. The truth that we are working with a mixture of experience, intelligence, instinct and blind faith, enabling the infinite transformational possibilities which are present in authentic creative acts.
Then there’s the thrusting vision; the violent action needed to make a decision and in doing so kill all other possible directions for the work. (click here for previous post about directing Polarbears recent solo show: Old Me and reflections of the violence present and needed within the act of making decisions.)
In conversation with one of the ensemble of performers in The Third Side, they said: “you must never doubt that you are a director”, she felt that my doubt was sometimes very present within the process. I do not doubt myself as a director, but unconsciously I allow doubt to be very present within my process. I think it is easy to interpret this doubt of whether something will work or not as doubt in the fundamental question of whether you should be in the room in the role that you are taking.
I know that my best work walks the line of constantly falling in on itself, about to crumble, about to show too much of itself, about to break the envelope that it is pushing at. This doubt or fragility, makes the experience of being involved in the work very real for the audience/participant/performer, the work is constantly unfinished and in need of all of their commitment and authentic expression to reach the vision that I have for it.
Maybe my doubt in some way creates the space for the performers to own the work. This is not always comfortable for me or them, but I wonder what authentic artistic expression is comfortable for the whole of it’s creation process. I made it very clear that this show could fail if they didn’t commit. The result – we had a standing ovation throughout the 400 seater full house, they blew the roof off!
> Here are a compilation of the tweets sent out about the work.
“A knockout show. A triumph for CYAC and their audience. We all left shaken, awoken, together…A beautiful, unapologetic exploration of youth and community. Startling.” Lowri Evans
“A thrilling piece. Wise, funny, dangerous.” Tassos Stevens
“The best show I’ve seen in years. My art will never be the same.” Dominique Chestand, (First Wave)
“Totally blown away…Better than most professional contemporary stuff I’ve seen. Kate Bradnam
“Absolutely sick. Made me proud as a fellow Contact-er and Manc” Keisha Thompson
“INSPIRED. Powerful. Profound. Eloquent. The paint will wash away, but THAT will stay with me.” Rachel Moorhouse
“Topical, honest and full of emotion. An absolute must see.” Tania Mahmoud
“Powerful political theatre…More please” Kully Thiarai
“Incredibly impressed and moved”. Tuheen Huda
“Impressed, moved and excited…Significant and beautiful. Jason Crouch
“Powerful, meaningful and courageous” Afreena Islam (ex-CYAC)
“The show went off and then came back in again. Differently” James (ex-CYAC)
“Fricking amazing” Jude Pratt