landscape

Back to the Project / Reading Eugenio Barba

I am back to blogging! I have taken a few steps back for the past couple of months, but now I am back on the project. The traveling is over, reflecting has been practiced, and now it is time to start researching styles of theatre for me to present my piece. I am brainstorming how my time traveling lends itself to the ultimate goal: the performance.

Today I began reading excepts from The Twentieth Century Performance Reader, edited by Michael Huxley and Noel Witts, which my mentor, Gretchen, assigned me. I began with a chapter on Eugenio Barba, an Italian/Norwegian theatre theorist and director. He founded the International School of Theatre Anthropology, which really excites me because I had no idea this field already existed! Something he wrote actually reminded me a lot of my motivations for this performance project. He wrote, “Like a melting pot in which the most disparate metals fuse, so inside me at the outset I tried to blend together the most diverse influences, the impressions which for me had been the most fertile” (p 39). Though he is speaking of different influences than those that apply to my project, I too feel as though I am drawn to diverse areas of study for reasons I am not necessarily conscious of, but for an inner need that I must seek to fulfill.

What I am currently working on is research for HOW to present my piece. I have decided to narrow my “performance project” into the category of “solo performance.” Right now Gretchen has me researching different methods and approaches to theatre, which will guide me in the creation of the piece. I have a lot of content, but now is the time to find the structure for communicating it.

Something that I think of often from my trip is when a man told me a story of his friends’ father. He said, “Black fella, white fella, yellow fella, pink fella. You cut-a the skin, we all the same.” I think I want this to be one of the major pinpoints of my piece. I will most likely use characters loosely based off of those people I met on my trip. One of the challenges I am facing is how to make my research in Australia relevant to an American audience. I think I can illuminate that bridge by bringing my attention back to the reason I myself was drawn to this project in the first place: I am drawn to the Indigenous knowledge and spirituality. I think in America too there is landscape, history, indigenous knowledge, and spiritual life that has direct parallels to the Aboriginals in Australia.

Now to continuing reading . . . I will be posting my responses over this weekend. 🙂

Thank you for reading along!

Ariana

Self-Awakening

I AM HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE HERE!!!

I’m writing to you from Brisbane, Queensland.

Today my professor said, “Conservation is both an art and a science. We have brought together scientists and artists and it has the undercurrent of both.” It’s so crazy because I am REALLY considering going to graduate school for something either in the earth sciences or anthropology now… And I want to go abroad to do it. This is so radical for me because I’ve been studying theatre for so long. No matter what, my roots and people are in the arts. Having my artistic background is actually what is currently propelling me into considering these new paths. The course and experience wouldn’t be resonating with me in the same way.

It’s pretty cool because there is only one other person on this trip who is in school for an art and she and I are quickly becoming very good friends. We both love art — and we are good at what we do. I want to do my art now because I love it, but I also intuit it will lead me to other places. My friend told me statistically people will have aprx 6 different careers in their lifetime… And I’m so young!! There’s so much time to indulge my curiosities!

What is really hitting me lately is that the earth holds both practical and metaphorical knowledge. It holds the law and lore of the people living on it. You can’t study the earth without the people on it — it’s interconnected and they ebb and flow with one another. I am a storyteller… and I am broadening my definition of “story” through this trip.

I am finding it encouraging meeting people from all over the world, many of whom have uprooted their lives to just GO and TRAVEL! And I find they are like-minded to me. There’s so much out there… I have only been here a few days, but it’s already changing my life.

On another note, last night my friend and I went to a bar and were chatting with the bar tender. When I told him about this project he scoffed and went on a rant about Aboriginals. It was fascinating to watch!! I have the perspective of my professors, who care deeply to conserve Aboriginal Cultural Heritage, whereas this man literally said “98% of them are scum living off the government.” Good material for my project… It’s cool because I have people as resources for information, but observing the person is another dynamic element of study for the project.

On another-nother note, I have an accent!!! All of these things are relative. I never thought of myself as having an accent until these Aussie men started impersonating me and asking me about America. An Aussie guy asked me “is LA near NY?” Crazy putting it into perspective..

Tomorrow I leave for a five day camping trip, so you won’t be hearing from me until next week. I can’t wait!! My trip is guided by Aboriginals living in the national park.

Spending all of this time in nature is the most healing and self-aligning thing I’ve ever done.

Hope you’re all well on the other side of the world!

-Ari