Time in Canada at Directors Lab North
Thanks to The British Council for sending me off to Canada to take part in the Director’s Lab North in Toronto. It was an oddly important trip. Some thoughts which might get close to why below.
TORONTO – Director’s Lab North
I remember a very large black squirrel that looked much harder and wilder than an English squirrel.
I remember the words, ‘so a play about a ghost is a diverse play?’
I remember ______ saying how, as a black man, he was desperate to leave America because he didn’t feel safe.
I remember hearing _____ speak and getting a feeling of kinship and not knowing where to put it.
I remember _____ holding the end of a large skipping rope and turning to us with tears of laughter in her eyes and the rest of the group not understanding what was actually so funny.
I remember ______ free styling her skipping and it being amazing.
I remember Grotowski and the trance.
I remember hearing chanting from my window and seeing the rainbow flags of Pride.
I remember when it turned midnight and it became _____‘s birthday and we danced.
I remember wishing that the UK had a relationship to the people before – whose land are we on?
I remember (an almost) argument about how your politics should be unflinching with your family, i.e. that if your dad voted for Trump then you should disown him. I remember trying and failing to explain why my relationships with close family are more important than our political differences (I think).
I remember audience members standing with their hands in the air lit by one light. I remember thinking it was beautiful.
I remember conversations with _____ about representation and the white gaze while we tried to find somewhere to eat.
I remember being so happy when a choir arrived on stage.
I remember crying while singing along with an audience to ‘Hold On’ by REM.
I remember thinking how everyone who bothers making art must know what it is to be alone and to be sad.
I remember thinking maybe I hadn’t given REM enough of a chance.
I remember a blanket on my knees and seeing a performer so brave and skilled that I thought she could do anything and be anyone.
I remember being moved by the vulnerability and honesty of _______ when he actually tried to answer why he felt able to tell that story and where he stood in relation to the representation of indigenous people.
I remember thinking that if people tell the truth, even if they don’t have the answers, then they are far more likeable than people that don’t.
I remember rain.
I remember remembering why I don’t like hotels.
I remember feeling so sure that the model of ‘playwright, director, actor’ isn’t the only way to make work and wanting to provoke everyone to sit where content meets form and not be afraid to dream outside of theatres.
I remember hearing about experiences of systemic racism and wanting to ask as a white person how I can actively live my life in a way that challenges it. I remember not asking because I didn’t want to put that responsibility on anyone but myself.
I remember watching other people direct and thinking that directors make cool stuff happen.