I’ve been reflecting back recently on this past fall when I was in production of my first solo show (Epoh’s Pocket Full Of Snow) and how the experience has changed me. At times it was the most stressful-gut wrenching-nerve racking-experience.

I stretched to scrape together the financing and when it was all done I came out in the hole (who said art pays?). I had many technical challenges as I had to make the show portable to travel to churches and other venues, hence no special lighting, just props and a small array of foldable furniture. I had to deal with finding a graphic designer, once found, going back and forth with changes. It was raining the Sunday of one performance, making load in a bit difficult.

Did I mention the agony of trying to express before hand what the show was? Because it was genre bending. It was a theatrical clown performance but not a clown show. It had audience participation, physical comedy, but at other times it had very soft tender dramatic moments. It was a drama without any spoken word, but not a mime show although mime technique was used at times. I used magic not as a clown doing a trick and saying “tah-dah” now clap for what I just did. Magic was employed in an attempt to further highlight the plot. There was a section where my character opened a delivered package (a shadow puppet theatre) and preformed a funky, at times funny and humble, little nativity scene.

Now I ask you, how do you adequately promote this?  Right! You guessed it! I almost got hung up on asking if they were interested. I thought different was good? Innovative theatre was wanted? Never been done before was sought out? I thought this was the age of the church wanting to connect in a relevant way by bringing the arts into the church service?

The preview performance was a disaster. One of the key props broke (a glass snow globe) wetting other paper props that had to be used later, throwing timing off. The sound program was doing weird things to the sound ques. I almost forgot entire sequences of the show. The most important key moment at the end all went wrong. There is a moment when my character is supposed to touch a “magic red light” to his heart area when his heart lights up – signifying God has given hope (only the biggest theme in the whole play). The only problem was the light came on several times too early. Then when it was time to come on it went out a few seconds later never to come on again instead of staying on to finish out the show as the stage lights fade out and we only see his heart glowing.

With all the difficulty a beautiful thing happened…people got it! People were moved! Feedback was great (read reviews). And the show got better.

Now I could have just given up. It would have been easier and a heck of a lot less stressful. I pushed through. Art demands it! Art is work and it takes a lot out of you but what it does leave you is the satisfaction of getting the creation out of your head and into the hard “light” of the world.  The true artist, in my estimation, just has to get the idea out of his head. It won’t let you go – it burns in you.  The idea nags at you begging, "create me". I’ve heard it being described as giving birth – it’s painful but beautiful. I think there is something to this. The artist’s work is just like anyone else who works - the Bible describes man having to labor by the sweat of his brow (effort/pain). This is it isn’t it? We think, albeit erroneously, that creating art should be effortless or at least not painful. Or even no one else struggles as much as me. And even more so with the artist who is a Christian. We feel that creating works of art that are for God should be without difficulty. After all didn’t God give it to me? Didn’t God place it there? So why is it so hard to accomplish the completion of it?

What ever your process of staying motivated and creating - we artists must push through. We must create! We are obligated to the idea. And if you are anything like me, you just have to do it – it won’t let you go. My fellow artists join me in seeing the beauty in the process. The journey is part of the art or to phrase it another way the whole is much more than the sum of its parts – see the value in it. Push on. Create! 

(Click on pics to view larger. To view video clips from the preview performance click here) I'm available to perform for special events - contact me for details:

0 BE COOL give your comments. Share your thoughts.:

Post a Comment