I have always been addicted to creative energy. One of the greatest joys for me is being in a room full of fellow artists, and it’s this specific aura that I’ve only found in the realm of theatre and performance art.Put a group of artists in a room and give them a task. Together, they explore the boundaries, delve into the depths, and interrogate every obstacle. Minds all work in the most intricate harmonies, creating a symphony of collaboration.
So far, my rehearsals with LiveArtDC have been precisely this. A room with a few people, usually some snacks and tasty beverages, and the task of creating a script from nothing. We have a launching pad and no map, and we’re off into this great unknown. We begin with limitless possibility and slowly narrow it down until we have a path to traverse. On my own, this process is daunting, as the aforementioned limitless possibility leaves me in a state of paralysis. What path do I take? What options will work best? All of them!? I don’t have enough time to explore all of them!
However, with LiveArtDC’s model, I have time to explore the options, and a team of wonderfully dedicated artists all selflessly supporting one another which makes this exploration possible. It’s risky, but still safe. It’s daring, but still comfortable. This duality is what allows me to explore all the given possibilities, knowing that I have a haven to return to should I wander down an errant path. We can delete as we need to. We can alter as is called for. There are no definites, and that’s what allows us to tailor the pieces specifically to us, giving us ownership in its entirety of everything we do, both as individuals, and as a group.
I think this ideal came to a height as I watched the groups work for LiveArt in a Day
. A whole slew of artists, each armed with a multitude of skills honed by their years of training all converged in one building (and a field), and set about creating work that would be premiered in that very day. With only so many hours of rehearsal available, each director and cast made bold choices, striking directly ahead without looking back. They trusted their groups to support them, and everyone worked as hard as their comrades next to them. No one wanted to be left behind, and everyone prepared to put forth their very finest despite their exhaustion.I had the rare joy of floating around and taking pictures, observing each group for moments at a time. I watched wildly different individual processes merging together into something workable. I noted vastly different group processes, as each artistic team found their grooves. Even though I didn’t get to see the finished products, I could not help but be astounded by the beauty of artists working together in their perfect/imperfect harmony as they all aimed at the same singular goal. Everyone was stressed, but happy. It was the kind of stress we actively enjoy as artists, not the mundane trivialities of our everyday lives. I think every person gathered in the Anacostia Arts Center Space that day was both radiating and receiving that potent creative energy, and it showed.
Such rare opportunities, by virtue of being rare, do not pop up every day. I happily accepted work on Causality, and I happily agreed to help with LiveArt in a Day. I hope that my contributions continue to help grow and shape this artistic world in which we live, work, and play. I’m happy to call LiveArt my family.
-Jon Jon Johnson