Old Tote

I am, like everyone, a little too busy. Somewhat self-imposed. And somewhat ridiculous.

The torture of freelancing and the strain of trying to maintain fiscal responsibilities. The opportunities that present themselves are delightful and all seem to brim with possibility of grand horizons… sometimes it seems that there just isn’t enough time for all the ideas and projects or residencies or proposals… there just isn’t enough time. Talking recently to one of my favourite actors in a foyer recently, she admitted to feeling enslaved – to be an actor in constant work is a dream for so many – but the reality is that the projects never buy you enough time to take time off: to sit and rest, re-fuel, re-engage and reflect. Artistic fatigue. Constantly making or doing is exhausting. The golden handcuffs of constant work. An Andy Warhol factory of art production? Ergh. And the extreme fatigue is then coupled with this a sense guilt that you are selfish in your wish to be unemployed when so many just want an opportunity, any opportunity.

I really know the feeling. At times I feel fatigued too. Even the ceasing of my “reviewing” identity doesn’t mean I’ve stopped working 14 hours a day – it’s just shifted onto other projects. Even my year off ( http://augustasupple.com/2012/01/2011-a-year-in-reviews/ ) was not a very convincing year off.

This is where history comes in handy.

I’m not talking about the sort of dusty, objects-under-glass-in-a-museum/ white-gloves-whilst-handling-documents history.

I’m not talking about the sanitized, lofty, reverent history of heroes. I’m talking about practical histories. Living histories that are part reflection, part verbal processing, part cautionary tales, part advice and most of the time raucous gossip. It’s why I savour my relationships with so many of our senior theatre leaders. History keeps me humble to the mantra that “this too will pass” and that really, there is nothing new under the sun – the same truths hold as they always have: “pride comes before a fall,” “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” “the path of true love never did run smooth,” and it reminds us that youth and enthusiasm will always change into maturity and experience – and that is not something to be mourned nor fearful of.

It also reminds me that many great advances, have been made by people believing in and working towards something that hasn’t been seen or known yet – I look to Gallileo and Da Vinci: I look to Jenner and Curie. History reminds us of battles lost and won and how the world continued anyway. Pericles and Bill Clinton lived and died, and now we are run by iPhones.

Our theatre history is one of great optimism and disappointment, or fervour and rigour – of experimentation.
In the spirit of “our beginnings never know our ends,” I refer to two books:
A Raffish Experiment: Collected Writings of Rex Cramphorn edited by Ian Maxwell http://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/isbn/9780868198187.htm
See How It Runs: Nimrod and the New Wave by Julian Meyrick

Also as a touching reminder of the long lasting affect we have on each other… I think Kevin Jackson’s recent tribute to Keith Bane is a wonderful piece of personal reflection. http://kjtheatrereviews.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/vale-keith-bane-1926-2012.html

Reading history is an active way to stop and pause. Reflect. Fortify and renew… and it doesn’t have to be ancient, or published. After all story is at the centre of us all.