On Saturday I took a quick trip to visit my friend Kristian at Double Edge Theatre in Western Mass. This required a five-hour drive in a borrowed jeep accompanied by Savage Lovecast, BBC Newshour, and Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation (all on tape). I had those healthy distractions and a lot of thinking to do.
Recently ITW had our first Tri-Continental Skype meeting to discus Bacchic/Tokalynga/company musings. It was starkly different from our gorgeous island greenery or Brooklyn studios, which afforded us time and space to have rambling/run-on conversations, and to delightfully indulge in each other’s thoughts and interests. We are now a series of screens on each other’s computers. The priority of our conversations becomes the practical, economical use of time. (It was 8am in Chicago and Joey needed to get to Circus-school, meanwhile Persia was up way past her bedtime at midnight in Sydney.) As the company got antsy, I started to think: “What have we done? What is this super-geographic thing?” We are rushing a conversation about project proposals while, I know that our ideas will be more thoughtfully formed, talked over with the group. In that moment, I was underwhelmed and needed to think on some solutions.
Back in my car: Sherry Turkle is talking about Thoreau and his three chairs. “I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”(Henry David Thoreau, Walden.) Turkle talks about the relationships between the solo chair time and duo chair time. Giving time for solo reflection allows for us to evaluate what has happened in the group. We can actually process and grow new ideas that can be brought back to our relational experience. Conversely, the group time gives us fuel to go off on our own, to ponder and grow.
It occurs to me that this is what being super-geographic is allowing us to have. We can thrive off of each other intensely and then be idle long enough to really develop something new and uniquely ours to bring back to the table. As I drive, I feel another thing that it gives us: the journey to each other. I am making a pilgrimage to an important friend and artistic collaborator, just as I will do next week when I fly to Sweden and to Annika.
Being super-geographic is going to give us headaches and endless hours on Skype. We will spend long periods of time apart and missing each other. We will also have constant reunions made sweeter by periods of reflection. In The Water Theatre Company will grow in fits and starts at different retreats and residencies over the next few years, but there is also an imperceptible constant growth happening in each ensemble member in these liminal moments.