Hanjo: A Director’s Diary, Part One

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Hanjo is a project that is very close to both my heart and my brain. It is an exciting production to me on so many levels that it is hard to know how to start expressing myself about it. And although it seems like a cop out, ultimately I really do agree with Robert Wilson that it is not the artist’s job to explain their work: that’s up to others.

Success

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Are you successful? 

Do you feel successful? 

What does success even mean to you? 

Do these questions feel familiar to you?

Does it seem like I’m about to try and sell you something?


The question “Am I successful?” is on our minds a lot more than we let on. This is not only because it is a trickier thing to evaluate than we are led to believe, but we tend to think that to ask the question at all is to implicitly answer it in the negative. 

Authenticity

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It occurs to me that there is nothing inherently valuable about authenticity. 

I recently attended a screening of City Of Gold; the excellent documentary about Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold. After the movie there was a Q&A with Mr. Gold and Peter Meehan of Lucky Peach. Someone in the audience asked Mr. Gold if he ever traveled to the various countries where the cuisines that he explores in LA originate, in order to calibrate his palate with what would be presumed to be authentic examples of the dishes.

Selena Vela: My New Theater Company

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SITI Alum Selena Vela is starting a web-thing and she did an interview with me on it. Here are a couple of excepts:


Theatre is inherently dynamic. That’s why its ephemerality is not a bug. It’s a feature. It’s the essential feature of theater. Because theater is being created in the present moment, it’s able to deal with the moving target that is the mystery of existence. Truth is not static…
see, even that statement is self-contradicting, when you say it in words. It’s one of those ideas that cannot be expressed in language. You have to create something that embodies it.

Introducing: SITI Thought Center

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People sometimes wonder why we are called the SITI Company. What is SITI

When we originally came together in 1993, we called ourselves the Saratoga International Theater Institute. And the intention was that we would hold symposiums and panel discussions and talks along with performances. In our first two summers in Saratoga we did conduct these activities, but as time went on we became more and more focused on our performances.

Introducing: SITI Work/Space

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SITI Company has launched SITI Work/Space!

What does that mean?

23 years into our life as a theater ensemble SITI Company has begun working in a new way. I have been trying to think of how to describe this new way of working, and perhaps the best way to describe it is to say that we are being who we have always been. We are coming together and activating our interests. We are making the work that we want to.

Persians Diary August 30th, 2014 (Posted On behalf of Emily Spalding)

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Hello everyone,

Anne gave me an amazing note a few days ago with a sentiment I’d like to share.  She reminded me that, even in the midst of this tragic story, I can be open to experience joy onstage.  Wow. Right! As a young actor, the play gets the best of me sometimes…shuts me down in a way.  I make assumptions about the story, and about my role within it and am thus numbed to the experience of actually DOING the thing… discovering it as I go. It is OKAY to experience joy within it. In fact, I SHOULD do so, on behalf of the audience. My pleasure can be shared with them, created with and for them.  This is a profound notion for me, and a note not readily applied. Hopefully with time and experience…

PERSIANS journal for Thursday, August 28th

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Today saw our first preview performance of Persians.

Working on plays at the Getty, we are faced in effect with two missions.


One is that we are charged with honoring the play as an artifact. An object that has survived the demolition derby of archeological history to reach us today in some version of “intact”. This mission is one where we in the SITI Company need a lot of help. As much as we bring our imagination and intellect and reading and researching to bear, we are dependent on the eyes and ears of the Getty staff, to help us. Guide us. And most importantly inspire us. I think it is safe to say that to a large degree we have succeeded in this mission with Persians.

Persians Diary August 20th, 2014 (Posted On behalf of Emily Spalding)

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We are in tech! When did this happen? How did we get here?

Time has been incredibly slippery these last few weeks.  It feels, at moments, like we are on a runaway train…it feels possible that we will blink and the stone seats of the Outdoor Classical Theater will suddenly flood with people. Time is of the essence…in our rehearsals, in our production, in the play.  

Persians Diary August 19th, 2014

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Tuesday of week 5. The process of staging our play and the process of tech-ing it have intersected. Like a snake eating its tail, today we went back to working on the beginning of the play while not having quite finished the end of it on Monday night.

But for me the day kicks into gear a couple hours before leaving the Oakwood, when Anne, Ellen and I participate via conference phone, in an interview with one of the candidates to join our SITI Company staff. It was a reminder how tough it is for our people back in New York right now, and the load they are carrying as the bulk of the company works on the west coast. A big shout-out tonight to Michelle, Vanessa and Megan!

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