Chance and Form

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

An old friend and colleague from my time in the Suzuki Company Of Toga, Toshihisa Nishikibe said to me once that the true goal of any good artistic practice is freedom. How do we free our voices? Free our bodies? Free our minds? It is by presenting to an audience a human in a state of freedom that we truly offer our world something nourishing and useful.

The Actor and the Cathedral

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

During the 1948 summer session at Black Mountain College, John Cage presented a series of performances of music by Erik Satie. In order to contextualize what was then considered radically avant-garde music, he gave a lecture “In defense of Satie.” He began by pointing out that art is caught between, on the one hand, the desire to fulfill the needs of the collective, through tradition and on the other hand, the hunger for originality and individuality.

In Search of Shared Meaning

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

I recently had a conversation with someone that was the kind of conversation I don’t have often enough. This person was a relative stranger. I don’t want to go into specific detail about the content of the conversation (no, it wasn’t about politics) but it was a fairly deep conversation of some consequence between two people who’s fundamental world views differed.

Ouch! The Role of Pain in Transformation

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

Pain is weakness leaving your body.

For many years I’ve thought the source of this adage was the monks of the Shaolin Temple where Kung-Fu was born and became the root of much of what we call martial arts. According to my research , it was actually a recruiting slogan for the US Marine Corps. I’m now not even sure how I got the idea that it was from Shaolin.

Wherever it comes from, it is, at best, only partially true. It’s a sad reality that all of us have probably experienced pain that is not weakness leaving our bodies. If I’m walking down the street and someone stabs me in the eye with an ice-pick, there is a tremendous amount of pain involved. Very little of it can be described as weakness leaving my body. It would be callous at best to describe the pain suffered by someone with a terminal illness in this way.

Dancing in the Dragon’s Mouth: The Civic Role of the Performer

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-lop-bom-bom
Tutti Frutti, aw rooty
Tutti Frutti, aw rooty
Tutti Frutti, aw rooty
Tutti Frutti, aw rooty
Tutti Frutti, aw rooty
A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-lop-bom-bom

This is how the inscrutably professorial Arnold Aronson began a lecture one afternoon in a theater history class he taught while I was working on my MFA at Columbia. This is also the distinctive beginning of Little Richard’s first hit, and one of rock and roll’s most iconic songs: Tutti Frutti.

Bacche Diary 7/28/18

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

Here we go again.

So much of the theater is about repetition. In this way it reflects the cycles of life: seasons, days, the functions of the body and mind. Repetition brings our attention to the passage of time, what remains, what changes. Often repetition can drive us crazy, but it seems that the trick is to surf ON the waves that break, over and over onto the shore instead of being engulfed IN them.

SITI Company finds ourselves back at the Getty Villa this week. Although our company for the Bacchae includes some for whom the Villa is new, for many of us, this is a pleasant return to a place that we are privileged to find familiar and welcoming. 
The staff is so welcoming. The beautiful architecture takes on the feeling of home. The collection has been re-arranged which only reminds us that we had built up a familiarity with how it had been exhibited. Some of the rooms feel like dad and mom rearranged the furniture in our house while we were at college. Didn’t that chair used to be upstairs…?

Hanjo: A Director’s Diary, Part Three

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

PART 3.

(If you haven’t read Part 1 go read it here. Part 2 is here.)

When SITI launched our new production paradigm Work/Space we decided that we would begin by focusing on three productions, one by each of the three co-artistic directors. The idea of Work/Space was to allow us to work on projects that we were interested in but didn’t have commissions for. So I proposed that Hanjo be one of those projects.

Hanjo: A Director’s Diary, Part Two

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

As I post this on Wednesday, October 4th, I am in Purchase, New York, where in two days, on Friday, October 6th, we will present the world premiere of SITI Company’s Hanjo at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College.

Hanjo: A Director’s Diary, Part One

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

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

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

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. 

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