Where has the art gone?
I was inspired today by a conversation I had to write this entry. Lately I’ve been putting a lot of thought into why I had the idea to open SoLuna Studio, Why was it so important to me that I open a theater and try and change the world of theater one day at at time? Then today it occurred to me; i’m trying to break this ‘cookie cutter’ image that we have of theater and the arts in general. But with trying to break that mold comes a lot of obstacles. Growing up here on long island, i never truly felt like I belonged. I didn’t wear what everyone else was wearing, my makeup wasn’t perfect, my hair was off a magazine page and I always felt like there had to be something more in this world that always trying to fit in. Thats when I moved to the city, and found a world where everyone can be who they are and no one judges. The streets and subways are full of people talking/singing to themselves, dressing ‘crazy’, and being themselves (whatever that might mean). Its at this point that I realized theater is the same way. Theater is not this ‘means to stardom’ - its a process. Its a craft - one that is worked on constantly. I always tell my students that being a student of the arts is a never ending learning process. Theres is always something to research, something new to study, something wonderful to learn that you didn’t know before. Art is like people, just because it ‘doesn’t fit in’ doesn’t mean its wrong. I believe that all art is meant to mean something and it is not a road to celebrity. Sure, sometimes it leads there but that should never be the end result. We as a society have built up this idea that only art forms that are ‘popular’ are worthy of time. I like to think that theater is not a dying art form and maybe I’m one of the few people that still believe that it can make a difference that it can stand for something.
With all this being said, I realize that I fall into this category of being a different type of artist and not conforming to what most think I should do. Granted there is so much in this world I have to learn but I treat everyday like a new learning opportunity. Working at Soluna as a director and teacher I have learned so much over the past few months. I’ve noticed that sometimes my directing style is looked at ‘lazy’ which I find entertaining to say the least. My style of directing is something that is so basic and I try to find the truth behind every piece that I pick. I tell my actors and students to make choices and see what happens, experiment with the scene, don’t worry about where to stand and how to look, most of all - be you, find the truth of the character. So by allowing truth to be found in work my style is looked at to be lazy, when all i want is for actors to be the truest form of an artist that they can be. Isn’t that the joy of theater, to create characters that mean something not only to the audience but to you?! I tell my students all the time to find truth in every song and text that they are handed - that theater is so not about standing and looking and singing pretty. The greatest artists of all time I dived into their work and found ultimate truth and honesty. I don’t want to watch a play, movie or musical with a bunch of people who are trying to ‘show’ me what they ‘think’ I want to see - I want honesty.
My mother tells me all the time that I am different type of person - I tend to think thats a good thing (most days). Why would we want the world to be full of ‘cookie cutters’. No one would attempt to change the world. I’m not at all saying that my way is thinking is correct, all I’m saying is that in this world where society puts so much pressure on all of every day - shouldn’t the world where artists play be open and free of judgement. Cant we all learn something from everyone we meet in our life. Yes, now some of you who read this may think I belong is different era where the world was full of hippies and free loving artists, but i say whats wrong about letting a little bit of that history become our present and just love art around us. No art is correct, and no art is wrong - the beauty of art is its freedom to be whatever it wants to be. I only realize it now, but I learned so much in my years living in the city, it opened me up and allowed me learn that its okay to be different I just have to fight a little harder for what I believe in.
SoLuna was opened to as a place to allow artists to feel free - to my dying day I will allow that mission statement to be true. I will continue to learn everyday, to open myself up to change, to know that I am not always right,but most of all to stay strong in what I believe. I hope that the students I teach and the actors I work with open themselves up to free art - not just the this pop culture and celebrity world we consume ourselves in.