Prestini Shares Her Thoughts on The Process
Deconstructing process. It's something I've been thinking about a lot, in my work through my company VisionIntoArt, and, as I think about my own foray into interdisciplinary work. It was not a straight road, to be clear, but there were moments of clarity, and that clarity tended to happen after an inspiring encounter, and usually, my saying, how can I emulate this aspect of this artist's life, or, one day, I want to work with this person...
To this day, I love listening to artists talk about their process, their inspirations, and the art of putting their hybrid work together. I still remember stories told to me by choreographer Liz Lerman, and the first time I saw Rinde Eckert perform in And God Created Great Whales..I was in my early twenties: two transforming experiences….
Each new work throws a curve into my process, purposefully. Part of collaborating across genre, style and education is to keep our own creative muscle flexible, and our hearts and mind open to change: the only constant in life. The process of putting together Aging Magician has been also been new for me.
The work began as my own musing on a loved ones final look onto his own mortality. It was my attempt to honor the unseen magic in his life, and the everyday art in people's lives that at times only becomes poetic when reminisced upon. After it's first short workshop incarnation, the work began to live in the collaborators I was fortunate to work with. Rinde Eckert's deep and direct words meditate on neurosis, loneliness, aspiration, magic, and change. Mark Stewart, the mind behind the musical instrument that will eventually be the set, breathes power and true magic because of the joy and light in each of his creations--his instruments take inspiration from every day life, the scraps and bits and pieces that sometimes go unnoticed. Interestingly, Mark and Rinde are both preacher's sons. There is something in community and ritual that ties these two souls together, and that appears in the ethos of this piece. On an aside, I had met Mark years before, when we were both in residency in southern Italy. Mark led a workshop on the creation of a "personal" instrument. Attached to a stethoscope, a thumb piano made of ice cream spoons became one's Jimi Hendrix moment, laced in privacy. This freedom led "performers" to enjoy themselves immensely, safely. I knew one day I wanted to commission him to create a world. Julian Crouch is a master at creating stunningly playful images and stories by twisting humanity into imaginative truths…he goes through the dark to get to the heart of a story. That leaves me….I love putting disparate synergies together and making them work. I enjoy sensuous sounds, playfulness with depth.
So far, Rinde and I have had a completely fluid back and forth with text. I have also written melodies that he has written text into--something completely new for me. As a trio we've been playing with literary structure, and interestingly, we've decided that a children's requiem forms the spine of the piece. Understanding the words of a mass through a child's eyes has been an eye opening experience for me. What does loss mean to a child? What does it feel like? Does "liberame" (ie free me) and the lacrimosa all of a sudden take on the tone of playful reproach?
Our main character, Harold, is on the last train ride of his life. He is searching for his last scraps of magic, dignity, and reason, and his ultimate destination is Coney Island. He is searching for his childhood. Does he get there? …
Come see the show!
Thanks for listening….Paola Prestini