A mannequin with large breasts, larger than any mannequin I’ve ever seen, a purple frilled bra covering her as she remains still in a storefront window, cut off from the stomach and staring into the street. With a head for gazing and without mouth for pout, she conveys to the bustiest of us that we are not alone.
This is storefront theatre. I saw it. I felt it in my heart. I changed forever.
I am sitting at home trying to figure out how to produce more work in this city.
I don’t want to go off on a “there are no venues” rant because I don’t even know if that’s true. I also don’t care for discussions regarding money since most of my shows can be done very low budget, if done properly. I have spent time this month playing in a dizzy carnival of Creation Suggestions From My Brain, writing them down and then staring at them through Kara’s eyes because Kara doesn’t doubt herself.
Kara would wing it. She would not prepare, she would not worry about failure, she would chain herself to her impulses and ride through a production, driving everyone crazy for the love of her work and insisting that her very shallow version of Logic will lead her towards besting her competition.
The exercise of merging my own ideas with Kara’s perspective is useless. Kara doesn’t understand any of my ideas. I take the wig off. I am confused.
Now I am sitting here, in my own skin, staring at a piece of paper that says “BREAK GLASS WITH YOUR MOUTH? JUGGLE REMAINING BOTTLE? FUEL FOR SCENE TRANSITION.” Don’t know….what it means….but, it sounds like a pretty good show.
I just read through a copy of Teach Me, my first (and only, so far) Fringe show in Toronto that was up, I think, four years ago. Funnily enough, I am still writing about the same things as I was four years ago. The show is about two young girls who catch their teacher masturbating in his car. Right near the center of the show, Stacey, the more rugged of the two girls, pronounces:
You don’t get how easy it is. It isn’t special, it’s just easy. And there are too many fucks like Mr. P turning everyday life into porn, making everything about dick dick dick dick dick and there are too many girls who don’t know that.
I wrote that years ago. I read it today and nearly cried.
I had no fear producing that show. I had no fear, as a 24 year old nobody in the theatre world, I had no fear of even asking people to work on that show regardless of it’s basically disgusting content. I had no shame. I wasn’t Kara. I wasn’t stupid and arrogant. But I was. And I don’t know where that version of me went.
I have the same message. I have the same Hey Women, Wake Up and Be Warriors message in every single one of my plays. The form is becoming less and less realist, more and more bizarre which is a little scarier but still, Teach Me isn’t even a well developed play, I have better work now, I should just make it and I should make you watch it, somehow.
How can we be as eye-catching as a brassiere in the window?
To be clear. that bra mannequin was not a pretty site. It was hardly the site of a beautiful woman. It was more or less just a “This exists and it’s ok” type of exhibit. More of an educational rendition of “Boobs”. A little dark, actually, that’s how big the boobs were, it made the topic of Having A Chest a little frightening. I loved it. I remember it. I am, for some weird reason, so grateful for that storefront bra-model mannequin because she reminded me that displays of beauty aren’t always staged to be beautiful. Sometimes they are staged to just catch your eye and tell you something.
That’s what I do.
No matter what I write it says the same thing. There is an urgent current run through me directed towards the not-so-obvious types of female victimhood. I seek justice for the women who don’t know they need it and I hope for the opportunity to turn a man’s head towards those women for reasons other than sexual pursuit because for some reason I live with the guttural convinction that most men begin there. The message constant and clear: Let women be people. That’s what I end up saying with everything I make. So, I could just say that here and move on. But, this isn’t even half of what I do.
Theatre as a demonstration needs to exist. I sit without any urge to become Kara today, without any satirical impulses, I don’t want to wave a photo-flag on Instagram to a bunch of people who just see a photo and like it regardless of it’s story. Kara demonstrates Beauty but that’s more of a joke than anything. I want to demonstrate the pitfalls of beauty. And I need to do it live.
I sit, as myself, reviewing old shows, remembering why I write and I vow to be in performance by the end of summer. I want it to be as easy as writing this blog. It should be as easy as standing in a storefront window. It should be something you walk by and have to stare at. I can’t settle for the idea that Theatre has to be anything more elaborate than a momentary gift. A real, in person, Instagram. If I had space and money to make big shows, believe me I would but that seems awfully complicated and I doubt enough women would get the message that way.
Here’s the issue: What am I talking about? Immersive? Installation? What am I even talking about? I have a list of ideas, I don’t understand any of them but today I conclude: That’s fine.
When children create things, they create out of complete wonderment.
When I was a child, I would put music on and choreograph dances, directing a cast of invisible dancers in my own bedroom and when my father asked what I was doing, I said “This is for when I grow up to be a choreographer”.
Certainty without knowing. I knew nothing! I know nothing now too but I sit around condemning myself for it.
I’m returning to childhood now. This is it. It’s been enough sitting and judging. A release of adult distraction and a return to childhood for the sake of maturity. That’s this. Because, I need to show you things and I don’t want to feel bad about doing it alone (for lack of crew) or with no reputable merit (for lack of professional resources).
Yesterday the Dora Nominees were announced and I realized I have no idea what it even takes to be a Dora Nominee. In fact, I constantly forget that accolades exist because I know that I don’t hold myself to standards appropriate for review.
I’m really, genuinely proud of all of you for learning to master your crafts in a medium I adore, I hope survives forever and I wish I was also knowledgeably participating in. But, I lack participation points because that would require understanding all of your rules. I really don’t have the brain for that. My brain tells me WHY CAN’T WE BREAK BOTTLES ON STAGE WHILE JUGGLING WITH ONE HAND and I tell brain, we can, brain, we can.
The cage of Already Happening is not where I like to be.
Kara is a mirror of what has already happened, trends and fashions, I play her and I can’t understand my own self because my own self is so far ahead (or maybe behind) of the blocked off These Things that surround the venues and the grants and the people. That works and you’re all very good at it. But, if I’m going to keep writing the same message over and over again, I’ll have to find completely new ways of doing it, completely new audiences, diverse experiences for myself and for the people who (I have no idea why the will but they will) agree to work with me.
Otherwise: Another dry year where I make nothing.
It can’t happen that way.
Thank you, Kara, for being basic enough to provoke my queasy need for oddity.
Something will happen soon.
Off this blog.
I may need to transform my physical self just to keep up with the demands of my one woman perhaps-store-front or alley way or basement or gallery coat room exhibits but, I’ve already transformed my physical self for the sake of a web series and it’s been more progressive than sitting around wondering why I’m not like everyone else.
I have to go away from myself to become like everyone else. And, that’s only worth it if I can return to who I am for the sake of what I do. Now comes the part where I realize that, not Kara, but Rachel has to display herself and the first step is inventing the How. Instagram won’t cut it. The existing theatre spaces aren’t cutting it. Festivals aren’t my thing. Something, something new.
We should all be changing constantly.
And now, I will play strange music I’ve never heard before and write five minute plays (monologues? Tableaus? Songs? I don’t know!) regarding everything I’ve already written about.
This blog is updated daily, detailing my transformation into a fictional character who is being crafted for a larger theatrical project. If you like it, please share to social media, follow the blog and come back soon
You can read Kara’s blog at http://www.okkarablog.wordpress.com
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