It was a giant leap of faith to take a two-page document, written with more energy than form by a bunch of teenagers, and use it as the bible for a show that over fifty performers, coaches, directors, designers and technicians would work on for six months.
I took that leap of faith last fall and Circus at the End of the World played to packed houses and standing ovations in mid-March. The success of the show convinces me, again, that my new approach to directing, to “devising,” is amazingly creative, inclusive and a very efficient way to work.
Performers who are also creators understand and remember the material; coaches and designers who are working within a loose structure innovate independently. My job as the director is to keep track of the overall structure and then, in the end, put all of the elements together – in this case, circus acts and transitions, live and recorded music, lights and rigging and costumes and video – to create, as my mentor Lu Yi says, a show with harmony, moments of awe and humor.
The key for me is to embrace imperfection. A perfect play, or speech or lesson or vacation, can be a bust; any of those events that is imperfect, dynamic and deeply connected will be wonderful.
How do I let go of my urge to make everything right and, instead, focus only on the few things that really need my attention? How do I create a culture where connection is the goal, not perfection? Try asking yourself these questions at home and at work.