Artistic Directors Message 2019
As we head into 2019, I am aware that two of our Massive Way ‘ingredients’ - curiosity and bravery - are needed more than ever to live and fully engage in this world of ours. These are included in our kaupapa as performing artists, but I think our Massive Way is also a great set of ingredients for living an engaged and full life.
At the base of everything we do at Massive (whether teaching, directing, acting, making or writing), is a desire for everyone to be able to fully explore and see what is possible in their work. For this you need to be curious and brave, and you need to hold your nerve while diving into the wonderful unknown and discover what could be. You need to understand that mining deep and continuously is a great venture. Sometimes you find the ‘gold’ quickly; other times it takes longer. There is no right way or right answer. This is the pursuit of being a performing artist and consequently a thought leader.
You also need this curiosity and bravery in making choices about your work. Why do I put this on stage, and not that? Why does this speak to me and not that? You don’t always have to be able to articulate why you make the choices you do, but you do need to understand and know it within yourself.
Another key element to our work is play. We play all the time, so while we are mining deeply and bravely, we are always engaged with each other and seeking the play between us. We look to each other, we wink, we smile, and a beautiful complicite is present in the room. We want our artistic pursuit to be fun and joyous, and in a Massive room, it is.
Right now I am sitting outside the rehearsal room where our Directors’ Lab intensive is taking place. Over the last two hours I have heard laughter, discussion, singing, silence, text being played with and questions coming through the wall. This is exploration and discovery. This is engaging in and loving the risk of creating. This is a necessary and important part of creating work as a performing artist.
I sometimes worry when I work with people new to Massive (especially emerging artists), that they are very risk averse. It seems more prevalent lately. When asked to create or interpret something, they often ask: “What do you want?” They want to know the answer, they want to get it right, and often they want it now.
Our job at Massive, as teachers and directors, is to hold them and encourage them into loving the discovering and the not knowing. Their creative imagination is uniquely theirs, and we want to facilitate all that they dream about and around, into the room. It is important that we encourage them to think of themselves as creative artists, so they believe themselves powerful to make and create. This is often a new notion for them - but over time, with play being ever present alongside exploration and discovery, our emerging artists become bolder and understand themselves as powerful creative performing artists.
I believe the need for artists in this world of ours is greater than ever. We must combat this fear and anxiety that seems to reside in our young (and not so young) people. It’s understandable, but it isn’t a way to live a life.
In building our artists of the now and future, we are adding to the creative community who are imperative as thought leaders. Brave and curious thought leaders/artists bring more possibility into the world. They bring more hope. They bring more ways to consider problems and counter fearful thinking. They bring more meaning and understanding. They bring more beauty. They bring more peace. They make this world better.