Travelling through years of theatrical experiences feels to me like my notion of what it could be like, sitting on a conveyor belt in motion. Once upon a time, I had a tomato red coloured suitcase that had four wheels on it. It was always easy to find my luggage when I emerged from a flight, and many friends and acquaintances commented on how striking I looked when I travelled internationally with my gear. Sadly, I had to get rid of the unique suitcase when a silly airline operative threw it out of the hold of a plane, managing to break off one of the wheels. I was compensated by the airline with two nondescript looking suitcases that didn’t last for very long.
I entered the theatre scene with a unique toolkit. My skills and talents took me through some exhilarating moments and diverting scenes. Then there was a moment when I started feeling like my space on the conveyor belt was being regarded by some fellow practitioners as outmoded. It was time to hear from newer entrants on the conveyor belt.
Is this the way most artists experience their journeys if they’re in it for the long haul? I don’t know. Friends started telling me about the new names that were emerging in my field. They suggested that I might need to protect my turf. Maybe I didn’t see things that way, because I always kept several creative options open for myself.
Now, I feel like I’m revisiting some of the same spaces that I found to be hugely exciting as a young artist. The spaces don’t seem to have changed very much, though the people running things in the buildings might be different from those I knew all those years ago.
I would like to think that I have developed and grown into a more adept kind of artist in the interim. My position in the food chain of being a public teller of stories needs to move in a different direction, to take into account the range of experiences that I’ve been through. Maybe it is time to get a new striking suitcase…