Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lavernes and Shirleys

One, two, three, four individual week-long retreats this summer to create "______."  (Still looking for that title.)  And if I said our week in August made work horses out of us, this past September week doubled that.  Gone were the long lunches and savory naps of yester-week.  The goal: our first sharing with invited guests for a feel of the flow and content of our production.  The spaces were set, the props buffed, the text roughly rehearsed, food prepared, on your mark, get set, and go now.  Makin' our dreams come true.  (We even have a factory worker scene to boot.)  Doin' it our way.

Schlemeel, schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated!

Our Night

Some images from last night's sharing...

Saturday, September 8, 2012


This night is founded (partly) on yarn.  Webs of yarn, yarn in many colors, journeys with yarn, remnants of yarn.  We have invited an audience with whom to share our work-in-progress, and tonight will be the first night that outsiders will witness an Ochlos creation in our new home.  Our laboratory took a morsel of an idea this past winter, of a 400-year-old king clinging to his crumbling empire, from Eugene Ionesco's absurdist play, Exit the King.  We talked of life, fear of death, allowing the aging process, loss.  We spoke of tyrants and dictators, repressed peoples and refugees, and of the empowered and daring.  We shared ideas on faith, hope, tarot and ritual.  We arrived this September with a journey to share with an audience, and it takes us through a physical world that a good amount of yarn also inhabits.  Beautiful, colorful yarn, coming out of my ears.  I don't mind; I could spend all day with this yarn.


Friday, September 7, 2012


Blackberries are everywhere now, and on oatmeal with goat milk, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon it"s an indulgent, indulgent thing.  The abundance of Summer-Autumn. As I set up one of our "stages" in a corner of the property, I saw the blackberries peeking through the wire fence. The beautiful irony of this is that the scene taking place in this spot is like an oasis of hope and creation within a world of depletion and tyranny.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Ochlos projects are typically simple, as far as the technical aspects are concerned.  This week we began adding a new dimension to "us" with the planning of scenery and props.  We've actually got some pretty crafty and visually artistic professionals in our midst of Four Strong Women.  So we dedicated a few straight days to the building of a large puppet, among other projects.  I fully endorse physical work when your mental capacities are on their way to fried.  How satisfying to see the concrete results, and to experience a healthy mix of intellectual creation with manual labor in creating a piece of theatre.

Theatre Makers are we: actors-writers-directors-producers-designers!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Them Apples

It's apple season in Sebastopol and I feel like we're swimming in a sea of Gravensteins this week.  The trees in the orchard on the property are filled with bright red balls and the ground is polka dotted with red, green and yellow splotches, like a live Pollock piece (but with the splatters only, not the smears...).

I love reaching up and plucking an apple from a tree.  The feeling of it quietly popping off the branch is so satisfying that I want to stand there and pluck again and again.

In the afternoon the sun-scorched hill smells like apples baking in the kitchen.  Simply wonderful.  And in the night, lying in my tent, every few minutes lets out a loud THUNK as another apple plops to the ground.  Abundance.

In the kitchen we are baking: apple crisp, apple tart, apple crumble. If only we could live on apples as our staple, we'd never go hungry this autumn.

Speaking of autumn, as I walked through the kitchen earlier this week while one of our deserts was cooking, I smelled the upcoming season for the first time.  A scent of fall and I suddenly imagined crisp weather, warm sweaters and cozy fires.  And I realized, I'm ready!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ambulatory Theatre

This August week we've been working at a level of productivity heretofore unmatched in Ochlos history!  We're on a downward slope of momentum, founded on our work in June and July, and a script is coming together quickly.  As collaborators always say looking back, I never would have imagined our project would evolve into what it is now.  When this property in Sebastopol became our new creative residence I imagined performing in the barn, and that in itself was a dream come true.  But now we have in our hands quite an epic journey, taking the audience to almost a dozen locations throughout the property.  It is undoubtedly site specific, not meant to be performed elsewhere, and just as original music can deepen a theatrical experience, so too can an intentional location, in a powerful way.  Not only are we outdoors, among the birds, the wind and the trees, but we have an active experience to share with our audience.  With an audience engaged in this way, not only do we avoid numb behinds, but there is real potential for making an honest connection.