Liz Maxwell is the Artistic Director of the AMP, and the theater director of the summer piece. Here she shares some personal reflections on starting that process:
In just one month, the artists arrive, and we begin.
I’m absolutely exhilarated and thoroughly terrified about this. For almost an entire year now, I’ve been visioning, fantasizing, and working relentlessly at turning my dream into a reality, and I’m in complete shock and awe that it’s all actually happening.
The dream is this: to create my ideal circumstances for art-making. To gather together a group of like-minded souls, other emerging artists, who are willing to engage with me in a profound way, together in one space, for an extended period of time. I’ve worked hard to recruit artists who are “better” than me in any number of ways – who bring a wide variety of talents and skills to the table, but even more importantly a variety of experiences and opinions. Clash is imminent; dissent is guaranteed. And from this place, we’ll start to create something together – to see what we DO have in common, or, probably more interesting, to cultivate our differences and see where that leads.
The work we’ll create this summer will be a devised, collaborative theater piece, and to me the whole program is an experiment in trust – trusting each other, trusting ourselves, trusting that something worthwhile will come out of our efforts. We start from nothing, in the void – and as I think ahead, already projecting to the first day of rehearsal, I feel the same terror that every artist must feel as they stare once again at the blank page, the empty stage, the silent space. Nothing exists yet, and in that nothingness exists the possibility of everything, and that is the scariest thing of all.
This is my first ‘prose blog’ I’ve ever done about my experiences, but it somehow feels like a vital part of this big, scary process for me. I feel the need to share some part of my process with the outside world – to reach out from our small community in the big old monastery deep in the Italian countryside, to someone across the world who can hopefully nod their head and smile in recognition and silent support. I do feel supported, by anyone else who has ever entered the unknown, and by all those fellow souls in the world who have believed enough in their dream to look into the abyss, risk failure, and jump anyway.
Beginning today, I want to stand with these people. From here, we don’t turn back.
Sometimes, there’s nothing scarier than having your dreams come true.