I once counted that I had seen 22 musicals in the theatre in my life. I thought that was a bit excessive. I am now 29 and am going to be 30 this year. I haven’t got a bucket list to panic about since I review my goals regularly and thinking about it most of my goals are achievement related rather than experience related. I have many experiences I enjoy. I love stories. A lot of my time is spent contriving plot lines for stories which end up going in a completely different direction. Liking stories should mean I go to the theatre regularly. Growing up we did as a family, as I mentioned, particularly musicals. This year, the year of turning 30 I have rediscovered a love for theater.
The stream of theatre visits started with my friend, who took me to see ‘The Little Match Girl’ at Sadlers Wells. It was a delightful performance where a rocket sent her to the moon where she lit up the sky with stars with her matches.
A couple of weeks later I saw the Nutcracker at the Colosseum. The beauty of the ballet will never fail to move me and find some way to express the bubbling of emotions provoked from watching the dance. I read section from a book from early last century on Project Gutenberg about the Russian ballet. It described all art forms which use rhythm as deriving from dance, as being its children. I always feel inspired to write an orchestra piece after watching the ballet. I will keep you posted on how my career in composition goes!
I then went to see ‘The Mad hatters Tea Party’ at the Roundhouse. Using hip hop dance to tell a story inspired by the madness referred to in Alice in Wonderland. It was a cunning plot with energetic movement and a fantastic soundtrack of which I am searching to purchase.
Still in January I saw ‘Red Shoes’ at Sadlers Wells. The choreography and staging was contemporary rather than the traditional ballets, which hold a degree of ease in their established formulation.
At the end of January I saw a play at the Vault festival in Waterloo. Titled ‘Balancing Acts’ it was an encapsulating and touching performance concluded with the sole actress herself being a pivotal part of the story telling. It made it so incredibly tangible to have this piece of reality to touch in the final minutes.
Into February I saw ‘Art’ at the Old Vic and ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’. Both comedies. Both reminded me of the energy of watching comedy in person. Of the well devised and timely acting to make it work.
So that has been my theater experience of 2017. None of it was planned out as an endeavour and there was no sense of achievement in simply enjoying some escapism into a captivating story or performance. I do see why those bucket lists include experiences though. They help us grow and in a less direct way help us achieve.
I am now resolved to add certain experiences to my ever expanding list of goals.
Having a very limited repertoire of film and TV which I watched, a subscription to Netflix, although some may say would trigger a bad habit, actually opened me up to mood altering cinema and its relatively simple to say: entertainment. And if you are wired to create, it with no doubt inspire you. I watched ‘Eat Pray Love’, the author of the book, Liz Gilbert, also wrote a book I have been reading ‘Big Magic’ (about creativity and inspiration). For those of you who have watched the film, or read the book, she travels. And she doesn’t skim the surface of the places she goes to but really lives there.
I have traveled a fair bit and have some trips planned. But how to experience somewhere in that way? To absorb and learn? To experience and be? I feel I can’t unless I am comfortable in my body and mind. I don’t really think there are hidden special diets. What I grew up learning about square meals and that sweeties are bad is a good thing to go on. And I have been enjoying my exercise routine. As for the mind, meditation and mindfulness has helped in the past, so I believe that a more consistent commitment to the practices will deliver what the packaging says. When you are happier in yourself you allow more energy to focus on those close to you.
I suppose my conclusion is, lets put it in 3 simple steps for 2017:
- experience (find things to learn and enjoy)
- escape (whether it be theatre of film or literature)
- exercise (the body and the mind)
And remember CREATE. Recording life and self in an inspired way!