Latest News/Ongoing Projects
The Hidden Joy of Artistic Discovery
June 12, 2017

I enjoy celebrating my professional colleagues' successes. I have to say, truthfully, that I am so much more engaged by the authentic discovery of personal artistry by the young and the novice.  Small, undocumented moments when an individual suddenly realizes their creative power or, more precisely, power over their own creativity. 

During two recent trips to American Samoa, I got to work with a handful of young people both times.  Amongst this group is a young woman with a sunny disposition and bright attitude.  As we began our work in April, she stumbled quite a bit, frustrated by trying to get the words to come out as our team improvisationally developed a short play together.  She bemoaned the repetition of her dialogue, claiming she knew what to say but couldn’t make that ‘saying’ happen.  She kept at it however, as we spent time discussing how she could put her focus on imagining the moments she was performing instead of on simply what words she felt she needed to say.  Near the end of my visit in April, we worked quickly to try and finish the play, or at least a skeletal version that they could continue to work on after I left.  As we approached the final scene, we realized that the scene would have the greatest impact to the story if it featured the character played by the young woman I am writing about.  We discussed the scene and this young woman surprised us all, including herself, as she improvised a very touching little scene.  We all commented on the ‘rightness’ of the scene, but the moment otherwise simply passed by.  Except that it was clear that this young woman had discovered something about herself.

Upon my return, the team (plus a few new individuals) began anew, with a slightly different focus.  One day, this same young woman found herself in a unique position: the small group she had worked with the day before couldn’t be at rehearsal.  She needed to work with several new people to recreate a scene they had fully created the day before.  In addition, oddly enough, no one could oversee the newly formed group.  But this young woman took the lead – oriented her new group, taught them what they needed to do and guided them to create a lovely scene.

I love to experience the success of those I work with, primarily for moments like these, the hidden joy of discovering their own artistry.