You know you’re in a room full of artistically minded people when the room is mostly empty because the self-same artistically minded people that were supposed to be there misread the map. But, really, isn’t that what it means to be an artist? The artist goes where few dare to traverse, and leave their maps at home. They get lost in undiscovered worlds of their own invention, and in those worlds, they comprehend their own.
It’s often said that art imitates life. What is more true to life than the idea of being lost? Everyone has felt that panic, that disorientation, that utter helplessness of having no idea where they are, or where they are going. There’s something terrifying and thrilling about losing all reference to your place in time and space, living suspended outside of your own narrative. And sometimes, it takes losing yourself to find who you truly are.
While much of this is said jokingly, as much of the creative team quite literally got lost in attempting to find the rehearsal space for The Flora & Fauna last night, it is also said in reference to much of what was discovered as they worked. This beautiful piece often plays with the theme of being lost, of losing oneself, and of living in a different world. Whether it be discussions of dissociative as we dig into the psyche of Ginnie, a young woman struggling to find her way through life and motherhood, or the actual loss of her dear friend and mentor Adele at the side of her deathbed, loss and discovery are two themes that loop constantly through the story.
The process of this second day of working on The Flora & Fauna was just as full of loss and discovery, just as all life is, and just as all art is. The creative team came in with freshly printed scripts full of new moments, including a whole new scene that Alyson Mead had added to the storyline overnight – one brimming with the rawness of loss, which lead to the discovery of huge moments elsewhere in the script that otherwise would have been lost. Once everyone had found the space, a discussion of thoughts that had come up through the last 24 hours ensued, everyone reflecting on the work that was accomplished the night before.
After a brief introduction to the changes Mead had magically wrought overnight, the team went through the script once more, writing down questions and observations, finding moments, and getting a feel for how the changes altered the shape of the play as a whole. At the emotional close of the play, new conversations erupted, spanning from the cleansing and sensual images of water found throughout the script, to the use of ritual and community Mead is passionate to include in her work. With new thoughts and images in mind, the team went back to work on specific moments in the show, focusing on the first scene until their time was up for the evening. It was another very special night, and now that the team has all been found and accounted for, the real discoveries are just beginning.