How can the premiere of Ski End be just a week and a half away? After almost two years of work, how can we be so close to letting this thing loose upon the world? Does my inclination to indulge in nostalgia for the recent past before the show is even over make me...like...a...fascist? Should I avoid indulging in that nostalgia just in case? Is nostalgia even the right word? Am I just taking stock in a normal, healthy way? Hey…have we told you all how things are going lately? Well, things have changed a lot since last summer when we performed Ski End 1.0 at the Ice Factory. We've rehearsed at IRT, we've rehearsed at New York Theatre Workshop, we've rehearsed in our apartments, we've even rehearsed at Emilie and Alexandra's office. Now we're all set up in the former synagogue at Westbeth Artists Housing, where a group of three actual-real-life skater teens walked in on us flailing around the other day and struck terror (or joy? Can't tell the difference) into our hearts. Soon, though, we'll have to pack up and move into our final home for the show - the New Ohio Theatre. Our first preview is April 30th! Got it? And our last show is May 19th. That's a Friday. Don't forget!
So where do we stand right now? Well, Alexandra might be found late at night on a hot Sunday creating new elements for the set; Tara and Deepali might be cloistered away discussing new music; Jeff and Ben might be fabricating back-up skis because boy are we being rough with those things. Every night we come home to 50-100 alerts from Google Docs – the script is morphing and maturing like a living creature feeding on our energy at rehearsals. Questions asked on any given night might range from “how can I be a better person?” to “is this branch going to fall on my head?” And, so often, we hear the ominous answer “we’re going to have to take this to the ‘turgs” (dramaturgs, that is, Elliot and Lauren).
At times the temptation is to just keep rehearsing—forever. To replicate the deliberate “stuckness” the characters in the show choose. We’re safe in our lovely rehearsal space at Westbeth, bustling away and inventing games—why leave? But of course we have all of these questions; questions about how to manage the apocalyptic thoughts that bloom in our minds, and we can’t force the ‘turgs to answer everything. We have to ask an audience!
It's been illuminating for us, as theater-makers and humans, to be creating this piece in spite of (or in tandem with?) the current onslaught of bad news. How strange it's been for the development of this project to span such seemingly different eras. We felt our perspective on "apocalyptic thinking" shift from one of slightly disapproving removal to genuine empathy. Yes—it's ok to feel like chaos is tapping at the door. But then we have to decide...do we lock the door and hide in the bathroom? Or do we lock the door and climb out the bathroom window? Or is that a bad analogy? And when we escape chaos, do we finally understand its opposite —cosmos? Or would that understanding bring us too close to the blinding terror of the Sublime, plunging us back into chaos again? It's hard to be sure. That's why we need you, even more than we did this summer when things were different (or were they, really? Well the show was pretty different, that much is for sure!)
But most importantly, our teenage collaborators gave up time during their Spring Break to rehearse with us. We gotta honor that. Tickets dates and deets here! See you soon!
Cover image by Carol Rosegg.