Within a week’s time Penelope must face her debut. No longer will it just be myself behind the lights, but the seats will fill with an audience. Rehearsals are no longer run with makeshift props, and we now have a leashed rat: what was once theoretical is now concrete.
But even though there’s only a week left, the to-do list is still in a constant state of flux. We’ve achieved many victories, yet there is still much to be done. We now have dirt for the floor, but our rats have yet to fly. And though we managed to host a successful fundraiser, weather has permitted us from projecting our goddess Odessa to the stage. With only a week left, the company is faced with a demanding reality: if theatre is truly human, then theatre is truly limited.
We are limited financially, materially, emotionally, in manpower, and even by the laws of our universe (as I said, the rats still aren’t flying). And these limitations are heightened under the looming limitation of time. We are therefore required to pursue solutions through endless rounds of considering and reconsidering that the dreaded state of compromise may be avoided. And like the burning end of Nuritsa’s cigarette, the friction of these restraints emits a tension that hangs like smoke in the air.
Since the artistic mind is kneaded and stretched when solutions are not readily presented, this tension may be exactly what the artists of Theatre Y need. As straining as this process is, it’s within the tension of limitation that creativity is flourishing. By embracing the tension, the company is producing a show that is neither easy nor simple, but a show that is fully art. As the dirt on our floor perpetually reminds us, this is the grit of theatre. It’s not despite, but in light of these limitations that Penelope will find herself ready for the lights.