Our last stop in Madrid was Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia; an interesting modern building hosting modern art; the house for Picasso’s famous ‘Guernica’ which I find poorly placed indoors. I understand why it has to be safeguarded but I’d rather see it somewhere outside, somewhere it will be part of people’s everyday life like graffiti.
Visiting Reina Sofia I suddenly realized every artist has a repertoire of possibilities – some richer, some leaner and at the same time every artist has a special cauldron that cooks all kinds of ingredient into a main deep theme, a leitmotif, along many years. Each of us is trying to figure out something, to reach a clearer understanding even if it’s only for ourselves; none are totally eclectic when it comes to a theme.
I started wondering about myself and about other works I’ve seen through my life – what am I concerned about? What are others trying to understand? One theme I know for sure which I’m busy with is the balance between the chalice and the blade – the balance between empathy, compassion and inclusion on one side – being reserved, unaware and excluding on the other.
Knowing a thing like this about yourself helps a lot when looking for repertoire or crafting a program – to mention two benefits out of several. Many storytellers go through a long period of looking for their ‘voice’, collecting loads of texts they will never use only to reveal what they are truly interested in and where they can do their best because of who they are. At times it seems easier to have been an ‘ethnical’ teller – the stories, the style, the moves even the costumes are there waiting. But that’s not the situation for most modern storytellers and even those that have the scene as-if ready and waiting will have to find their personal voice in a long chain of predecessors.
Look for your themes.