I started this as a comment on Nora’s last post, but I have too many thoughts for a comment. So I thought I’d make a post of my own.
We are indeed in that mid-rehearsal slump and it is indeed normal in our experiences, too. Sometimes I think we underestimate the number of challenges we’ve set ourselves: working on two brand new plays, the language barrier, culture shock (on both sides), co-directing, Americans arriving separately…There are so many things that are new to me in this process that I do sometimes feel a little overwhelmed. But what gets me through that is how much I trust the people working on this project. Everyone is passionate about this, and I think that in the coming week the main challenge is to make all of that work together constructively. Our minds need to be so open that our brains fall out…
The Pittsburgh team has a lot to get used to here, and there is still a lot of figuring out how to integrate without stepping on anybody’s toes that has to be done. I know that this will happen. It is a more informal environment than we are used to, but I agree with Nora that this is part of the fun. I’d like to think of us as an ensemble. For instance, we have participants like Katharina and Eva Bendl who are often at rehearsal, even though they can’t perform this time, and I consider them a part of the team. Boundaries between directors, designers, and actors are hazier than at home and I think that it can and should work that way. If nothing else, it helps make us as visitors more aware of the resources available to us. And since we don’t have any official German designers, it helps to make sure that our design process incorporates cultural exchange, too — not just directing and performing.
I also want everybody to realize that, though it would be nice if we could all leave the outside world at the door when we come to rehearsal, that isn’t always possible. Being in a new city is hard no matter what, and this is a new city in a country across the world — at its best it is never simple, as Christina and I already knew well. The five of us have been dealing with traveling, getting bikes, getting lost, getting sick, not knowing the language well (or at all), living arrangements, cell phones, and so on since we arrived here, and though we try to stay positive and look at it as an adventure to figure all of those things out, sometimes it’s very frustrating. I have seen those frustrations build to the point where they affect moods at rehearsal. I think that will end very soon as the adjustment period comes to an end, but I also really hope all you guys on the Augsburg team realize that if we sometimes seem to be in a strange mood, it has nothing to do with you, and often nothing at all to do with rehearsal, either.
And I hope the Pittsburgh team continues, in return, to make an effort to leave all those frustrations at the door.