Well, I’m back again directing the Revels. Year three and I’m still enjoying this gig. Actually more than enjoying it . . . reveling in it! (I know, I know – so shoot me).
We are producing an all-new Revels for the second year in a row. I think that’s a first for Portland Revels. Gray Eubank first pitched this idea to us months ago in Robert Lockwood’s kitchen: a Balkan village with an amazing clock, a visit from the Empress, and an attempt to hold on to a glorious moment forever.
We’ve all had those moments. That perfect second or minute we believe we are truly happy – truly fulfilled – truly ourselves. There is a terrible temptation to hold that moment forever. We can’t stop time, but we can still hold those perfect moments. We all know people who are still living as if college was the best moment of their lives. Or high school. Or living for the day that someone will come back to them. There is a multi-billion dollar industry created to make us believe we can stop aging.
But the truth is, we do age. We leave college. We end relationships. We move on, and if we let go, we can move on to new and more exciting things. It’s something that as a theatre professional I have to deal with more often than some. I work with a group of artists on a project for a few months at most – sometimes less. We get to know each other well, we dig deep and make art together. Then the show goes up, we play it a few weeks, and we are done. Nothing exists once the show is closed.
Theatre artists fall prey to the desire to stop time. We record our work, we take photos, and we go to crazy lengths to keep our moments from ending. But they end all the same. And if we are being realistic, we know they have to end, and that the best we can hope for is to be able to create something else tomorrow. And that perhaps we will have a chance to work with some of the same people. Hopefully we realize that the best work is still ahead.
Life is movement. To cling to one moment is the death of all future moments.
Revels is about tradition. We create tradition by repetition and expectation. But events also change with time. We do not create the same Revels show with the same cast each year. The stories are new, even as we bring back favorite moments (and favorite performers).
This year’s show contains what I love most about the Revels: breathless magic, stunning beauty, audience participation, a story with a soul, some elements we all know and love, and truly transcendent music. We are continuing to move forward. To grow and learn more about ourselves and this life in Portland, Oregon.
Enjoy the moment. It will never be again.
(But come back next year. We’ll be gearing up for my Senior Year at Revels! Will I be forced to graduate?)
– Bruce A. Hostetler 11/12/13