So I went to class at Highways today for Collective Movement with Kevin Williamson. It was really great. It was very gooey and luscious work. He started as the classes I've taken at Pieter space do - in a circle saying our names, what we do, and what we have to offer. I feel very thankful for my time working through The Artist's Way I felt more capable of dancing for myself and not anybody else. It was great that Kevin also encouraged that mindset before we even began. I overheard him speaking to another dancer after class about wanting to know more about how to reach out into community. She said something that was nice, about how may instead of trying to figure out what works well in other locations it is really about taking a look at what works here in Los Angeles. I am interested in taking it a step further and finding out what is best for you or me as an individual. What is at the heart of why art is important? It changes from artist to artist and again from season to season within each of us. But what does community mean to you? To me, community is really intimate relationship with other people who I value and enjoy. I have been concentrating a lot on quality of work, which is admirable, and I don't want to give that up at least for my own artistic journey. But what about my community's artistic quality? How much do I are? Who do I choose to care about? and why?
I care about Alex, who has similar hang ups as me with judgement, but don't we all really? I don't know, maybe not everybody does...but it is abound in my circle of friends. I care about Alex because we meet eye to eye on integrity. We often meet eye to eye on critical examination and judgement of quality as well, but ultimately I think our mutual respect comes from an integral integrity with which we hold ourselves accountable to. I am interested in finding a space where I can put my integrity into practice. Yes, with my acting and career as a performer, but also with my relationships and how I choose to walk down my path as a human being and creator. Because here's the thing, we all are creators and everything is both original and derivative at the same time (says my wise and wonderful boyfriend, Jim). The question is, where do we put our focus? There is no right answer, and what feels good one moment may feel counter-productive the next! This difference, this sliding of scales that happens within us is what's truly human. We are not fixed beings and there is no great true answer that sticks forever, but the ever-present sliding of scales. Like music or waves they ebb and flow, just as we do...into the timelessness of eternity.
Eternal, that is such a beautiful word. I was lead to integrity. Integrity in what? Integrity in self and what you choose to spend your time on. Or rather, what I choose to invest my time in and on. Process, the act of creating. Brainstorming, laying there with eyes closed taking inventory of self and relating to breath. These are all tools to enlightenment. To knowing that there is one you and yet at the center of you is everything and that everything is everywhere for the asking and it is truth, it is truth, it is resonance, it is the great beyond, and it is right here/right now and cannot be contained though it can be ignored. Open up Open to. Open the door and switch on the light, it is there. All I ask of you is to enjoy the inhale. Enjoy the inhale as much as the other three parts of breath. I am beyond, and I am right here.
I am excited again about this project. I went through a period of extreme fear during the final stages of releasing LAAC (the dance studio I removed myself as co-owner from), but I feel ready to start peeking back out of my shell in regards to creative development. Last night I went to Dr. Sarah's Thursday night palm reading class and it was very helpful in this regard. She pointed to my right thumb which was bending over backward, the inner/outside knuckle was white with a circle and the rest of the thumb was reddish-pink in color. She said that I had a project that I have been thinking about a lot but there hasn't really been any action yet and she asked me to talk about that My mind went in two directions: class (developing my own training/opening practice), and The Juliet Project. I started with describing TJP and she latched onto that one. She said to be careful about who I talk to very much about it, that it was a great idea that would start with a short film but it would broaden. I said that I felt frozen into inaction because I wasn't sure how big of a scope to go and who to bring on for different roles in the project. Dr. Sarah said that I am a great collaborator and that it would be an all female team. That helped a lot. I know I need to talk to certain women I have in mind about this project. I would ver much like to collaborate with several colleague/friends regarding the feminine, sexuality, self-discovery, transcendence, and self-love.
This is a story of one girl's discovery of the divine feminine and her struggle to hold onto that despite all odds. Dr. Sarah asked about a monologue. I know that the monologue is indeed the starting point. It is coming to be time to start crafting this piece through words. I want to be very free in my thoughtfulness, to break chains through the act of refinement. I care for craft and impulse, for backbone and intuition. It is time to start putting my beliefs into action regarding my creative spirit and art. I am an actor, I am a filmmaker, I am a healer, and I am transcendent. I do want to be careful that I don't pass stuff off for fear, but that I collaborate and trust through full and rich love and support of the individuals I choose as companions and fellow sisters on this project. It is about love and belief. The project on all levels will be and is representative of this in all capacities and processes of development, creation, and sharing.
I am struggling with wanting to keep this journal reserved for The Juliet Project, vs. opening it up to just use as any new journal for my morning pages. I really like the idea of having a place to come back to for reference on brainstorming and ideas, etc.
Today I am at the second day of the workshop I am taking through Bodytraffic with Sharon Eyal who just started a new company LEV and is performing at REDCAT this weekend. The first our of class was Ga Ga, which has been a very good experience for me. Today, a woman from her company lead class and she was WONDERFUL! It was a very sensual class with a lot of work from our "pika" (the space between your genitals and your asshole). We also did some very frenzied small steps and skipping which I had a resistance to at first, but when we started moving through the room I realized that by putting my focus out farther into the space in front of me and allowing the eating up of the distance to be my driving force it allowed me to be present and honest with the task at hand as opposed to getting lost in not knowing where to gather my impulse from. Sometimes drawing from within is not enough and then you must reach outward to find the "nothing" that the freedom of non-judgement and lack of censoring provides.
I am home now and I am once again milling over the importance of creating a "company" to establish a platform vs. generating as much like a free floating artist as possible. I want to be a free flowing being - able to move here and there and everywhere. If there is a "company" of sorts I think it is important for it to be project based. Yet perhaps the "study" can be something more? In the way that Ga Ga has become a type of class perhaps what I am looking to develop outside of the project to project basis is a concept for opening oneself. Is it important to call people out on their bullshit? I don't know. Once "they" (artists) get to a certain place in their craft they seem to no longer want to be a student in any way, yet once you transcend to the space and realization that the primary focus is not the text, movement, or content...but is about something more - the experiential, the unseen, the atomic - well, we are all students in this.
It was interesting to talk with the women from LEV after today's workshop. They were seemingly very aware of "the divine" yet their vocabulary only hinted at its existence while their bodies and lack of content gave a clarity that was what they experienced. I wonder if they talk amongst each other about their individual spiritual journeys toward the truth of self. Or if it is an unsaid understanding that the work they do gets them closer and closer to Self with a capital "S" each time?
"You don't have the stomach to do what must be done" (says a boisterous voice in my head). Do I? I don't. Not now. Yet the more I say I don't the more I feel my strength rise. I don't have the strength to do what must be done, therefore I can commit to the minimal amount of effort to get where I need to go. Where I need to go right now is to generate enough research, content, know-how and team to create The Juliet Project. This is my focus. This is what "needs to get done" There is strength in this creation. There is clarity and truth that lies in the process of its creation. I am the creator and I must do what must be done.
The Juliet Project is a solo work by actor/dancer/creator Marissa Moses. Marissa dives into the power of self-identity and the culture of modern day feminism using the veil of the iconic character, William Shakespeare's Juliet. While traditionally audiences see Juliet with her Romeo, The Juliet Project is exploring the soul and agency of Juliet as the sole catalyst for action. Often depicted as the fragile feminine this project aims to unearth the strength and determination of Juliet as a feminist role model who fights for her beliefs until death. Feminism is not a thing to be achieved, it is an activity - it is a means to an end on the pathway to equality. By removing all other characters from the performance, Juliet’s battle for the ideal can represent something beyond romantic love. In this piece, Romeo represents the realization of societal equality and liberation, while the other characters represent the many conflicts faced within the feminist movement.
The Juliet Project is the reclamation of a woman’s inner Juliet. The archetype of Juliet offers everyone access to the freshness of possibility, the courage that comes from believing in something, the inner-fire that comes with struggle, and the acceptance that leaning into uncertainty holds. Contrasting and merging these two women as mirrors of each other (the artist being a woman in her 30’s, and Juliet being a young girl of almost 14) dives into the exploration of the pain of lost innocence and the hope of renewal. With the loss of innocence the modern woman often loses sight of uncompromising faith. So often with age and experience compromise takes the lead, paving a way for the oppressed to be saddled right back into their designated space. Moses encourages her audience to put Juliet’s struggle in the context of the struggle of the every(wo)man. The exploration of arche/stereotypes allows an audience fertile ground for self-interpretation because it provides distance within the familiar. Juliet is familiar - both as a character in one of the most renowned plays in the history of time, and also within everyone who undergoes the universal journey from adolescence to adulthood and the hardship that too often comes with standing up for their beliefs.
Within Shakespeare’s play, Juliet is a catalyst for action. She is the first to profess her love (which Romeo overhears), she is the one to propose marriage, she is the one to go to Friar Lawrence and say she will either kill herself or that he must provide a solution. She is on fire. When she is emblazoned, her spirit serves as impetus for the story that unfolds. When circumstances pile against Juliet’s hopes and dreams she fights back and demands an alternative. When viewed through this lens, she no longer resembles the fragile feminine but transforms into a strong young woman who has something to believe in and makes a change. At the top of the play, she is the golden child not yet jaded by the hurt that only experience can bring. Within Shakespeare’s text, we see that to her parents, Juliet is a child born to be obedient and given away into marriage. Additionally, her betrothed, Paris', first words to her are about owning her. These themes are trickled down into the feminist movement of the modern western world. Societies role for her is the dutiful daughter, created to serve and obey. By pouring herself entirely into the love she feels as true, she stands for a cause and has great purpose in what she is willing to sacrifice. When posed against current culture, Juliet’s journey can be seen as an allegory for the feminist struggle.
The Juliet Project is an improvisational exploration of the space where acting and dance become one and the same, where performer and Juliet become one and the same, and where the unification of these seemingly distinct constructs brings about an inner knowingness and complete melding of two halves. In this piece, Marissa explores the psychophysical relationship of self, character, and how those identities can break open one another in new ways. The artist sums it up succinctly in her previous work: “I am trying to hook into something bigger than myself, while I am myself, through the archetype of Juliet.” The Juliet Project shines a light on the reckoning that emerges from joining these two women together and the powerful resonance that can result from the juxtaposition of source material and the contemporarily conscious performer.
The duality of self. The purpose-ness of pleasure. What do we gain by looking at ourselves between two realms, within one mirror? Who are we on either side and to what importance? Can my own sight of self and connection visually to the physical me be both distorted and cathartic at the same time? Can we shape-shift ourselves in body by communing through the window to our own soul? What is it inside us that sees ourselves as "other"? What is it between the mirrored plane that creates a projection, a hologram of the self? We are everywhere and nowhere all at once. We are sight. We are gone...we escape our reality through a lilting rendition of skin and bone. What is skin and bone but energy? Atoms are made of energy. Molecules are made of atoms, cells are made of molecules, and we are made of cellular data - which is unfixed. Which is permeable. Which is heightened, enlightened, expansive Self within a nothingness, a void that is holy.
I rest my soul, I put my soul to rest. I leave this life, I leave this world to find solace, to find completion which is no longer accessible from where I am. I am a phoenix, I will rise on the other side, beaming - a girl on fire. A harbinger has told me what cannot be, and I must follow my true self, for I am meant for joy!
In the other side it is cold and flat to touch. From this other side, I see the pulse within your veins, within my softness there burns a glory.
TO DO/TO CONSIDER:
What is expected of me, and how far am I willing to go to stand up for myself? Is suicide the ultimate middle finger? The self-proclamation and freedom of the soul? Is it giving up? Is more to be gained by extraction of self? What does it meant to be living? What if we took it all away? What would be left? What if we imposed our own beliefs onto others and forced their hand - to lie to themselves about their own personal virtue? What if life is when we truly are asleep and we only wake up after death? What if I made a mound of cotton candy? Pink, and saccharine, and juvenile, but messy and easily destroyed -dissolvable. Does the candy represent the facade of Juliet? Or perhaps her truest self? So fragile to others. What happens to cotton candy when it gets wet...like the wicked witch, it melts.
The psyche vs. will
vs. true Self.
What is fragile? Our connection is fragile, but undeniable - ever present yet breakable in a moment's notice.
I am love.
I am safe.
I am powerful.
I love myself.
I love myself.
Today I bought a portable copy of R&J at Samuel French. I also got this journal and one for Jim with dinosaurs on the cover. I am going to use this book to help me start putting my ideas and thoughts out onto paper in a way that I feel safe and less judgmental of myself and my process. I intend to use this book as a place to explore and swim in the depths of myself, the content, and concepts that excite me about this project.
I keep having images of film. Creating a sort of dance for camera piece. Except I'm hesitant to call it dance for camera. I want to use this project as a way to delve into my acting. I want to use it a a way to propel myself into new territory as an actor. I believe I can do great work and I want it captured. I am interested in creating the circumstances in which I know I can flourish. This has been scary to admit to myself. I have felt pressure from somewhere to put myself on hold, my wants to the back-burner and to give, to invest, to work for something bigger than myself, like a company such as LAAC, or FK. I went offtrack with both of these endeavors. I was not clear or honest with myself as to why I was so desperate for them to succeed. I was not honest that above all else I want to perform - as an actor - that's it. I was not ready to admit to myself and take ownership of the truth that I have the potential to become something and someone I not only am proud of but that I love being. I am going to the depths of my self, like the ocean I used to inhabit in past lives. The expansiveness that exists within me is immense. I pulled out my guitar and old song books last night and cried as I fumbled my way through the songs I wrote in high school. I am going back to that place. That place full of candles, tea, creativity in my room, Billie Holiday, and and enjoyment. Jim came home to candles and Billie and we sat on the couch and talked. Then we just kept sitting and enjoyed the embiance together. It was so lovely. He like it, and that made me feel so good. Like I was sharing a part of myself and he sat in it with me and enjoyed was it was. Simple. Rich. Luscious. Good.
So, for this project: I am exploring what it is that makes Juliet transcend time. Why is it that I connect to her still at 31, but in a different way than I did at 14? Right now, to me Romeo is representative of something more than love. Perhaps real, true, beautiful love, yes - still consist of the things...(okay the "things" I am realizing I haven't explained in writing because I got excited and jumped ahead because I can do so much in my brain in a flash of a second. It takes so long to write something down. I often skip several thoughts that shoot by and were an important part of the journey that needs to be communicated - and I'm practicing my communication). Okay, so...to me Romeo represents self-discovery, humanism, knowing of self. He is a mirror that Juliet can see herself in for the first time. To her parents, she is a child born to be obedient, to be given away. Her role is to serve and obey. She calls the shots so-to-speak with her relationship with Romeo. She is the first to profess her love (which he overhears), she is the one to propose marriage, she is the one to go to Friar Lawrence and say she will either kill herself or that he must provide a solution. She is on fire. She wants self-reliance, she wants someone who will look at her and see her in the Namaste sense of the word. Paris' first words to her are about owning her when they meet outside Friar Lawrence's cell. She tells Romeo in the balcony scene to not swear that he loves her, to just say it. She wants truth - and truth is simple. There's no bullshit in truth. But there is bullshit in politics. Love of self, love of the universe, simplicity, death as re-birth.
Finding Juliet Process Blog