"We are but warriors for the working day"
Henry V IV.3
Nine years ago, we (SIR) were in the midst of creating our first spring show outside of the ruins: the "parkade rooftop" Romeo and Juliet. This was my second show with SIR and my first as a member of the Company (now the Artistic Ensemble). The process of bringing that show together was, as I recall it, particularly trying for a variety of reasons (logistical issues with the venue; technical demands associated with the overall concept [motor vehicles]; a number of challenges related to personal circumstances, and even a medical emergency). One early evening in the pub, following yet another day of mind-body-spirit problem-solving, I was marveling at length (as was my wont) in enthusiastic wonder and admiration at the dedication and fortitude of our cast and crew, and their "show must go on" commitment in the face of unreasonable adversity. Having worked myself up to a head, I closed out my little rant with the exclamation/proclamation:
"You know what we are? We're warriors of art!"
Back in our proper home in the Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park, in a full-scale promenade, environmentally immersive setting, I am once again overwhelmed by the feelings of joy, frustration, accomplishment, anxiety, exhaustion, and satisfaction that are all inherent to being a part of the SIR experience. (The above list in its entirety is hopefully reserved for the artists. However, it is my hope that, frustration and anxiety excepted, our audience will have a similar mind-body-spirit experience right along with us: "Work! Work your thoughts!".)
The sheer physical energy, mental dexterity, emotional resolve and vulnerability, and focus of energy required to perform Shakespeare's plays amid the minimally controllable sonic, visual, physical and meteorological landscape of the ruins and their environs, and the resulting depth of understanding and visceral response to Shakespeare's words which the whole experience (hopefully) offers audience and artist alike combine to create (in my own humble opinion) a uniquely valuable artistic experience.
If all that sounds a bit daunting, just think of it as an invigorating walk in a picturesque park, accompanied by a living, breathing, running and jumping representation of one of the world's greatest works of historical drama.
Please don't miss it.