Of Farms and Fables combines the efforts of professional and non-professional artists by engaging artists in farm work and farm workers in storytelling and acting. The result will be an original performance in October of 2011 which will engage performers and audience in dialogue about local agriculture, farming, and the future of small family farms in Maine.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Giant Broccoli Visions (Cory)

Originally posted in my personal blog on June 4, 2011: reflecting as I work on the second draft of our play.

Used to be I was fond of saying: I don't "see" what I'm writing. The writing is about the words. "Seeing" is for the director, the designers, actors.

Today I have spent the last five, six hours fighting with a new draft of what I tend to affectionately term "the farming play." I pace. I move between desk, balcony, bed, kitchen: desk to type, balcony to breathe, bed to scribble in my notebook, kitchen to distract myself by cooking more vegetables (it has to be done, I tell you! Märkische Kiste flubbed, doubling the weekly CSA-style vegetable box I get from them, and if I don't cook cook cook, the surprise bounty will go bad). I look through notes from yesterday, from February, from last June; I pore through email correspondence. What would I do without my OFAF Gmail label?

As I think about what's to keep, to throw away, and to change, my head's unusually full of imagery. Today, dominating is a giant table bisecting the stage, the table itself cut through by a fence, both entities assailed by weeds that never stop growing.

  • A table for the food cycle, that most fundamental building block of agriculture; for family, an important element of our particular farming community.

  • A fence for control of the land. For the boundaries we make within ourselves, and between ourselves and others. Make, yes, an important word, as in create, as in imagine, as in the boundaries are what we build, nothing more.

  • The weeds for the land talking back and jealously taking back. To remind us that there's no "done." Today we weed and tomorrow we weed again.

And in the background there is, as always, the barn: what came before, something to honor, to remember; but so big it blocks the sun; old and dry, and certainly, somewhere, there's rot, and there's danger, but it's hard to say where. We don't want to look too closely. If we do, we might have to tear it down.

In this unusual image-abundance I'm seeing the mark of the past nine months, of seeing theater where the visual often overpowers (I don't necessarily mean this negatively) the verbal. At the least, it's raised to the same level. You are what you watch as well as what you eat. Meaning I may well soon transform into a giant broccoli, but one with some very colorful dreams.