Two Steps Forward

When does Work begin? When the hammer hits the nail’s head? When the first bead of sweat drips from your face? Does it begin before the work begins? Since training with Double Edge this summer, questions like these have left me pondering for hours.

Therefore, when asked to write an essay expressing the importance of preparation and what I discovered while training in Massachusetts, It seemed as easy as pumpkin pie (lets keep with the season, shall we?). Returning from my intensive I felt open, available – answers were waiting to be summoned from the depths of my being.

However, as I meditated on these questions, something terrible happened – I developed a case of writer’s block. The irony of all ironies; I was unprepared to write an essay on preparation! So at 4:30 on a Thursday morning in October I finally sat down to write this essay.

Kyle at Double Edge

Kyle training at Double Edge

From packing our lunches the day before to applying for a loan, preparation is a constant in our lives. It comes in many forms: psychic, physical and emotional. It allows us to ready ourselves for the future by drawing on experiences from the past. It is a necessity for human life.

As I traveled the road toward Ashfield (home of Double Edge Theatre), I was nearly overwhelmed. Had I packed enough? Read enough? Trained enough? Bottom line: Was I prepared?

But as soon as training commenced, I had an incredible insight. Though the Work was full of difficulties, everything I had done leading up to these sessions, all of my life experience, was the preparation for the events on “The Farm.” I was the sum total of everything I had done before, both good and bad, all of which accumulated into the current moment. By living deeply in the present, I was better able to draw on my past.

Preparation, it seemed, was life itself – deeply personal and critical to the task at hand. I began to perceive everything as preparation for the future, and thus part of the Work.

Rena Mirecka and Double Edge encouraged my new outlook. An hour before each training session (which could last anywhere from 2 – 5 hours), we were asked to begin our preparation. It took many forms. Stretching, dancing, singing, writing, reading and meditation were just some of the methods employed by the students. My mind became dizzy trying to understand this concept.

What would make our Work great? Would a certain level of preparation lay the groundwork for greatness? If everything could be considered preparation, what separated useful preparation from inappropriate preparation?

Quality.

Double Edge

More from a Double Edge training session

It is not the literal prepatory act (singing, stretching, meditation) but rather the quality with which the act is performed. To place a Performer in the best position possible for any given situation, a high level of quality (psychic, physical, mental and emotional), full of articulation and concentration, is necessary.

And even this does not ensure “great” results. At Double Edge, however, quality preparation allowed us to move from the realm of “daily life” into the “holy.” Our work was beyond the mundane. We were uncovering buried truths within ourselves; associations and imaginations needed to be fertile and easily accessible. The act of preparation became another form of training.

Since my month on The Farm, I have come to realize that within all progression there is a certain amount of regression. It is the old “two steps forward, one step back” cliché. Regardless of how prepared you are, perfection is unattainable – there will always be room for improvement.

This is not an argument against readying ourselves; instead we should continuously ready ourselves. We must not allow the fear of – the fear of regression– to limit our ability to grow. After all, the better prepared we are, the more chance for success we have. In this way, when regression takes place we will be in better positions than if we had merely relied on hope. And regression always leads to another chance for progression. So our best bet is to keep ourselves ready, prepared.

The outcome of almost any situation is dependent on the preparation we make beforehand. We are the sum total of our experiences. The result is only as good as the effort put forth to bring it about. Perhaps this essay is beginning to shape into an argument about what true “art” is…but I’ll leave that for another day. What I’m really trying to say is do yourself a favor and listen to the Boy Scouts, regardless of their stance on homosexuality, (check back soon for an essay on this topic), by being prepared!

Kyle on Wall - Double Edge

-Kyle Jozsa
Artistic Director

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