If visual art is a response to space and music a response to time, then theatre and film are a response to time and space. My goal with #VincentJohnDoe was to respond to the vertical relationship between #timeandspace. Everything that ever happened, or will happen, is happening right now.
Could it be the world isn’t ready to give up its horizontal (linear/sequential) concept of time and space?
Somewhere in the process of rehearsing this play, I came to realize something I couldn’t quite put into words. I suppose I should have mentioned it to the director, that the whole thing, the entire action of the play, is the fantasy of a broken, desperate woman who conjures Van Gogh from the past, in an elaborate hallucination, a journey within her own beautiful mind, to find the answers she so desperately needs, to satisfy a deep longing, to finally make sense of her “insane” existence. She was born in the wrong time, a gifted composer, sexually assaulted by her father, her life and creativity hijacked by abuse. To survive, she became connected to Vincent by a dream, falling in love with a man long dead and buried, in a relationship that defies our linear concept of time and space. But this fantasy, this coping method, the time travel, carefully constructed in order to reconcile the horror she experienced, to protect her heart, her pearl, keeps her stuck in an impossible conundrum between the real and the imagined. She weaves her elaborate story of Van Gogh into her present existential struggle to somehow make sense of her impossible life. She wonders, “what if he were here.” She manifests Vincent in a last ditched effort to save herself from certain death.
Talk about an acting challenge?!
The role of Angel is mostly autobiographical. The play is written from her perspective. The writing of it was part of a cathartic healing process for me. One hopes that the work stands alone as a work of art and not a therapeutic process. I think it does. But I’m somewhat biased.
I will say that Brooke Mogy Watkins (and Ariel last year) did a fantastic job living into her experience with the part of Angel. And despite the many setbacks in the production, everyone did a spectacular job. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful. Thanks again to all who put their heart and soul into helping me fully realize this work.