We've got some catching up to do! The last thing I wrote was that ENDURE was named one of the Most Memorable Theatre Moments of 2011 by The Calgary Herald. About a month before that, in early December, I got up off my butt after three weeks on the couch recovering from the most intense year of my life: an artistic ultramarathon of writing, traveling to Sweden, rehearsing, performing, touring to Canada and remounting the show for seven weeks in Brooklyn last fall.
I got off the couch and I went for a lot of walks and did a lot of staring into space. I thought about our plan for 2012. I thought about London. I thought about the Olympics.
I couldn't stop thinking about the Olympics. How they only happen every four years and if you've got a show about marathoning just hanging around, well.
Wouldn't you take it to the Games?
I'd had this thought before. I brought it up in production meetings in the early fall and my team smiled and nodded in that 'there goes Jones' kind of way.
Then Calgary, my hometown, got selected as the Cultural Capital of Canada for 2012. And $3.5 million bucks for arts and culture came with it. There was a grant program supporting artists from Calgary who want to bring work abroad. Then there's Calgary's own Olympic legacy and, well.
Wouldn't you apply for that grant?
In applying for that grant, I had to hustle up a plan. Some way to present my show in London during the Games. And someone said, 'While you're over there, why not go to Edinburgh?' Which I'd never thought about and which scared the bejeezus out of me, frankly, but I mean, yeah. Why not?
It turns out that going to Edinburgh is a great way to get your show to London. I connected with two venues who have theatres in Edinburgh and London and when I pitched the Olympics/sport connection and bringing the show to both cities, well.
Wouldn't you present my show?
Then I entered a phase of my life I like to call Negotiating. It's lasted almost six months so far and I'm not finished yet. At the peak, I had three presenters interested and was facing down big moral/ethical/philosophical dilemmas because the people who offer you the moon are sometimes not the people you want to be working with. But it takes a lot of soul-searching and integrity-probing to understand that.
So I let go of the moon, and as my friend Jon likes to say: I landed among the stars.
I got that crazy grant. And I got another grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts who invested in the original creation of ENDURE and I'm so proud to have their support as we take it to the next level. I've entered another phase of my life I like to call Asking For Large Amounts Of Money. That phase hasn't ended yet, either. Nor will it, I suppose.
I suspect these new phases are actually just me graduating up as an artist and a producer. The lessons get bigger. The stakes get higher. It's like that part in ENDURE about training and how you're getting stronger, but you don't feel stronger because the workouts get harder and the long runs get longer.
That's what's happening over here.
This Olympic idea was my dream. And if you want your dream done, you have to do it. It won't get done for you. So you just step into uncertainty and count on the ground to be there. And you push off that little bit of ground and step out again. You just leverage hope against hope, and keep doing that. Over and over until you get there.
Sometimes my friends see me go down into the gopher hole and then three months later I pop back up and I'm six miles from where I started. And they wonder how I got all the way over there and what the hell happened down there anyway and I don't know what to tell them except it was lonely and hard and worth every second.
So that's pretty much how it's been.
There were three solid months of very alone this-is-impossible work when all I had was this idea and this unshakable conviction that it had to be done. Gradually, incrementally, pieces started coming together and now, it seems suddenly, I have presenters and dates and a crew and plane tickets and how did this happen I'm going to the UK.
And, don't worry, you'll be hearing a lot more from me now.
You'll hear season announcements. And that tickets are on sale. You'll hear about fundraising campaigns I'd be honoured if you'd support and spread the word about. You'll hear about media coverage. You'll hear about sponsors, and maybe that will remind you of someone who would LOOOOVE to sponsor this and you'll email me.
But mostly, you'll hear how it's going. How the show has to change and we have to change with it. What new muscles we're working out and the funny, dorky stuff that happens when you leave your comfort zone (again!) and start something new.
We'll be leveraging hope, putting one foot in front of the other and trying to take you with us as we do. It's great to be back.