Last night I went to see a piece of theatre called Clarke and I Somewhere in Connecticut by Theatre Replacement. The show, which I've been hearing about for a couple of years through various channels is now on tour and came to our fair city for a short run.
In the play, a multi-media meditation on identity, copyright and ownership, a man finds a suitcase full of photo albums and travelogue-style writings and decides to create a theatre piece.
During the show's development, he seeks out the family in the photographs to get permission to use the memorabilia and he runs into all kinds of legal issues and roadblocks. These trials and tribulations are woven into the storytelling of the piece.
What struck me most about the work was that the creator of the piece cared enough in the first place about the contents of the suitcase to want to use them in some way to create art. To him, they were something so special, so beautiful, and so deeply weird, that he was compelled to go on a massive quest to be able to use them.
This got me thinking about the art of a life. If I pass someone on the street that person means nothing to me. If I were to examine his/her individual life through photographs and journal entries I would see that same individual in a deeper way.
When I am super-busy and wrapped up in my own life I often do a little exercise to help me get out of my self-centredness. I look at the Big Picture.
I remember that there are 6 billion+ people out there and every single one of them has a life as full as my own. Every single person is dealing with the details of his/her existence in the best way he/she knows how and probably feels that whatever is going on for him/her is monumental in some way. Every single person's life has meaning and depth.
What this kind of thinking does is remind me that nothing in my life is actually that monumental. My details are no more or less important than your details. My life in photographs would be as rich as your life in photographs. The actual content of the photographs, what is happening, where it's happening, is irrelevant. The scope of a life is not.
This is what last night's show embodied for me. The appreciation for the scope and art of a life.
Inspiring Message of the Day: Take a picture of yourself in a seemingly boring or mundane situation. Imagine someone looking at that photograph in the future. Imagine that person recognizing the scope and depth of your life from that image. Now embrace the scope of your own life today and do the same for others.