“He never approaches a play with a concept in mind … rather, he researches the piece intensely, then tries to extrapolate in a way that might speak to a modern audience.”
From “Big ideas, with bells and whistles” by Sarah Hemming in the September 12/13, 2009 issue of the Financial Times (interviewing director Rupert Gold).
In the boathouse one day, my rowing buddy AT Lynne told me that we all have 80,000 thoughts a day and that, like, 2 of them are new or original or unique. The rest are things we’ve read in a book or a magazine or on the internet, heard on TV or the radio or from someone else, already thought about yesterday and so on.
Knowing this caused Lynne to pay more attention to her thoughts — and she found, to her surprise and despair, that most of them were, in fact, the same old-same old. So she committed to having — and preserving — one truly new thought a day.
Lynne now carries around index cards in her pockets (even in her rowing jacket) so that as soon as she gets THAT thought, she can write it down. She stores these cards in her actual “thot box” (try saying it aloud, it works), otherwise known as “a shrine to my sweet and incessantly creative imagination.”
Lynne: Since I started this project, I’ve written rough drafts of 4 screenplays. I’m expanding my “Games of the Mind” series (“@’s New Thot Box” is game #2), which you can see on my website. I’ve developed and now teach 4 adult education courses and I’ve got a weekly spoken-word radio show called “Drive-By Shorts.”
Susan: If you have more than one original thought a day, do you bank it for a day when you don’t have any?
Lynne: I haven’t had a day like that yet! Anyway, I write them as I have them. The more the merrier!
Susan: Evidently …
“… (Merce) Cunningham championed the use of chance procedures. As a compositional tool he found that throwing dice (or more typically, casting the hexagrams of the I Ching) allowed him to invent new movements that avoided the ruts of his personality.”
From “Can Modern Dance Be Preserved?” by Arthur Lubow, in the November 8, 2009 issue of The New York Times Magazine.
“His teacher had eschewed power tools. As Arts and Crafts dictated, everything was done by hand. Mr. Peters, steeped in that ethic but open to things new, found power tools useful.”
From the obituary of Alan Peters, “probably Britain’s best furniture-maker … the leader of the craft furniture revival in the 1970s and 1980s,” in the November 7, 2009 issue of The Economist.
Perhaps it was inevitable, the dimming lustre of Lego’s creative fires, as the legendary Danish toy-building-block company grew up and became a ubiqitous world-wide brand.
Lego amusement parks were the first sign, for me. They seemed antithetical to the idea of individual play that those colored blocks meant to my son Alex for many years of his childhood. Amusement parks are all about group activity, mass movements.
And Lego sets of famous buildings such as Fallingwater and the Empire State Building? Alex seemed to think that the point of his Lego blocks was to make his own architectural discoveries.
“Beyond the Blocks,” the Lego profile by Nelson D. Schwartz in the September 6, 2009 issue of The New York Times, was truly disheartening. I understand corporate financial pressures. But reading his review of all the steps Lego has taken to restructure itself, and therefore survive, in recent years, I was struck by the sense that Lego is now limited. I had thought it was all about individual creativity, which is unlimited. Children playing with the latest Lego-licensed/structured/themed video game featuring, say, Indiana Jones, are “playing out Hollywood’s imagination, not their own,” said a psychologist quoted by Mr. Schwartz.
Most telling of all about the place of creativity in Lego’s current mind-set was a comment by the head of Lego’s new business group: “(Employees) have to design for Lego. If you want to design for yourself, go be an artist.” Such contempt! Funny, some of the young artists (and engineers) I know started out playing with Legos.