Forest spirit mask by Sandy Buck and Diego Samper.Photos by Diego Samper.
Difficulty at the beginning. How can everything be accomplished in five days? And a rocky gala, not the gala part but the under-rehearsed Fable. Most of the audience seemed not to notice but enjoyed the first formal performance Friday evening. Then Saturday, and rain. I stayed away. But Sunday! Deliverance! A crowd that grew larger for every show, a sky that brightened, lines, bits that became smoother, sometimes inspired. Spectators were eager to try the stunning masks Sandy and Diego created, open to what would happen next. Most things worked, or worked well enough that no one noticed the glitches. People returned from the forest smiling, many of them moved, touched. I was so happy for Chad, Sandy and Diego. Their vision became a reality. The dream from the earth, that they didn't know they had. Or maybe they did.
As for me, still pondering. I would write a different forest scene. Why, when the three different environments of the three different locations had given me the narrative arc I worked with, why was I surprised by the effects the three places had on the text and the performance? Not so much the spiral in the open; the cozy cobhouse, which invited play; but the simple solemnity of the forest. The changing light! Sun on moss-gloved limbs, rain. The first two acts worked better than the last. The forest absorbed voices. I would write stronger lines, create more tension, more of a ritual before the actual end, when a wonderfully conceived (by Sandy) spirit, in black and white, appeared in front of a burnt stump.