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From Lisa – Tales from the Tour – “Amazing and Exhausting”

September 14, 2018

We’ve been home for roughly a week now from Poland and our residency at Teatr Brama, but I’ve still not figured out how to answer the question, “How was it?” It’s difficult to express the intense three weeks we spent together in the small town of Goleniow with hundreds of artists from around the world creating, performing, breaking bread, and toasting to the power of art. The best I’ve managed is: “It was equal parts amazing and exhausting,” which while accurate, could be applied to many things.

I’ll try a little harder and get help from a visual aid! Here’s a short video of Stefan, a new friend from Denmark (who coincidentally has a connection to Sandglass Theatre, a puppet company in Vermont, Touchstone has presented many times). This is his first attempt at testing his rigging to scale the elementary school where a remounting of Pink Floyd’s The Wall would take place as part of the Human Mosaic Festival’s opening ceremony.

Stefan would be playing a member of the SWAT team in one of three songs Touchstone directed, once we were on the ground in Poland. In the show, this moment happened at the start of the song “Run Like Hell” with Mary, Christopher, and Jason are all playing dictators who have just called in the police to control the crowd. If you’re curious as to how it all played out, there was live stream video taken of the full performance, which also features Jp, Emma, and Jason as vocalists and musicians. Video here.

But, I digress; back to the video of Stefan and the task of scaling a three-story elementary school. For me, this moment encapsulates the whole experience. It’s a this-would-never-happen-in-the-US kind of dangerous, a little crazy, totally thrilling, physically and mentally exhausting, and thankfully all ended well with a great sense of pride and accomplishment.

For us, the task abroad was to represent ourselves, Touchstone, and ultimately the US, given the international scope of the Festival. It was something we did as best as we could through the theatre we performed and created with the community, and through daily interactions in the rehearsal room, at the bar, at the dinner table, or passing on the street. I think we did well. We did, after all, get everyone up and line dancing (yes, you read that correctly) as part of America Night (see photos below). While we didn’t help matters by dressing like cowboys, it was endlessly amusing to me to see that this is how they think we all dance!

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Stay tuned for more musings on the residency in Poland from the rest of the “Americans” as we were often referred to. Dziękuję! (pronounced, roughly: gin coo-yeh) Thank you!

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