I have probably written here before about my discovery that my (our) life has required big changes every seven years, more or less—confusing and often painful times when what has been built, cherished and praised has reached the time when it must be released in order to let a new cycle thrive. I wasn’t keeping track of the math, but my current inner turbulence made me check—yes, it’s that time again.
There have been times when what is coming is so eager and clear that the transition, while arduous, is lit with joy. Others, like this one now, have not yet lit their lamp, and it’s hard to see the shape in the dark. Memoir-writing has forced remembering, and this re-remembering sometimes offers new clarity. I’ve been piqued to see our long and multi-patterned life together as a weaving, a long runner-carpet where the designs, seen from a distance, have clearly shifted texture and color at these junctions. Each stretch is beautiful in its own way, different, but connected. The long warp-strings of life have remained intact, supporting the back-and-forth of the weft’s shuttle as the thread changes.
Then Covid came with its scissors and cut the warp. For sixty years we created theatre work together, and what pulled it into being and kept it alive was connection with our audiences. I could hear them breathe, sometimes snuffle or hicccup, and it was all shared in the telling of that moment’s story. Everyone is the space was present with each other, not just with us, the performers. The sudden guffaw from the stranger in the next seat could be the key to getting the joke you’d missed. The surreptitious nose-blow blessed your own tears. When Covid came calling, the rooms emptied. Zoom just doesn’t do it.
Both of us have kept the words coming, written for the publication rather than performance. The stories are being written, but ink and paper don’t applaud or hug you after the last page is turned. Slowly, theatres have recovered and audiences are coming back, but there are few venues that can support intimate live audiences. Both of us are now at an age where serious illness can bring permanent damage. I realize that the warp isn’t there for the shuttle.
But the loom is still there. It needs to be re-strung. The warp-threads need to be new, not tied to the old with ugly knots. I see this as our work together now, to be open to a new design and willing to create something different upon which to weave it. Part of it will be how, as we both age and change, to adapt to our new realities in the most loving way and ask kindness to re-string the loom.