TEACHER TALKS

 

Elements: A Love Story: A Director's Note

Elements: A Love Story is the culmination of more than two years of sleepless nights, dedication and passion. Here, middle and high school Drama teacher and Director, Chloe Keller reflects on its origins and conceptualization.

Elements: A Love Story: A Director’s Note

By Chloe Keller, Middle and High School Drama Teacher

This play is my love letter to men. It is my praise and dance of gratitude to the struggles you endure to be in relationships with us. Men are beautifully simple and women are elegantly complex. This makes it challenging to be together sometimes. This story is one man’s journey to find his other half as she continues to move in ways most elusive. Most love stories focus on the woman’s journey, but this one is for the men, about the men, because of the men.

Elements was originally written to be a companion piece to four circus-based shows, each rooted in a different element; Earth, air, fire, and water. But this story did not come to me as liquidly as its predecessor. An artist can work diligently, but creativity will not be dictated by time and human demands. And so it sat, incomplete, for two years. I struggled. I could not find the road to a completed text, but rather, fragmented scenes and snippets. Creativity, like love comes not when it is bidden, but rather, in the heavy night, unburdened by the scrutiny of day. And so I slept. And creativity and love rendezvoused into one perfectly conceived scene. I woke up at 3:30 am, saw the play in its entirety and began to write it down furiously. By breakfast, it was complete – two years and one night later.

I wanted the world premier of this play to be at Keystone’s Performing Arts Center. I felt very strongly that the first full-length production in our new performing arts center should belong to this theatre and no other. It too should be on its maiden voyage. This was a deciding factor in choosing to produce Elements. What could be more fitting than a new play for a new theatre? A premier and a world premiere.

This story is told through the medium of Physical Theatre in which text becomes secondary to the dialogue of the body. It is a physical narrative. Each scene is structured around a specific form of a particular element. The quality of movement in each scene is subtly informed by its elemental form. Air, for example takes the soft quality of zephyr and the more dynamic structure of tornado. You may wonder, if you were born in this hemisphere, why metal and wood are not directly addressed as elements in this play. In other philosophies, they are considered to be part of Earth, (although I did sneak metal in). When I moved here I marveled that Air was not considered an essential element in Eastern philosophy. If it were, perhaps its purity would be more carefully guarded. This piece concerns itself primarily with the Fifth element: Love.

This play is dedicated to loves lost, the love on its way, and all the men who have loved me, raised me, and shaped my bowl. I thank you. Of particular note are my beloved Uncles Brad and Keith, two of the sweetest men I know, who instilled in me the value of kindness; my brother Theo whom I admire and adore above all else; my best friend George who is a king among men; and most especially, to the first man in my life, my father and fellow artist, Ted Keller who has taught me that love and artists come in many forms.

Posted by steven on Friday November, 27, 2015 at 01:00PM
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