Son of Man, direct your face towards Blog, of the land of Mablog, the prince, the leader of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him.
Eziekiel 1: 38-39
Imagine you live in a little village. Its a happy place. Prosperous and gentle and fair and lovely. The thatch roof cottages sit nestled in buttery yellow wheat fields. There are festivals and dances and it seems the recent Typhus outbreak is fast becomming memory But there is one problem, there is an ogre, up the hill not two miles away, and he gambols down that hill every now and again and scoops up the most apple-cheeked, cherubic, five year old and rips opens its guts and feeds upon the leaky red entrails therein, while the mothers watch and ring their hands in grief. Then he gambols back up the hill, jump roping with the babe's lower intestines and singing Mid-period Moby songs.
Everyone in the village curses and cries and rends their burlap duds and then maybe they burn a goat and by morning they look out at those buttery wheat fields and understand the price of prosperity, they get over it and plan another barn dance.
Then a wandering knight, looking to impress his lady love back home rides into town. Not only is he gorgeous and charming and well-read, his record as a wandering knight is impeccable. Dragons vanquished, riddles solved, spells broken...you could go on forever baby.
He offers to solve your ogre problem. "Heck yes," you say.
You and your buddies armour up and you sing battle songs and play grabbies in the public shower and you head out, the golden knight leading his corn-liquor fueled posse.
You stand at the gates. Weapons poised. The clouds gather, somewhere an ominous bell is wringing. Where's it coming from? A solemn looking raven purches on a denuded tree branch.
You are unphased.
You hear the low, rumbling laugh of the creature.
You stand firm, confident in the knight.
Then over the black, iron gates, breaking the gray sheet of sky comes...a something...it hits right at your feet and when you get a closer look you see it is the head of that little five year old cutie, minus the eyes of course.
The ogres laughing becomes hysterical.
You miterate in your itchy breeches. Making them itchier.
Your knees knock together.
"Hold," Sayeth your captain.
You hold, he's just that good, in his golden helm and mighty sword, his cross draped shield and his...
Wait...wait a sec, what's that being hurled over the wall?
You find yourself in a shower of human body parts. The last thing that falls is the head of another knight, handsome face, golden helm, the works.
Minus the eyes of course.
And the ogre laughs till the earth at your feet shakes.
So what do you do? You run, you run like heck, back to the village. Will the knight and the posse take the gate? Slay the ogre. Who knows! Who cares!
So too is it with a devised piece. Our company was doing good. We had our share of success in a brief existence. But there is always the nagging to do more, to risk more. Then we decided to do a devised work. Which, most sensible people have a fear of. And we were on board, even the sensible ones.
And then come the heads.
Late nights, fast approaching deadlines, rehearsal after rehearsal waiting for the script, blocking waiting, designers waiting. And the ogre laughs and laughs.
Its scary. Reputations may be on the line, and you have started a process, without a play. You rehearse as you write, you have bull sessions and improvs, and they are all wonderful. And then its easy to let up and loose control. And then you scramble!
And you could run back to the village and be comfortable until the next time the monster comes down and then go back to being comfortable again after that. Or you could charge the gate, and risk becomming an eyeless head, thrown out of a gate to scare other posse's. You may fail. You may succeed, but to do the latter you must stay behind your knight.
We stormed the gate and brought that ogre down.
And now we have a dandy little play.
I love my wheat field. I always have, but what I love more is what it took to earn it. And who I earned it with.
So join me, raise your flagon of mead to the devised work, whether deemed successful or not. But drink not too much. For you never know what comes next to challenge you and your knight.