For a long time now I have had this strong sense that one of the reasons [principal reasons for our existence is in order to pass things on. Not necessarily directly, but to filter things through: take what already exists, respond to it, pass it on. (It has been theorized that everything imaginable that exists has always existed, only waiting to be uncovered.)
In talking of time, our notion of time, it is impossible to ignore our condi-toning - which seems to operate in so-called alternative or experimental situations [as well as in daily life]: to produce; to live in terms of products and production, ultimately to be defined by them. So, we must seek [out] true alternatives, beginning perhaps by working a month or two on a project, laying it aside, then resuming work on it. Because of our conditioning we seem to need even more time - time to rid ourselves of it as far as possible - yet paradoxically we have less. We have become so used to the 'quick fix' in daily life as well as in our work that we must begin by finding a way out.
Begin, see where the work leads, continue, shift, stop, leave, return. (Re-turning perhaps a year later as we did with resonance which I first directed at LaMaMa then took to the Washington Project for the Arts' Experimental Festival - with a new variant of the piece.) Whether hours or years it's all time. Many of the legendary Asiatic and European troupes that we admire, among other reasons, for having literally spent years on a production also perform every day so that the total number of hours spent in rehearsal may not be much more than, say, in a regional theatre in the USA. What is longer, much longer, however, is the time-span: one continues working even on days when one is not rehearsing, albeit unconsciously, gaining what I choose to call breathing space, breathing time.
Say you spend 200-odd hours working over a two-month period, or even over a six-month period, then present it to a public for a week or even a month, with the possibility of spending 50-60 more hours working on it. The aim is for the authentic moments to be close enough to each other to sustain the entire piece.
Not too close, nor too far apart so that if you picture it as a rope held up by two posts it would begin to sag too much; it does need to sag somewhat in order for the production / piece to come to life: it must be neither too taut nor too loose.
By permitting breathing space you permit true participation on the part of the audience literally, as the French say, "assisting at a spectacle," letting their own associations come into play. (In metaphoric terms the piece then becomes like a vessel that we [audience, public] are able to fill with our own associations… )
We are very much, I believe, at the tail end of an era where the role of the director has been predominant, just as I think that we are at the tail end of much in our civilization - in a true time of transition - and I have no idea where we are headed. I do, however, have some notion of where we are coming from as well as of certain shared values. If, to paraphrase what Stanislavsky is remembered as having said toward the end of his life, the main function of the director is to provide a runway from which the actor may take off, then lam convinced that the runway must be on terra firma grounded.