Our time at Mount Tremper was an artists' utopia. Creating and rehearsing for 12 hours a day, eating fresh fruits and vegetables from the land, engaging in constant conversation and drifting off into a deep sleep from total exhaustion.
Sure, certain days the pain in my body almost intolerable and of course putting 11 new friends, acquaintances even, in one home together for a week can be a bit stressful. But everyone made a concerted effort to be on their best behavior even after a glass of wine, or two.
My favorite part was waking up each morning to find myself surrounded by nature, almost enveloped by its presence. Having a cup of coffee next to another company member on the front porch; sitting in complete silence with the exception of heavy rain or morning dew accompanied by a song bird.
No words needed to be exchanged because there was harmony in our silence. A mutual understanding of the work that needed to be done. A personal meditation to empty our minds and to discover the mental stamina needed to sustain yourself that day. At Mount Tremper, we could leave our daily lives behind. The routine that that I cling to was forgotten on a Subway platform in Bushwick. I was myself but more malleable, no longer a fixed point or structured body.
Upstate, I could become (or attempt to become) anything that was required of the task at hand. I was a piece of bark basking in the sunlight resting on the surface of hot stone. I was the letter "A". I was just a blur passing through particles of light. I was magnetic, metallic, soft, disintegrating. I a single piece of skin hanging from a frail branch.
By the end of our long week together, one look to another ensemble member could convey our internal commentary. Whether it was an inside joke or the need to by understood. Mount Tremper allowed me to build trust with each ensemble member, Ximena, Shige, Joe, and Lucy too. We have a common experience to ground out next adventure together.
Returning to Brooklyn and getting back onto the Subway was, in a word, overwhelming. There were so many people trying to solidify their tribe by their personal identifiers. I was forced back into my social body by the first glance I received from a stranger: female, brunette, middle class, artist, dancer and even the dreaded "hipster". Each look from an unfamiliar face on the J became more and more noisy. All I could do was avert my eyes to the window and hope that the buildings outside would transform into the Catskills.