Monday, January 07, 2008
At the Dragon's Egg in Ledyard, Connecticut, things are accomplished in cycles. Some of the events are transient, others are tied to seasonal shifts. Later this September there will be a poetry reading timed to coincide with the autumnal equinox, just as there was one to herald the Spring. Summertime brings artists together for an assemblage project based on a common text. Pieces are assembled on the day of the event to tell the designated story. It is rehearsed once and then presented for the public.
The Dragon's Egg is a sacred space dedicated to hosting artists. Upon entering one must abandon their shoes at the door. Chairs are available for people with special needs, but most folks sit on pillows that are spread along the floor. The archway is festooned with prayer flags and above them hangs a series of bells that beg to be rung.
The space is secluded, on the remnants of an old farm, surrounded by woods. The shape of the space is an open sphere. Throughout the year the space welcomes resident guests who come and work on artistic projects. I participate in these events and find myself rejuvenated as a result. This year I became a member of the board of directors for the Egg, and so am committed to the continued life and use of the space.
Two years ago I workshopped a new play at the Egg with a week-long residency. The play itself became a ritual. The space was conducive to that form. Rehearsing barefooted brought a visceral immediacy to the work with the actors that would not have been experienced otherwise. The act of removing our shoes as we entered the space was always mindful and reverential. It reminded us that we pass through the space with others, that we share the space, and that others will come after us and care for the space too, along with us, at some future time.
People often describe their time at the Egg as "magical" whether they come as artists or as observers. Baring our feet, like sweeping the floor after we were done with our work, or turning out the lights, is part of the ritual, and an essential element of the Egg experience.
For more about the Egg on the web:
The Dragons Egg or
Dragons Egg on Squidoo