The fall run of ENDURE has been humbling and encouraging in equal measure. Humbling because after coming off a summer of totally sold-out runs and piles of press, our fall shows are just now, after three weeks, beginning to pick up steam. With a long run of four shows per weekend, the sense of urgency falls away. Something else has to take its place and that thing is a mixture of time, patience, dogged effort and a little thing called word-of-mouth.
This is all new to me. Not only am I the world's most impatient person, but I am (for better or for worse) personally fueled by urgency, adrenaline, panic and caffeine. This 'baby steps' business is outside my nature and my comfort zone.
And this is where my producer Suchan should pipe up with a big, fat "I told you so." Because he did.
This is also the first piece of my creative work to endure (forgive me) in this way. My past projects have been one-offs and short runs, never to be revisited. This is my first project with real, ahem, legs. It's been an incredible experience to make something, premiere it, tour it and then put it up again. We're already planning and preparing for next year and taking steps to ensure the success of that, too.
I'm proud of the commitment I've given and will continue to give this process. But, every step of the way has been a huge learning curve. And as I finally accept the fact that my push-push-push approach is not working, I notice an incredible new thing emerging.
I refer to it in my head as our community of champions. It's a small but growing group of people who are taking this show and running with it, gently and organically expanding its reach into this giant, anonymous, tough-as-nails town.
They are people like Julie, our first champion whose commitment to this show has been monumental. As in, we should make a monument in honor of her. I'm serious. Then there's Michael Rodgers from the Women's Sports Foundation – who we are just beginning an exciting relationship with (more on that soon). And Hilary who is celebrating her birthday next week by bringing a dozen friends to the show. I also just had the delightful experience of inviting a journalist to a performance who had already heard about the show from someone or somewhere else.
Means it's happening. Whatever it is, it's happening.
This process reminds me of new grass. The way that little point of electrified green emerges, all tender and new, and gradually pushes upward, imperceptibly but steadily. You can't push new grass to get it to grow faster. You can't pull it, either. You have to just sit with it and be present and watch it slowly come up on its own.
This is how ENDURE will succeed. Expanding up and out, slowly but surely, from the same thing that makes grass grow. 'The force that through the green fuse drives the flower,' as Dylan Thomas would have it.
I keep getting this message over and over from different sources and in different words: do less, be more. There is something to that and those who have seen the show know how it relates to the content of ENDURE.
How do we expand into better versions of ourselves? How do we go the distance and get to where we want to go? By pushing and whipping and driving ourselves forward...or by that other force, that something else that comes through like new grass: gentle and steady.