October 1, 2012
Home Again…

…from Co-Creation

From Sebastopol to Brooklyn to Millbrook NY to Sutton MA to Portsmouth NH to Hoboken NJ to the Bronx to Philadelphia to another Philly to Pottstown PA to Nazareth PA to Bloomsburg PA to Philly again to DC to Baltimore to Norfolk VA back to Philly to Lancaster PA to Philly to Milwaukee to Boulder and home. 21 readings in all of our memoir Co-Creation: Fifty Years in the Making, plus visiting countless friends.

Just a taste of the old days of touring, when we might be two or three months on the road. Very different driving the Prius rather than the Dodge Maxivan, and no kids now bouncing in the back. These days, if there’s nothing on the radio across Nebraska, we can plug in the iPod for Brahms, Beethoven, Roger Waters or Tin Hat. And then pull into a Mcdonald’s where we can get a wi-fi signal outside the building to collect email while studiously avoiding the so-called food.

But it’s much the same in many respects. Crashing one night in a truckstop, another at a campground, then a string of guest rooms or floor futons, from elegant to minimalist. Fierce storms, gorgeous vistas, flaming sunsets, then dodging psychotic drivers in a cancerous megalopolis or bound up in constipated construction zones. Trying to finish the second draft of our novel or learn lines for the next show or struggle through the cartoon wilderness of a Thomas Pynchon novel in the short bursts of free time before arriving and setting up or crashing after the show. And above all, the intensity of reunions and post-show connection—encountering the vast diversity of the worlds otherwise known as human beings.

And between sales of books and dvds and the generosity of folks passing The Hat, we’re actually making money. And drinking a lot more of our hosts’ wine than we should.

What comes next with Co-Creation? We’re not sure, though we hope to continue more touring on the West Coast: our 41 readings to date have convinced us that we’re doing something important with this. (If you haven’t seen the book, you can still order online.)

And another notion has been confirmed by this tour: our desire to redefine our theatrical events outside the bounds of the “entertainment calendar.” All but five of our 21 gigs have been in the homes of friends, and all to some degree in a celebratory, get-together atmosphere. There’s an intimacy there, a vulnerability, the sense of a gift exchange that bypasses the commodity culture that pervades even the most serious art scenes. That’s the cradle we want to nestle our new babies in.

Many unanswered questions: Can we return to some of our old hosts as well as expanding our network to new friends and new locales? Can we perform a fully-mounted production—even if simple—in very confined spaces? Can we produce a King Lear in a party ambiance? Will gas prices outstrip the capabilities of The Hat? We’ll see.

Meantime, we continue learning our lines.

Peace & joy—

Conrad Bishop