It is an exciting time to be a member of TUTA Theatre Company. While it is always exciting to be in the process of shaping a new show through the unique Tutian lens, our current project is one that really stretches our team and reaches for more innovative risk-taking than is usual, even for us. With the “Fulton Street Sessions”, TUTA is writing a show from the ground up, which puts us in a beautifully vulnerable space; a space in which all is possible.
As a company, we like to feed our work from a rich and diverse table. Our members bring knowledge and experience from various walks of life, in various artistic expressions. We are actors, writers, designers, directors, painters, poets, musicians, sculptors, dancers, jugglers, gardeners, chefs and so much more. This fall, when we began building a show upon a truly blank canvas, it seemed to make sense to bring all of our art and skills to it. We were in a place where we wanted to tickle our brains, to think outside the box and to allow our eyes to perhaps see differently.
From that space, the idea for an art retreat was born. We decided to spend a Saturday together in the studio, allowing ourselves to be inspired by the space and each other, letting inspiration move through us and into visual expression. We started with breakfast and a business meeting, then we set the stage for a day of imagination and fun. The center of the room had a station with art supplies of all sorts. Folks brought a ton of food that was laid out in a scrumptious buffet. November sun filled the space with light, while Z’s magical iPod filled it with music and mood.
It took us a while to get settled. People were eating, chatting and picking out their supplies. Some artists decided to pull old props out of the storage space to use as a foundation for their work. Within the hour though, everyone was working on a project and the focus was tangible. Most of the day, no voices were heard as a lovely, calm feeling settled over us; that flavor of peace and joy that comes to the artist in the midst of creation. Other times we’d break out in song, harmonizing with a favorite that came to us over the speakers. Folks would take breaks to to sip some wine or apple whiskey and to see and discuss each other’s work.
So we passed a delicious day, lost in possibility and the pleasure of one another’s company. I would often stop to look around and take in the beauty of the scene. Cast about the room, standing, sitting or lying on the floor were Tutians. Some were covered in chalk or pastel, some had paint on their chin, all were shining with intention looking somewhere between finger-painting toddlers and mad geniuses. It made inspiration and love swell up in me. I was reminded that as humans, art feeds us in a way that nothing else can and when we interact with art, particularly in community, we come alive in entirely new ways.