For the past few months I have been allowing this story to twist and turn and lead me to places I didn't think I'd ever go. My teacher Dan Hurlin said once that when making work it is important to identify the autobiographical element in a piece. When I stumbled upon the story of Topsy in the book, "Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked-Tailed Elephant" by Michael Daly, I had no idea how it was autobiographical to my life. After four years of thinking about it, starting and stopping, and then having the opportunity here at Dixon Place as an artist-in-residence to fully dive in and commit to figuring it out I still didn't know how it resonated with me. I kept trying new ways to approach the story, new ideas for what I could do on stage, even going so far as thinking about making it a cooking show. I wrote it all down, sketched out scenes and how they would look and then after a few weeks I wouldn't like where I was headed. I didn't know where I was going but I knew it wasn't quite right. I have kept following my hunches like, "I think Tony Robbins belongs in this play," and following the paths and trying not to judge the journey. And then it finally hit me! I know how this piece is autobiographical..at least for now. Who knows what will happen tomorrow but for now, I'm sailing ahead with dance numbers, cardboard wigs, a dash of Tony Robbins, and at least one elephant costume.
Making cardboard wigs is harder than I thought it would be. Dough Donuts and coffee helps.