How Do You Start?

This manifesto, written by Lois, appeared in The Only Way Home is Through the Show: The Performance Work of Lois Weaver, edited by Jen Harvie.

Getting started is the hardest part and I tend linger on the threshold where I feel both tempted and terrified by the unknowns that are patiently waiting for me in the rehearsal room, anxiously occupying a workshop space, or hungrily stalking an empty page.

So I start with questions, any question. It can be personal or professional; painfully exquisite or extremely mundane, trusting that the smallest bait could catch the biggest fish.

I attempt to answer the question with the first thing that comes to my mind, acting on impulse and remembering to believe that my first thoughts are, by definition, my most original.

I may or may not tell the truth, maintaining a creative privilege of mixing fact and fiction.

One by one, I turn to everyone - friends, collaborators, students, ancestors - and ask them to ask me any question. It helps me get a measure of the voices in the room, the personalities at the table and reminds me that I don’t do this alone

Ask a question

Just say the word

Exhibit tendencies

Work with what you got

Act on an impulse

Pay attention to accident

Tangle a few stories

Have faith in detail

Perform a fantasy