The Blue Flower: Director’s Note

NOV 17, 2010

A brief history and varied thoughts on The Blue Flower by director Will Pomerantz.

I first met Jim Bauer in 2001 on a Bleecker Street sidewalk in downtown New York. I was involved in creating two new theater spaces out of a former lumber yard and was taking a breather when a somewhat intense stranger buttonholed me and asked what was going on in there. I gave him a quick tour, during which he told me he was creating a piece about artists in Weimar Germany and that it would be perfect for just such a space and would I be interested in hearing more about it? Thus began my journey with the Bauers and The Blue Flower.

I met Ruth soon after, when I attended a concert version of their piece. The music was unlike anything I had ever heard and it contained an emotionality that hit me in a way I didn’t recognize. I told the Bauers to stay in touch with me with any further developments, of which there would be many over the next few years, as other listeners had reactions similar to mine. One stop along the way was the Music Theatre Workshop at ASCAP, where we first met Stephen Schwartz, who would become an important champion of the piece. Multiple years and iterations later, we find ourselves all working together again in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is exciting indeed.

I love the fact that Ruth and Jim do not come from theater backgrounds (rather visual arts and music), yet they have created something intensely theatrical, and theatrical on its own terms.

I often think of the theater event as a sort of séance—a place where the mysteries of time, space and humanity are plumbed to conjure living ghosts that exist beautifully for a few hours. In the case of The Blue Flower, the séance analogy is even more apt. However, the ghosts that haunt the world of The Blue Flower are not disembodied apparitions from some other dimension, but rather beings that spring from within Max, his memories and his work.

The performance space you see before you is a metaphorical one, a place of memory—a chamber that can resonate with histories of art, war, and the painful calculus of what it means to be human. It is a place where Max can wrestle with what he has done and whether it is possible to create something which might make things just a bit better.

Will Pomerantz

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