There’s a little known unloved show called 70 Girls 70 that I am currently addicted to listening to on my daily commute. I am pretty much sure I am the only person on the District Line tapping along to a bit of hard core Kander & Ebb. I remember one time my headphone socket alarmingly came unplugged and “The Sun Has Got His Hat On” blurted out at full volume to a carriage full of zombie-like commuters. Not embarrassing at all, I tried to regain my dignity and style it out, but alas it was a lost cause! Anyway, I digress. There is a song entitled “Yes” in 70 Girls 70 and its lyric has really struck a chord with me over the past weeks. The power of saying Yes.
So many times when I am choreographing a show, someone will challenge an idea, a dance step, a creative vision. Oh how I long for someone to just say: “Yes, I will happily give that a go”. Why not find one reason to try something instead of 20 reasons not to? I ask the same of myself; when a director, a producer wants something changed, I have to say Yes and try it, for without courage to try one will never know. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but at least I tried.
I recently had the pleasure of working with students from Laine Theatre Arts. Every time I suggested trying a crazy idea they all said Yes. The first day I was thrown by this, I’m used to normally having to sell the idea, do a Dragon’s Den style pitch to a doubtful creative team, beg or plead with an artist to give it a go. Not at Laines. Their collective power of saying Yes moved me. Their fearless approach to experiment in the studio, to put themselves on the line, to take a wager showed huge audacity and heart. It got me to thinking: I wonder if experience and age makes us more fearful? Take children, they will merrily bulldoze their way into trying something without much attempt to analyse it before. Perhaps we should all take a leaf out of their books and remind ourselves to every now and then try something and say Yes. For if you risk nothing then surely you risk everything?
To quote 70 Girls 70 – “Don’t say why, say why not. What lies beyond what is, is not. So what, say Yes!”