Normally these blog entries are about general troupe stuff but for this one I’d like to be both more specific and more general at the same time.  My husband and I run Phoenix Swords and we do this because we are driven by our interests. We like:

  • History
  • Swords
  • Theater
  • Creating things
  • Education
  • Applause

These combine nicely into running a sword performance troupe. But if that was all there was to keeping a group going, then everyone would be able to do it.  And in addition, if we never brought anything new into the mix, we sure wouldn’t be able to do it this long a time. We feed into what the troupe does by doing the following things;

We do research. Sure there is Google and Wikipedia but anyone who is claiming to do historical work needs to bring more to the table than that. We’ve taken the time either go through or paid a translator to read and decipher sword manuals for us. We have peers who do this weekly and we share our material so that it may be presented to the public. And yes, we also get to have our work critiqued-if you can’t stand to have that happen, then perhaps you are doing it incorrectly. I’ve described the process here.  But when someone asks the hard questions, we can back up what we have done and over the years, earned some respect.

Collecting and composting-works for gardens and works for your mind . I like to have a sponge-like mind and keep photos and notes and sometimes just let things rattle around in my brain.  I have a friend with a hard drive full of just *stuff* related to her historical interests (You know who you are) another with a thesis that keeps growing offshoots and interests. And you should collect physical skills as well. I never thought that a six-week course in Capoeira( would make a dent (and the class collectively were the ages of myself and my husband…ouch) but to this day I still do some of the exercises because they are of benefit!  Feed into that need to grow and give yourself time to absorb it. I once had a joke that took two years to come to fruition. Maybe I’m just slow, but we’ll just say that it wasn’t ripe enough yet!

Have fun, this seems like a no-brainer but sometimes we can forget to do that. I am grateful for our friends, troupe members  and Godkids because they remind us that what we are is actually pretty cool. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that it’s not always the lists/packing/unpacking/training slog and that our work impacts other people. We go to see movies, we goof around with light sabers in the living room, we throw objects at one another,  we come up with silly fight ideas that might just get made into a show. Some events I look forward to because they are giant “think tanks” with other fighters and fight groups.  In that instance we exchange ideas and we can do some physical motion, be silly and use props. And when we took vacation this year, it was to a number of historical sites and we learned quite a bit you can’t just pick up in books. If you can’t funnel fun into your end result *somehow* then you should be setting a time limit and be making A LOT of money to sooth that ache.

Because we run the group, we don’t have some of the constraints our members do.  If we don’t like an idea, it doesn’t get financed. If we have an opinion, it’s generally going to be the final say.  The not-so–fun side is we have to do all the drudge work (can you say financing ,travel,  taxes and repair?) And yes, we as bosses will take criticism, because it’s safe to say that although we try to see things through the eyes of our folks, we have a limited view. And that is one the strengths as well-getting new input to keep things fresh, current and interesting!

With the performance season coming up we have to get out into the cold and remember that when spring comes, we have to hit the ground running and that we do this for…reasons!