Helga Davis: Oh, put your headphones on, Peter. Ah-ah. [scat sings] Oh, yeah. [laughter] Come on, put your arms around me.
Peter Sellars: I want to hug you can hug you and hug you some more right through all these microphone cables.
Helga Davis: [chuckles]
Shara Nova: I know I'm in the right time in the right space.
Helga Davis: I'm Helga Davis. My years as a performer have brought me to places and in touch with people who awe me and whose creative practice doesn't begin or end with a performance. I suppose one could get wrapped up in semantics, but this really is not about semantics. I feel inside that there's a big difference between an interview and a conversation. What you're about to hear is a conversation.
We begin with three friends, Shara Nova, Henry Threadgill, and Peter Sellars. They are three artists whose work I depend on to show me the way.
Shara Nova: We want control, a perceived control, and I think art-making is like subjecting yourself to this admission that you don't have control. So, I think that many or maybe all of my decisions are motivated by challenge.
Henry Threadgill: Only through wasting time and daydreaming, a given event to the most wildest and absurd thoughts that you ever tap into this.
Peter Sellars: Well, you know, the actual script of your life is way better than the script you wrote.
Helga Davis: Yeah.
Peter Sellars: What you had in mind is just not interesting compared to what happened, and always what happened is way deeper, way, way more challenging in one way, but way more pleasurable in another because you do have to surrender and you just have to enjoy falling forward and not being able to catch yourself.
Helga Davis: I found this quote from this Polish theatre director I love, whose name is Jerzy Grotowski-- and I'm sure I've mashed that up quite properly. Whatever, get over it. He says, "What does it mean not to hide from another person, not to veil or mask yourself from another person, not to play a different person, to reveal yourself, to reveal yourself, to disarm yourself before another person and to come forth like that?"
This is the way I want to live. These are the conversations I want to have, and I can't think of a better thing to do right now than to be in my body and out of my head across from someone else.
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