My friend Isaac, whose Bar Mitzvah I’ll attend on Saturday, January 8th right after the first auditions for “Alice in Wonderland (Musical,)” taught me how to cook. I was visiting with him a few years ago when he still went to Central Park School. Isaac said, “I want to make some soup.” I thought he meant he was going to open a can of Campbell’s and heat it up. But Isaac showed me that to make soup you start with any liquid that catches your imagination and add whatever vegetables, fish, meat and spices you happen to have at hand that day. After 30 minutes a large soup pot was simmering on the stove and the kitchen was filled with delicious smells.
Since then I’ve become a brave bold cook. I don’t wait to find out how someone else made swordfish scampi before me. I add shredded ginger, garlic, green peas, black pepper and whatever else takes my imagination that night. Sometimes it fails to turn out how I thought it would and on very rare occasions the whole meal is barely edible, but most often I discover a new, surprising, delicious taste experience and a nourishing dinner as well.
Last night I was visiting Isaac again, using his brand new super computer to make some DVDs for a Durham Family Theatre grant application. I showed my friend the latest DFT Newsletter with the announcement about our Young Artist Poster Design Contest. Isaac said, “Does it have to be one kind of art?” And I thought of soup. “Nope,” I said, “it can be whatever kind you like to do – paint, pencil, crayon, chalk …” “Graphic?” Isaac said, “Like a graphic comic book.” “Absolutely.” I said. “Any kind of art you like to do.”
It made me think about creativity. How now-a-days so much focus goes to getting famous it’s easy to forget how natural it is to all human beings to want to create. With whatever materials we like, with what’s at hand, with what catches our fancy and propels us to make something that’s never been seen before in this world. So now I’m thinking of designing the set and costumes for “Alice in Wonderland (Musical”) with found materials, like at the Scrap Exchange. And I’m hoping all Young Artists will grab whatever medium you like to use – charcoal, pencil, paints, collage … And start imagining illustrations for our Young Artist Poster Design Contest. It’s a lot like making soup. Follow your imagination. Follow what you love to do. And see where it takes you.