Making Art in 2017: William H. Gaffney IV on A Fable for the Living
Company: Group IV Productions
Show in 2017 Festival: A Fable for the Living by Kevin Brockmeier
FringeArts: Tell us about your show.
William H. Gaffney: AFFTL is a short story, found in a collection of short stories called The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier. The story was first presented to me by someone whom has since passed away, which has taken a huge part in the conception of this piece. In “A Fable for the Living” a woman attends a concert with her fiancé after an afternoon of bickering and arguments. He begins to cough into his sleeve and excuses himself. A great amount of time passes and she becomes wary of his return and, going to the lobby in search for him, she finds him dead on the floor. Beside herself, she spends the next few weeks, months even, attempting to contact him in some way. Ultimately, she gains this contact and out of love for her he convinces her to join him. The concept of the piece isn’t one correlating to suicide. The concept strictly revolves around the idea that we live in a multi-realm existence, an endless fire escape of trial and tribulation. Is death the be-all and end-all of existence, or existence on earth? When we die, is it not possible to move from one realm to another or do we stop in time and never live again? A Fable for the Living offers a comforting approach to life and death.
FringeArts: How have your interests in or approach to art making changed in the last year?
William H. Gaffney: Our mission states that we create plays that reflect the current social, economic, and political state of our audiences. I think this past year’s political environment has changed the majority of people’s view on art, whether creating or not. I believe I feel more passionately than ever before to provide hope and a speck of wisdom in a time that has been layered over in clouds of smoke. Art is not only meant to inspire an individual, but to stir a reaction, question, and begin a dialogue between a community of people, like-minded or not. I take the streets into my rehearsal space/development more often now. I think about what I’ve seen, what’s going on in the news, what’s happening in my neighborhood and I apply it to whatever work we’re doing that day. I hope this connection between the make-believe and realities of our world help develop an even more affective and considerate approach to the story of A Fable for the Living.
FringeArts: Tell us about an instance from 2017 when your interaction with art provided some much needed solace or refuge from outside troubles.
William H. Gaffney: Art is dependent. It depends on the person viewing it, the mindset of the human creating it, and their equivalence at that exact moment in time. Art depends on its proximity to its audience. Is it something palpable? Is it something ethereal? This year I’ve taken refuge in art many of times. It’s possibly one of the reasons we keep doing this show as a company. We find solace in being together and creating as one unit during a time where everyone feels split and at war with each other. Discovering a work of art, such as A Fable for the Living, offers an escape away from reality in creation of a new one. The reality created, whether for better or worse, attempts to create solace for where we exist currently in 2017.
A Fable for the Living
Group IV Productions
Free / 50 minutes
Sept 16 @ Little Berlin, 2430 Coral St