The first time I created an original work of theatre, a production I wrote and directed at the Yale Cabaret called The 9th Annual World Weight Wrestling Blood Exxxtravaganza—a social commentary told through “professional wrestling”, I was given sage advice from renowned stage combat choreographer Rick Sordelet. “Keep it simple, stupid”, he often told me.
Most great works of art are simple. Sometimes, we as artists, attempt to say too much at once. Consequently, we muddle our work. Simplicity allows for depth. Here are a few examples that come to my mind:
The Beatles Yesterday
Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh
The Story of a Mother by H.C. Andersen
Any of the Brothers Grimm tales
The work of Ansel Adams
The Far Side comics by Gary Larson
Norman Rockwell’s paintings
I could go on and on, medium after medium.
Each of these works, it is interesting to note, has or will likely stand the test of time.
Keeping our created form simple allows for us focus on depth of expression. Advice for the day? Keep it simple, stupid.