Student playwright Lila Durrett is not the kind of person to go on an international adventure and come home uninspired. Here, she brings lessons learned on a school trip to the Louvre (the Louvre!) into her art life, which is her everyday life. 

An Introduction: Over spring break I went to France for the very first time. It won't be my last. It was with a school group, so I got to go with some of my best friends. Of course the whole trip was beautiful: it’s France. I would’ve been very disappointed if it hadn’t been. But there was one thing that I was most excited about. The Louvre. You’ve probably heard of it, being that it’s the largest museum in the world. I went, and it was amazing, and I wanted to find a way to apply this art experience to my everyday life.

So, here’s my list of Louvre things that can also be life things.

ONE -- Rush, then don’t.

Here’s the truth: If you’d like to see the Mona Lisa, you’re going to have to rush there. I saw it, and I definitely don't regret it, but it wasn’t the most amazing thing there. Once you’ve gotten past the hoards you can take a moment, look around, and really see some good art. And isn’t this something we can do in our lives? Sometimes it helps to be a little urgent; you can get things done, make progress, and see a whole lot of the world. However, it’s also beneficial to slow down, look at where you are, take things in. Do a lot, but take your time with everything. Have never-ending experiences, but treasure each and every one of them. I think that’s the key.

TWO -- Go for the ancients.

Everything in the Louvre is pretty old. It’s not a contemporary museum, and the youngest thing there is probably the glass pyramid standing outside of it. But there are things in the Louvre that are much, much, much older than others. Those are the things that I recommend seeing most of all. These were things that people were making before modern sciences and technologies existed, and they’re still considered to be some of the greatest masterpieces in the world. For me, that feels a lot like in YAT where we talk about the masters that came before. If you want to get serious about theatre you have to study the Greeks, Stanislavski, Chekhov. You can’t really participate in something unless you know what came before. One time in rehearsal, Justin had us read excerpts of important elects of theatre, as said by Stanislavski. Seeing the great Ancient Greek and Roman sculptures is just as enlightening.

THREE -- Get lost.

Okay, so I got lost in the Louvre. It wasn’t intentional--it’s a big place--but it ended up being the best part of the trip. I got to see art that I never intended to see, and probably wouldn’t have seen if I had gone exactly where I meant to. The things I saw ranged from Hammurabi’s Code (which is surprisingly beautiful for a set of laws) to just a really nicely designed bench. This unplanned detour forced me to appreciate some things that I usually wouldn't bat an eye at. This is probably the lesson that I’m going to apply most to my own life from here on out; taking some time to let myself explore parts of my world and my creativity that I haven’t paid as much attention to. Sure, it might not always be what I set out to do, but if it’s good art, then I want to know about.

THREE -- Learn.

And here’s the last thing. Always. Be. Learning. No matter what you do, no matter where you go, just find a way to be a student in everything you do. Maybe I wasn't studying the brush techniques of the Dutch paintings at the Louvre, but I was discovering and being educated on the art world every second that I was there. I want to learn. That’s a fact. So that’s what I’m going to do. If a fancy, big art museum is what it took to teach me that, well, then I have no qualms.

Get the most out of your arts experience by coming to YAT's Playground performances. These fable adaptations bring Aesop into bizarre, imaginative worlds-- worlds where families of frogs navigate a radioactive wasteland, worlds where kids fight their way through a virtual battleground, world where dodgeball can mean life or death. Our Main Stage fables come to the stage May 12-21: buy or reserve your tickets today.