The Story

Turn your head around and think how can you make it happen! Do nothing else but that! Make it happen!” is Robert Wilson’s lifelong motto.

His hands shake as he stands at the precipice of his greatest challenge to date: the completion of The Watermill Center, his monument. But this task is unlike any work of the stage that has come before him. Only two weeks left to prepare for the grand opening after nearly a quarter of a century of fundraising and construction. With a handful of artists as his crew and time/money fleeting, can he achieve his capstone accomplishment while simultaneously creating stage productions that have brought him to this point?


Penji Stone Installation

The road to “The Watermill Center” begins in 1960 when Robert Wilson left his hometown of Waco, Texas for New York City and formed “The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds,” a ragtag group of artists, teachers, children, elderly and entrepreneurs that met and created some of the 20th century’s most impressive works for the stage and performance arts. After rising to fame, Wilson had to relinquish the less formal arts group and embarked on an international stage career that created such works as the Black Rider, The Civil Wars and the opera that started it all, Einstein on the Beach.

Yet after more than a decade of living out of a suitcase, Wilson looks back on his special laboratory that was the “Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds” and decides to return to his roots. Seeing potential in an aging science laboratory long abandoned and condemned in Long Island, Robert Wilson and his team of artists set out to build their own laboratory for the arts: The Watermill Center. It’s a small group of less than twenty dancers, actors and designers that quickly swells to over a hundred artists, teachers, children, elderly and yes, entrepreneurs but this time from all over the world who come to help realize not only Robert Wilson’s dream but their own in the United States.

With newly restored archival footage, in depth rehearsal footage and original high-definition footage of never before filmed workshops and meetings, the film Robert Wilson In Situ dives deep in the story that is not only uniquely Robert Wilson’s but also the triumphs and set backs of building the center.

Along the way we encounter the artists that have influenced Wilson’s oeuvre such as Lucinda Childs, Christopher Knowles, Daniel Stern and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon as well as the experts who give insight on his vision including Pierre Bergé, Lisa Dennison, Simon de Pury, Irving Benson…

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