Sunday, October 23, 2011

What Next?

7 Minutes to Midnight
Rehearsal at Bellevue College
I think its reasonably safe to assume that I must be having problems writing if I'm back on this blog.

My apologies for the hiatus of a few months off but its been a busy year...what with moving into a new house, juggling the new job, and also being absorbed by the show CAMINO in September.

But I promise to be once again more vigilant in posting my random thoughts on all things theater.

As for my writing, well, its not so much that I'm blocked as I have many ideas, but I feel that ever since the end of the run of CAMINO, I have been contemplating, what next?  If you saw me on facebook, I contemplated between doing the epic big show (aka the shows I really love to write just for me) or doing a single set, four character show, which is basically more likely to be read by and produced by theater companies.

Then I thought to myself, yeah, but, I want to write a play about robots.  Real robots.  Real scientists working on robots and how our relationship to technology (cell phones, computers, etc) is changing at an ever rapid pace.

That's probably not an easy sell, regardless.

I also think there is a balance there somewhere...between writing the play we love and care about and writing a play to get it produced.  It's ideal when both of those things get combined.

Somehow, many of my short plays I wrote "just for fun" ended up being produced several times over, which should be a lesson to me.  Even BURNING BOTTICELLI got produced and that has dozens of characters, a talking parrot and someone gets burned alive on stage.

Burning Botticelli
PR image for NYC production
I feel like as I've grown older and grown as an artist, I get choosier with my projects and my time.  The danger is that I end up avoiding the difficult choices.  The life of an artist should never be the easy route. It never has been.

So.  What's next?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ghosts in the Room

I could’ve called this post “Why I like the TV show Slings & Arrows”.

Mostly I love the conceit of the presence ghost of the former Artistic Director, an old mentor of the current Artistic Director, Jeffrey Tennant.  The ghost haunts him, literally, by commenting on his rehearsals, his interactions with people, and basically is in conversation with him. 

This is a wonderful visual representation of something that is very real, yet intangible.  

(And isn't that the point of good drama, bringing a metaphor to life?)

With each new production and play, there are always ghosts in the room.  I don’t just mean that there is the ghost of Shakespeare or Chekhov when we do Hamlet or Three Sisters, although, there is that.  There also remains the ghosts of all those great actors that have played in those roles, all those great directors, designers, and other artists, as well as the ghosts of all our own teachers and mentors. 

We walk into a rehearsal room with not just our own experience and knowledge but also techniques and experience that has been handed down to us for generations. 

When we do theater, we are not just in conversation with the rest of the world, we are in conversation with our own past masters.

I don’t know that you can say that about other activities outside the arts.  Perhaps, in science, when you’re experimenting, there is the ghost of Einstein or Oppenheimer, but I don’t know that it feels the same.   

And I’m pretty sure scientists don’t leave a ghost bunson burner going in an empty lab the way we leave a ghost light in a theater.