It’s really a Monday over here!
Date: May 4, 2015
Days Spent on Project: 804
Location: NW Portland, OR
Person I would have sent it to: Becky.
Again, the third director I got the chance to work with during the 2013 session of the Lincoln Center Lab.
She was a director who came to New York for those two weeks from New Orleans. Young, she had moved to New Orleans a few years after Hurricane Katrina, because she was excited to help rebuild the artistic community there. She would talk glowingly of that city, with pride, speaking of the people who were so dedicated to theater and creating it for the community.
When she and I had to sit down and talk about her theoretical production, I was actually the most excited to work with her. She had more experience. I felt she had similar experiences with theater that I had. Her aesthetic appeared, on the surface, to gel more with mine.
In the end, it didn’t really work out that way. After our discussions, I really came up against a brick wall… because she was so specific to what she wanted the experience to feel like that I couldn’t come up with anything concrete that fit that bill. If that makes sense.
It was more about the experience, the communal nature of “Theater,” than the actual play and its specific needs. In the end, when I presented the work, I didn’t have anything to show. I could never come up with anything that resonated with her. I felt bad about that. I did.
I learned that when someone is so set on a specific IDEA rather than a play, it’s hard to shoehorn something organically into that space. It could be this. It could be that. It could be anything. You want this. Or that.
I kept wanting to say: how are we going to use the space? How would the audience use this space, if it’s about them?
Who are the people that need to tell a story in this space?
In the end, it was a lesson for me. And maybe for her.
As I started to work on The California Project almost immediately after the Lincoln Center Lab, I have to say it’s set in New Orleans. And that interest did spark from my conversations with her.
Let’s be aware that the Lincoln Center Lab actually gave me the permission (the courage?) to sit down on my laptop and start putting my ideas into shape. Whatever my feelings of that week were, I have to be thankful for the ability to say: “Why not start writing all this down? Why can’t my work be a theatrical event?”
Music I listened to while sewing: You guessed it… More Alexander McQueen.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I hate to be vulgar here, but I’ll say it.
I’ve started to think this past weekend that it’s time for me to shit or get the hell off the pot.
I can talk about trying to make my own theater, to make the kind of work that I want to see in the world, until I’m blue in the face. But I have to figure out how to take it from emails and written notes and texts and turn it into something.
How do I make this happen here? I feel like- as impossible as it would have been to do in New York City- I had at least friends and contacts who would have said “Talk to this person” or “See if that company’s interested.” (Granted, nothing would have realistically happened; I just had contacts there.)
Here in a city I’m still learning, and in a city where the theater scene is active and/or present, I don’t know who to reach out to or how.
I have to get my foot in the door somewhere. And I guess it will take some time.