3/31/14: Letting Go of the Wrong Dream
This day is so named for the Lark Play Development Center Playwrights’ Workshop dinner I attended at Turkish Cuisine. We’d been hoping to meet outside of the workshop to get to know each other better as people, but, as so often happens when playwrights gather, we mostly shared horror stories about trying to make a play happen in this absurd profession. It was a good night with great people.
As the night went on, and the funny/sad stories accumulated, I wanted to share stories from Flux, and what it has meant to me to be a part of an ensemble, especially this particular incarnation, where we have finally worked through the rough patches and almost every rehearsal or meeting together is an honest-to-god joy.
I compared my production experiences, which have been primarily through Flux, to those of my playwright comrades, who have worked at all the theatres I’ve coveted, and for a moment let go of that poison dream of traditional success given to most playwrights by our culture. (I can’t say that dream won’t reoccur, but I hope that when it does, it will be less malignant.)
To make the work you love with the people you love, to create the world you want to see together: what else is there?
And to sustain that for 6-7+ years (depending on how you count Flux’s beginnings) is a kind of mutually-held miracle. With all the ways we could’ve ended, we’re stronger now than we’ve ever been.
I felt like I had a great secret at that table, but I didn’t know how to translate it into the language of uncaring artistic directors, miscast actors, cruel critics, battles with designers and directors and all the petty little wars of traditionally-made, assembly-line theatre. Rather than feeling like I was the least-accomplished playwright at the table (though I most certainly was), I felt like an emissary from another land, a greener pasture with a sunlit language that would sound naive, almost childish, in translation.
With Flux, the plays we make are important; but it is the way we make them together that is essential. That is sacred. I wish every playwright, every theatre artist, every human being, could experience what it feels like to belong to this kind of creative home. And if I were given the choice by some mischievous demi-god or djinn between having my plays done everywhere by strangers, or having strangers everywhere experience that kind of home, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.
It’s time for me to stop playing the beggar in someone else’s dream, and to step all the way into the beauty of my own.
Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…
Writing: 77 out of 91 days (Word(s))
Spanish: 75 out of 91 days
What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”)
- Asked Senator Kerry to help protect Virunga National Park;
- For TCG, shared Alejandra Enciso Guzmán’s post on the differences between U.S. and Mexican arts funding; Conference session planning; edited several press releases for TCG Books; updates to the Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards pages, and shared this great interview; meeting about and editing REPRESENT; updating and editing several Conference web pages and communications;
- Shared my gratitude to Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo of Mozambique for removing Article 223, and asked for further steps to end sexual assault and protect survivors;
- Asked my reps to make sure funding was in the budget to combat illegal wildlife trafficking;
- Signed another letter to the President in opposition to the Keystone Pipeline;
- Ate all vegetarian meals (mostly organic, some local) and added no direct food waste (plastics bags, plastic water bottles, etc.),