Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

Sometimes… in the late hour

In Essays, The Daily Drool on May 18, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I can’t believe there are millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf and people are worried about who got crowned Miss America and why… Conservative pundits are bickering about liberal guilt (claiming the decision went something like this: “Oh, let’s crown the middle eastern woman because, you know, we feel like we should” ) and I’m sitting here, at my computer, reading the article thinking that PEOPLE ARE OUT OF THEIR FRIGGIN’ MINDS.

We are.

I read an article today in National Geographic about the Hadza people of Tanzania, some of the world’s last remaining hhunter-gatherers. They keep almost no possessions, they hunt when they are hungry, they move when they have need… they are totally transient and few in number.  They have no need or use for technology, they make no war and keep no guns, hunting instead with poison tipped arrows – while all around them the world ticks along in it’s evolutionary clock… it’s technologically advanced, consumeristic, waste-producing, oil-polluting clock.

Where is the balance?

How do we live in a world that we seem set on destroying?   Do we just surrender the technology that has us so under spell?  All around us are such exciting advancements… people dreaming up new gadgetry every day, practically every second.   It seems impossible to stop… but at what cost do we push forward?

I don’t want to hunt baboons with the Hadzu… but I want fresh air, and polar bears, and clean oceans.

Will we save ourselves?  Or are we just hell-bent on destruction?  These desires we have for more, More, MORE, at any cost… at the cost of bankrupting one another for an increase in the measure of our invisible wealth… where is it taking us?  We argue about party lines and the cost of feeding the poor, and we try to decide what is best for our neighbor based on what we ourselves prefer.  We pollute the land we don’t see, refuse to look at the damage we ourselves have created, and we go about our day every day the only way we can… by turning a blind eye to the horror and hoping that it gets better… Maybe we throw some coins to the people who look, really look, at those things… but what are we really doing other than consumering, throwing away the packaging, and getting in line for more?

I know there is great beauty in man, great potential for goodness… I just can’t stand the ugliness we insist on bringing to the party.

And I wish, oh how I wish, they would stop the oil from flowing, get it cleaned up from the ocean and give the sea a chance… but then again, like kids who’ve been too long unsupervised,  this whole planet needs to be cleaned up.


Because Maid Marion was there…

In Essays, The Daily Drool on May 17, 2010 at 9:58 am



Somewhere in the theater someone has taken off their shoes and the odiferous cloud encapsulated within has been unleashed.  I’m tempted to ask “Who took their shoes off” just loud enough to carry and scarry the perpetrator back into hiding.

But I don’t.

Onstage, sorry, on screen, splashed before me are pints of masculine blood, and Maid Marion (and the rest of her fair ilk) are expected to pick up the broken and abandoned pieces left behind…

Because this is how the world worked…

…Is this how the world works?

What cruel, cruel creatures we are – to see a thing desired and design a bigger hammer -a scarier doctrine – a flashier promise, to try and take it.  Man want, man kill, man take.  Sometimes I wonder just what it is we are doing here – did God make a mistake?  Or are we a bet, more reality show to the heavens than we can know…

Killing in the name of God, of King, and of country… and yet here I sit, paying customer to a movie, a Robin Hood unlike any other – bloodier, grittier, perhaps more realisticly brutal and cold (and God, their are rats on the dinner table!) and yet unrealistically noble…  and I’m struck by the sheer destructive nature of the beast.

And woman… oh women… where are we?

This movie was incredibly focused on Maid Marion’s sacrifice and strength, and I sat there watching in horror of how little say so many have had – Man vs. Woman, Rich vs. Poor, Government vs. Citizen … It’s there in her face as the men around her go off to war, take what they want, and decide the fate of England.

We drive home and I look up at the stars, a rat in the maze, a cog in this experimental wheel.  We fancy ourselves so evolved, yet we are all just one sun-spot away from the dark ages – all this technology we worship and revere, it connects us and rules our lives.  We behave because we are taught to, not because it is in our nature.  Humankind has an incredible and infinte ability to learn, but that learning is not inherent… Perhaps this is where people find “soul” … perhaps this is what is meant of yin and yang.  A fish bowl of light and dark, constanly turning one another over and spitting some out – in constant struggle for victory – to make “you” like “me” whatever “me” may be.  Soul…

A choice perhaps to be one or the other, but most often some of both… internalizing the global fight “To be- or not to be- a soul-ful individual”

And I’m depressed.  I’m impressed with the film, I’m enjoying Russel Crowe’s physique, I’m identifying with Marion’s exquisite nature and telling myself that I too am exquisite, and that it is this quality that prevents me from finding my match thus far – that I require an exquisite man and all the men I have given my heart to have been less than… And then I see that maybe I am sucumbing to ego, and that perhaps I m none of these things, just a 30 yr. old in a theater with her parents, neither here nor there in the world at large… And I am sad that I am part of this incredible violent wheel.   Then I take solace in the fact that I, an artist, am trying to make it better.   And after that I feel shame that I really am not doing anything of the sort.   Finally,  I feel ridiculous for suffering under such an avalanche of unweildy variables as these impossible thoughts.

And I take a breath… and the stinky feet have been put away… and my dad is leaning over to my mom to ask her what the King just said… and I realize that I don’t want to think such heavy thoughts right now.  I want to be carried away by story like my fellow theater mates… I want to revel in the alure of Robin of the Hood, walk out of this theater and back into something brighter… only I can’t because it has me stirred.  I am ready to jump atop my horse and go racing after the enemy…

And all this from a movie, a movie about a man who had no people and found himself a leader among them…  A man who has been dressed in tights, in leather, and now in chain-mail… the world is changing and Robin Hood’s dressing room is proof.


Sometimes I think too much.  Sometimes I should just go to bed instead of waxing angrily at the tides…  but sometimes you see Maid Marion walking under the weight of an insufferable world and you look around for a sword.

Story Scaffold

In Essays, Screenwriting, The Daily Drool on May 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I just decided that “Scaffold” is a cArAzy looking word.

But to the point… I’m finally FINALLY into pages on my latest project.  It’s been a difficult progression, a lot of hair-pulling and jaw-dropping “WHAT?”s going on in the course of it’s development, BUT, at long last… to script.

And I’m thrilled.

Because now it gets fun.

Because all that agonizing pre-work… the story-tooling and treatment-writing (and RE-re-RE-writing)… is where you get to hash out your problems, swear off writing altogether, come to your senses and re-swear your undying loyalty to the written word, only to run head-on (again) into the problem that nearly sent you over the edge in the first place… all in the hopes of building for yourself a stable and exciting story scaffold into which you can breathe new life via dialogue.   The only reason to torture yourself with front-loading the pain like that is so that you can enjoy (until you start re-writing again, of course) telling the story in pages.

I think about it like a coloring book: outlining the image can be tedious and frustrating, but once you start using all those magical crayons?  It makes the blood, sweat, and panic worthwhile… or at least, most of it 😉

So I’m in the fun part now.  I can breathe a little.   And I can be happy I was so hell bent to make sense of the thing before I dove into this stage, or else I’d be in for more hair-pulling, more cursing, more panic… with no sight of the joy!

And that’s why we write, after all – for the Joy of the thing.

Ahhhh, what a relief it is.

Apparently my Good Sense of Humor Beats out any Sense of Pride

In Essays, The Daily Drool on April 28, 2010 at 11:18 pm

I don’t remember the last time I peed in the bush… I remember being told stories of how my grandfather would refuse to stop the car when on road trips, making my grandma pee in cups or whatever was on hand.  I don’t know how she did it, or why she didn’t then club him over the head with her newly warmed bottles of piss – that’s what I would have done – but these stories have always horrified me.  Which is not to say I haven’t had my share of camping or hiking tinkles… I’ve even had a drunk “But I gotta go NOW” moment on the Sunset Strip ( did I just admit that?!)  But I haven’t had to “make water” in the outdoors for YEARS, years, years…

Which is why, as I departed Prescott on my way to LA, I was flabbergasted at the bad-bladder-cocktail my inept sense of self, dismal planning, and now-empty travel mug, had created.

I was going to have to pull over.

My first thought was “Hell no, I ain’t puling over!  You see all that desert out there?  What is someone, some pervert, has a little crow’s nest all set up near the yucca…  just waiting for this kind of highway panic?  He whips out a rifle and picks me off… he films me and posts it on youtube… he laughs.  (Aparently in my mind, all highway pervert you-tubers are male)

Anyway, no amount of nay-saying by my brain was going to get my bladder to shut the hell up.

So I stopped.

I pulled over…

I opened both passenger-side doors so I could create a little three-sided Not-A-Potty for myself and just prayed that my overactive imagination was wrong, and that there wouldn’t be any glinting on the horizon from rifle sights, video cameras, or grody old man sunglasses.

And then I peed.

For about  FIVE whole minutes… or two.  I don’t know, it felt like FOREVER.   I mean, just WHAT the HELL did I drink this morning?  I don’t remember guzzling a gallon of anything… yet there it was, erupting (sorry, but it was) from my bladder with the most indelicate kind of joy…  “FREEEEEEEE AT LAST!!!!!”

I’m sitting there squatting there thinking “Please, don’t splash.  Don’t splash. PleasePleasePRETTYPRETTYplease, Don’t splash!”  while my legs are gasping “Hey, lady, maybe you should take us the gym a little, huh?  Too much time at the computer is making for a painful perch.” and my bladder, my happy relieved bladder, could care less about any of the bodily/neurotic conversing happening around it.

The wind whistled beneath my bum, cars flew past with nary a hint of stopping to see if I needed help (Oh, my GOD, can you imagine?!  Horror!) and I was ready to dry off the used parts and get back in the car, when it struck me curious… what does one do with their non-toilet-paper when one is peeing by the side of the road?  I mean, my GOD, I’m not a pooch.  I don’t carry baggies…

All this as I’m struggling to hike up my pants and crawl back into the car without standing upright and giving the cacti a flash of my fanny.

So I did the only thing I could think to do… I left the tissue there:  From tree-pulp you came, which is of the Earth, so… ummm, to Earth you shall return.

And as I pulled back onto Highway 89, happy to have avoided wetting my pants but embarrassed to be 30 years old and not have the foresight to have stopped at the gas station 80 miles back, I took a gander in the rearview mirror.

There was the evidence of my visit- dancing across the road, carried off by the wind.

You’re damned if you do…

In Essays, The Daily Drool on April 24, 2010 at 10:24 am

Alright, time for another Volcano post… because now the blame game begins.

Look, I’m all about pro-active discussion “What did we do right?  What could we have done better?”  But inevitably, whenever a disaster strikes, what happens is that everyone starts blaming everyone else and nothing productive comes of it.

In this AP article:

Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson (A true capitalist) has labeled as unnecessary the Europe-wide ban on flights prompted by concerns the volcanic ash could cause problems with airliner engines.

“A blanket ban of the whole of Europe was not the right decision,” Branson said. “Planes have to put up with sandstorms in Africa, the engines are designed to put up with a lot more than existed.”

I imagine, had they NOT instituted a Europe-wide band and had there been any problems, Mr. Branson would still be pointing those angry fingers but with very different words.

Because people are the masters of “Blame”-  we love to shell it out and hate to have it shelled out upon us.

Think about it… when’s the last time you found yourself the guilty party?  Did you accept the blame or shirk it?  Try to justify it with some long-winded rationalization?  Do you ever find yourself issuing an “Well, I’m sorry, but-”

Why is it so hard to stand in front of a catastrophe and accept responsibility?

Why is equally difficult to stand before something terrible, something beyond human blame, and not have someone to burn at the stake?

Because we are obsessed with and terrified by power- the power we have, the power we want, and the power that eludes us.

The world will continue turning, that volcano will continue burning, and the airliners will try to wring as much money out of this as they possibly can.  The EU will stand behind their decision to close the skies (and they SHOULD), and weary travelers the world over will pay the price as the bickering and blaming goes on and on and on…

The Pope’s Albatross

In Essays, The Daily Drool on April 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Well, it’s all over the news, the Pope may/may not have had a hand in covering up sex abuse scandals – Everyone is up in arms (understandably) and there are plenty of photographs of his weary mug as he tried to make it through the holiday weekend in honor of its spiritual significance whilst all around him rumors swirled.

It’s hard not to have an opinion – an opinion based on the culling of information available to us, the masses.  For surely there is no way for us to know exactly what happened, we must instead make our judgements on heresay- the facts “uncovered” by investigators, and the testimonies given by the injured parties- becuase half-way across the world lies a city built on papal secrecy and structure, a world beyond this one, where Catholic law is Law.  Can we ever truly know what happened?  Will we ever be able to understand?  Is there any possibility of knowing Pope Benedict XVI’s true participation/lack thereof?

To all of this I say that it matters not nearly as much what he may/may not have done as what this all says about the Church itself.  (and here’s where some people may get irritated with me- bear in mind that I am not a churchgoer, that I instead adhere to an overarching spirituality not stemming from organized religion.  If that bothers you, then what I’m about to say probably will too)

Because organized religion is made of man, not God.  God/Buddha/The Great Spirit/What-Have-You, did not come down to us and say “Do things THIS WAY’ – if He/She/It had, then we’d have one religion and no holy wars to speak of.  Instead, what you have is a construct of man, formed of desires both altruistic and opportunistic.  Religion offers control, moral codes of conduct, community, and security of shared beliefs.  It attempts to tell you how to live a “spiritual” life, with a different set of rules wherever you worship, and to those that presume to tell you theirs is the O-N-L-Y path to God, I say they have turned a blind eye to the world and the very Light itself.  What they have found is their only path to God, it does not need be yours as well unless it speaks to you at your core.

But perhaps enough of my rant about generalized religion- it has done many good things in its name, and this I respect – what we are talking about today are recent events with the Pope, pedophile Priests, the potential cover-up, and what it says about the Catholic Church itself.

The Church has an amazing and terrible history born and blended of faith and controversy- and I’ll not pretend to be an expert.  Suffice to say, it’s an incredibly interesting and dramatic history (as are many religions) whether you’re reading the scripture, learning about all the masses of accumulated wealth they cultivated in the name of God whilst its parishioners starved (yes, I’m speaking about those lovely Dark Ages) or brushing up all the Wars fought in the name of “Christ” (and almost every other deity) – But in this day and age, the current “bad press” is an onslaught of pedophile priests, and if you think like People of Power think… People of Religious Power… People of Religious Power in an organization that has already suffered many challenges in the face of a 21st century congregation (Prime example: Divorce vs. Annulment (a super divisive point dating back to the 1500’s) What do you do in today’s society of mini-marriages with a 50% divorce rate… you call it an “annulment” and tell your flock that if it had been a “real” marriage, it would have worked, hence God’s forgiveness/church’s issue of an annulment/aka-the “That never really happened.” document)  It is only sensible that as the horrors of pedophilia  began to surface, the Church did its best to keep it quiet- elsewise what would it mean for the Church?  What would it say that these men, these priests, these avenues to God, were abusing their power over the youngest and most defenseless?  From a governing stand-point, admitting that this disgusting human affliction was a problem would open the Church up to all sorts of new questions… and questions beget questions… and a questioning, searching flock might just go find itself another master with better answers.

(Case in point, this article, in which “The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including “the good of the universal church,” according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.”)

Because even though the Catholic church may look on the Pope as a supreme channel to God, he is still an administrator.

And administrators do not belong to the people, but to the organization that bestowed the title on them in the first place.

Yes, you read that right, I just called the Pope a CEO (of sorts.)

He cannot serve both groups (the Flock, and the System) always and together… sometimes the good of one outweighs the responsibility to the other, and in this instance, it appears he chose the System.

The truly tragic thing about it all is that in doing so, he landed himself into the exact boil he was trying to avoid- and perhaps in a few degrees hotter pot.

Because although the Catholic Church is a highly structured organization, every power-that-be stands on the heads and shoulders of it’s congregation, and a congregation is made of Individuals who’s primary religious worry is the struggle of serving God over their own wayward humanness- it’s much easier for an Individual to get on the side of the Flock when the System develops a hiccup.

Which is all to say that those questions Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger so feared have now come back to haunt him, as Pope Benedict XVI, in the worst of ways… not only inciting questions about him and his methodology, but in his ascension to power, about the very church he sought so hard to protect.  In essence, he has ensured a heavy skepticism towards the Church whereas the initial fallout, had he acted swiftly in the good of the Flock, would have been assuredly less so.

Because now it’s not just questions about degenerate priests haunting the flock – If priests, who are supposed to be so close to God, are in fact very flawed human men, why must I seek absolution from them?  What does it mean that I must speak to God/seek His wisdom through someone prone to such horrifying weaknesses of the flesh?- but questions about the System as well- How could they stand by and let this happen?  I thought the Church cared about me?  What does it mean that while my local church/priest/community seems to care about my physical/spiritual wel-being but the Pope himself cares more about his reputation?  Who am I to the Church?  What is the Church’s real aim?

And that last one is the real doozy.

Once you find yourself asking that question, you begin to unravel the very thread that holds all organized religions together… because as soon as something gets big enough to involve “committees” and hierarchies of power, no matter how noble it’s inception, that thing begins to change… to bend to the faults and ego of people… and we all know how dangerous people can be.

Just ask the Pope.

Which is why, as this story continues to unfold, I count myself among the unsurprised… People are fallible.  Just because they study a book believed by many to be moral law, or a belief system held by many to be the path towards righteousness, does not mean they are immune to mistake or flaw.  The Pope is a man, highly educated and very powerful, yet a man nonetheless.  The Church is itself an organization of men (not women -yet another issue I take -but that’s another post- and no, nuns are not in the same playing field) plain and simple.

And all this leads to the crux of Ratzinger’s fatal worry/Benedicts Albatross – Can the Catholic Church survive if its congregation looks on its governors as guilty mortals, suffering like the rest of us, even through their own extreme (and conversely unreachable by the rest of us) proximity to the Holy Spirit?  Or is it too deeply steeped in the mystery that decorates an ascension of faith to allow for these kinds of thoughts?  Just how much damage will come to “the good of the universal church”?

What happens when people start to look closer at the System overseeing their beliefs?

I think we’re about to find out.

Riding somebody else’s wave

In Essays on March 2, 2010 at 11:33 am

So, I’ve got things to say, no doubt about that, but not a lot of time (today) to say them… so let me direct you to another lovely little post by FallOut Girl about rose-colored glasses.  I think you’ll enjoy it, and it will make her happy that you stopped by for a visit!


Bringing it With You

In Essays, The Daily Drool on March 1, 2010 at 12:10 pm

It really is amazing to me, the power of transformation that can occur when attending a play, or a movie, a dance… any form of art really.  It’s amazing because you are bearing witness to the same event as all those in the audience with you, yet eveyrone’s take on it will be different – even if only slightly- because so much of experiencing art depends on what you brought into the art with you.

For instance, the movie UP IN THE AIR…  A lot of people have been enjoying the movie, and it’s won its fair share of statues along the awards path too, but I walked out of the theater completely captured by the film, and I knew it was because my life at present seems so very “Up in the air.”  This film spoke to me, moved me, and I felt like I totally “Got” it – in a way that I was hyper aware of… I even thought to myself “Wow, I don’t know if I would have liked this a year ago, it’s kind of a major bummer.”  But coming into the theater with myself and my own current bag of issues?  I thought it was brilliant.

And isn’t art always like that?

You walk in, and depending on your mood or present state of being, you pull different things from the experience than all the other bag-carriers around you.

Yesterday my dear friend Doc and I went to see this crazy Charles Mee play, BOBRAUSCHENBERGAMERICA.  Now, if you know a little more about the artist Bob Rauschenberg, and then you know a little more about the playwright Charles Mee, this pastiche of image and action might have meant… something… more.  To you.  Than it did to me.

I spent the majority of the time I was watching it thinking about my own work.

But, for that reason, I consider the play experience a success.  The imagery and oddness of the text of this play reminded me to break outside the boxed-in thinking that sometimes happens when I’m immersed in a particular work.  I came up with about four different veins of inspiration from those two hours, and that’s pretty exciting.  So my experience of this piece was one of inspiration, whereas some other people in the audience felt moved to cheer, and others still felt like they should get their money back.

This is what I love about art.  And there was a particularly nice riff in the aforementioned play about exactly this…

You know, that’s how it is to deal with art
because art is made in the freedom of the imagination
with no rules
it’s the only human activity like that
where it can do no one any harm
so it is possible to be completely free
and see what it may be that people think and feel
when they are completely free
in a way, what it is to be human when a human being is free
and so art lets us practice freedom
and helps us know what it is to be free
and so what it is to be human.

I think this speaks to the essence of this post – if Art is freedom, then we are all free to take from it what we see- individually.  Sometimes we want to take it all, and sometimes we don’t want anything to do with it.  But the point is, we’re bringing ourselves into the mix, this salient being… we’re donating it to the experiment, shaking it up and down with an eagerness to see what happens.  We can never view art, or the world for that matter, completely free of our own selves, and so we are inherently a part of things

Or, as Charles Mee would say-

But, still, it often seems to me almost miraculous
how we can put things here in the museum
and ordinary folks
my mom and dad and my own neighbors
and I myself
will come to see things
sometimes things that I myself find completely incomprehensible
and really offensive
people will come to our museum
and think: oh, that’s interesting
or, oh, that’s stupid
but they don’t really hold it against the show
they just move on and look at something else and think
oh that’s cool.
And I wonder:
how do we get away with that?
And I think well, we are a free people
that’s why
and we understand that
in a way maybe other people in the world don’t
we like an adventure
often we might think
well, that’s a piece of junk
but that’s how this fellow sees the world
and there’s a certain pleasure in seeing things from his point of view
we are a patient people
no matter what you hear people say
and a tolerant people
and a fearless, open people
that’s how it is for us

When it rains…

In Essays, The Daily Drool on February 14, 2010 at 10:11 am


Today, was…. a day.

My car overheated and stalled out on me in Van Nuys.  I was on my way to Valencia – thank GOD it didn’t crap out on me there – and it started overheating, so I pulled off and “POP!”  No more oomph.

And while I had smartly called my dad for some “My car is reading really hot!” advice, it was at this point all the fatherly wisdom in the world couldn’t help me move my car.  Thank goodness for the three gentlemen who heeded my (forehead bunched, eyes misty, hands up in the air in pre-panic) “CAN ANYONE HELP ME MOVE MY CAR?!” call after several others had driven around me.

And after all the “WTF?!” was subsided, I managed to find a friendly voice at a Hyundai dealer in Van Nuys who was able to help me get my car transported to their (closed till Monday) service center.  I will admit, seeing her friendly face after the morning’s trials was a sweet relief!  Especially when the first dealer I called offered me about as much help as wet noodle in a thunderstorm.  “Oh, you’re stuck?  Well, here, have some attitude!”  Honestly, I’ve never been so frustrated and stymied by the lack of customer service.  Not only were the idiots at the Hyundai dealership in L.A. uninterested in helping me get to their dealer, they couldn’t care less about trying to help me find a way to contact the one closer to me.  (There is a strongly worded letter heading their way, believe you me!)

And then my dear friend Doc, as caring a man as you could dream of, drove to rescue me from my Valley adventure.

Because, when it rains, it pours, and sometimes you need a friend to bring you an umbrella.

I’ve gone through a lot this past year, and it’s time like this- when the people around me amaze me with their generous spirit and love – that I manage to fight back the rising panic and find some joy in the storm.

Picking up and Putting out- Outrageous Fortune comes to the Kirk Douglas

In Essays, Playwriting, The Daily Drool on February 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I attended a wonderfully interesting discussion today at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, hosted by CTG about the current state of theater.  The discussion (which has been traveling the country) is born of the recently published book OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE the Life and Times of the New American Play.  The book, which is a study of the state of (duh) New American Plays, laid out some very interesting facts and figures and while I haven’t yet read the book itself, the authors of those pages were very friendly in distilling it to into a one-hour presentation this morning as an invitation to discuss.  Persons present included artistic directors, literary managers, playwrights, and directors, among others.

And while I won’t even attempt to transcribe that discussion here, what I will say is that, being a burgeoning playwright and literary manager myself, it was most interesting to me to note the differences in philosophies amongst  those present- several spoke of the obvious matter, “How do we close this gap between merely applauding playwrights and actually producing their new works?”  And some people said that the solution was to “DO IT YOURSELF”

Which I thought was fascinating.

Especially when I mentioned that one of the things I felt most helpful was in just plain reaching out to new playwrights- in mentoring them and giving them a support base.  I know I speak from experience when I say that one of the things I find most difficult to navigate (as a playwright) is Where do I go for support now that I’m out of school and in the middle of this financially strapped industry? And sometimes just having a relationship with a theatre company where you can call them up or email them and say “Hey, I have a new script, are there any chances we could do a little reading and discuss it?” makes all the difference in the world… because it’s a step, a small supportive step, and a foothold.   Think of it as a mentorship- the theatre is investing time and some hours in the studio in you and your work.

But, and perhaps I didn’t word it all that fluently (I am under heavy cold medicine), there were some immediate reactions along the lines of “No one knows how to do it (be a playwright, get your work done, etc), you just have to go out and do it!”

blank stare.

blank stare.


Isn’t the topic of discussion here how we can increase the communication and cooperation between playwright and producing organizations?

But there are those who believe that since they’ve fought like hell to get to where they are, the last thing we at the starting line should be doing is asking for support…

And perhaps that’s an unfair summation of their reaction, but it struck me that this very little exchange is representative of two of the warring philosophies behind the many reactions to this study: How do we make this system better, and Well, yeah, that’s the way it is. (which is sometimes followed up with a So find a solution yourself, like I did.)

What is the solution for that disparity?

I think it’s in reminding oneself that theatre is at it’s core a community – it’s a miracle born of passion and fever; fever to produce something that moves us (to laughter, to tears, to actions) We find others who share this vision, this compulsion to create, and we pool our efforts in the hopes that we will find an audience of like-minded individuals… individuals who, if we’re lucky, will pay to watch us… pay for the catharsis of our story, the story we so passionately came together to tell.

And none of that happens because of “I” – it only happens because of “Us” – which is my uber corny way of saying that this study, to me, is a call to action for us to reach out to one another as we struggle to find new and better ways to produce new work.  That we need to rethink the old model, but that we need to think collectively.

In today’s economically impossible times, it’s very tempting to pull up the purse strings and protect one’s own above all else.  It’s easy to let fear steer us into self-preserving waters… but it’s exactly this train of thought that delivers us on the sands of some deserted shore, thirsty and longing for the days that we used to glide (perhaps hungrily) amongst the waves.

No, what we should do is continue boldly into the deep, uncharted waters of artistic expression -whatever that means for your particular organization – and extend our arms to the others entering those waters with us.

Because as someone so wisely said, you are your own best advocate.  Why not become OUR own best advocates?