Posts filed under Thought

Adventures in Time and Space

 The view from my studio

The view from my studio

On the Djerassi Resident Artists Program website, one of the banners simply states “Time + Space.” Sci-fi associations aside, I found that during my month at Djerassi (September 5-October 3), time and space were the very things I needed, learned from, grew from. It’s easy to think that a residency will only entail free time to create and create - and indeed it does. But something else accompanied me when I was given time and space: my own thoughts. Even though I take time for self-reflection and self-care in the midst of my day-to-day grind, to have openness of thought for longer than a week, even a couple days, is rare for me. Philosophical musings arise. Emotions long-buried bubble up to the surface. Djerassi for me was as much about opening up to myself as it was to my creative process. In fact, I am more and more convinced that there is no distinction between the two. I am my creative process - which echos the name of this entire blog site: Life is Dramaturgy. Being surrounded by beautiful vistas with like-minded artists is fertile ground for creative exploration. And, it is also an almost other-worldly place where you see yourself, forgive what needs forgiving, soothe what needs soothing, and bolster what needs bolstering. It’s perhaps too early to say, but I feel my residency at Djerassi will prove itself to be a self-, career-, and art-shaping period for me.

 Me and fellow residents appreciating an installation by  Kathryn Cellerini Moore .

Me and fellow residents appreciating an installation by Kathryn Cellerini Moore.

I’ll never forget the people or the place
or the gift of time and space.

Posted on October 4, 2018 and filed under Career, Creative, Thought.

Calafia Begins

For the last two weeks of June, I got to participate in Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Ground Floor Summer Lab. What's great about Ground Floor is that they offer playwrights freedom to work on and explore their plays as needed; they do not require any kind of presentation. Some writers end up sitting in a room and typing away. Others hold public readings of their work, like I did for my play Calafia: A Reimagining. I haven't been able to finish a first full draft of the play yet, but I learned so much from discussions with my director, dramaturg, and actors -- as well as from audience feedback after our reading. I'm excited to see what directions Calafia will take as a result of the exploring, churning, and learning that happened during Ground Floor!

No More "Shmoozing"

 View of NYC from my plane

View of NYC from my plane

I spent the last week in NYC on the advice of Playwright Foundation Artistic Director Amy Mueller. Since one of my goals is to gain more national exposure, she suggested I find agents I'm interested in working with so that she could make a formal introduction. Then, I should book a trip to New York to meet with those folks. My honest reaction to this suggestion was "I know I have to, but I kinda don't want to." I think I have this impression that the "New York elite" is very insular and tough to penetrate. It felt intimidating to begin knocking on doors for face time. So, while I went through with the steps and booked my flight, I would tell people with a bit of a shrug and a dismissive sneer, "I'm just going to New York to shmooze."

When I actually met with these industry folks though, I was so pleasantly surprised. In addition to agents, I met with an artistic staff, an educational director, a theatre publisher, a book publisher, a playwright who is further along in her career, and a composer who is further along in his career (in addition to catching up with a whole slew of actor friends). All of these individuals (save for maybe one) turned out to be quite generous and kind. Sure, a few of them were very matter-of-fact, but I appreciated candor over beating around the bush. All of them also gave smart and welcome advice. None of them had to meet up with me, none of them had to give me any advice, none of them had to get to know me. But they chose to.

 Strolling thru Washington Square Park

Strolling thru Washington Square Park

I've come away from the week with a new perspective on "shmoozing." First - yes, it is hard to penetrate a bubble if you don't have a connection, but it only makes sense then to make the most of your existing connections. And for me, I had Amy Mueller and other folks who recommended people to meet up with, as well as people who I had already met previously and just needed to reach out to. People are busy, and they can't tell which cold e-mails or calls are from people who are worth their limited time. So a professional recommendation or introduction from a trusted colleague gets their antennae up. Second - theatre people are theatre people. There may be some jerks in the mix, but really we're all just wanting to contribute to the performing arts scene in whatever way we can. Most of us would rather make a genuine connection than "shmooze." In fact, I think I need to stop using that word entirely, because it has such a slimy, self-interested connotation. I was on a networking trip where I made many great connections in my field. I hope I never have to "shmooze" again.

Posted on May 30, 2018 and filed under Career, Musical Theater, Performing Arts, Thought.