As I was talking about here, I'm trying to be more proactive about my work. I've finally decided to get off my ass and do something. If I'm going to stay in New York for the duration, I have to make more of what I want to happen here. I'm going to get into this in another post, but it's so easy to get into a passive place as a playwright. You write and you write, and you wait and you wait for someone to take a chance, give you an opportunity. It wears on you, all of the waiting, and all of the wheel-spinning while you wait. If there's anything that drives playwrights crazy, it's the waiting.
And, as I weigh whether or not staying in New York is worth it, I just can't wait anymore.
So I'm finally taking Scott's advice and getting a tribe started. Here in my NYC neighborhood. It's a great place, full of artists of all kinds, including theatre, but not much in the way of theatre performances opportunities. There are lots of places to use, though, mostly non-traditional venues, which I like. I like using re-purposed places, unusual places. It heightens the community connection.
I want to share with you guys, as best I can, what this process is like. It may not work, it may not help, but it's something to try. I have to say that I'll still be guarding my identity pretty closely. Several folks have been very, very kind and offered opportunities and advice, and it's all appreciated in the extreme. Being anonymous is still new to me and I still want to protect myself a bit. I'm sure I'll get over it before too long, but for now, I'll be scrubbing things to keep the details obscured.
The first steps for starting a theatre tribe in New York: 1) find collaborators and 2) lay down some ground rules.
Since I'm particularly excited about connecting my tribe to my neighborhood, this changes how I go about finding fellow travelers. Ordinarily, I would just gather my favorite theatre people. Unfortunately, not all of them live in my 'hood. So I sent around an e-mail, looking for theatre folks. I got some good responses and found some people I didn't know were theatre people in the 'hood.
For me, the ground rules:
- All are welcome. I have no interest in being a "selector", in reading through scripts or holding auditions as anything more than informational sessions. I want the door to be open to all, whatever their skill level. Yeah, I'll sacrifice in some ways, but it will also keep it more authentic.
- To paraphrase a quote from one of my favorite movies (despite the fact that it's a dark, little thing): everybody works, nobody quits. It'll start slowly, but especially once we get into shows and such (if we get there), everyone pitches in on everything in some way.
- Not to get all Commie, but to each according to his/her need, from each according to his/her skill. Someone comes in the door with a script, they'll get a reading. If they really want a production, we try to make that happen. Someone walks in looking for a part, we find someone to write it for them.
This is all, of course, pie-in-the-sky for now. First off, the dreaded, evil reading series. I know, I know, but we have to start somewhere.
More as we go...