I had a meeting yesterday with Megan Gogerty a wonderful playwright and friend in the neighborhood. She had come back from the Kendeda Anniversary banquet at Alliance Theatre (a weird confluence, I was in Atlanta the same week performing DOGS OF RWANDA at Horizon while also working on an NNPN Commission).
We talked a lot about what is success, how do you have an artistic life and stay sane, how do you make money, have a life… all the great wonders of the world. In the end we discussed the “Horizontal” something the MFA’s and the blogs don’t talk about as much as they should for upcoming artists reading their way through the web.
You’ll be told certain theaters are more important than others. That a large regional or NY Theater is more important than a prison or elementary school, that professionalism is defined by dollars.
It’s all kind of bullshit. In the end how do you become a better artist is from practice. It’s from performing for a diversity of audiences. In a diversity of locales. It’s from being responsible for your work from the bottom to the top. It’s from risk and failure. And then doing it all over again.
Venues are necessary, money is good but it’s rare that anyone’s ACTUAL goal is “I want to work at X Theater, and that’s my goal!” Or I want to win “Y Award then I’m a success.” That’s not the real goal because as soon as those things happen you go “hh, well I did that and i’m still hungry. I’m still not content.”
The goal has little to do with the venue. It usually has to do with our peers or our audience or more than anything our self. Our deficiencies and strengths. Our failings.
It’s different for all of us. I’d like my art to make me a better person. I notice at times how it makes me worse of a person: more neurotic, more narcissistic…
The best experience of my life was performing for a group of at risk girls in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. That was the show where I changed as a performer, where i met communion with my audience and it’s been different ever since.
The best was a movie i made with my friends this summer in a car, something that should’ve failed miserably but is actually something i’m so proud of. It’s also totally unmarketable to a studio, lol. Cassavetes forever.
THe best has been and will be Working Group.
And my friends.
And my loved ones.
And the hope I can continue to find meaning.