When you start a theater company there are many things you’re supposed to do. We never did with Working Group. Like have a mission statement. They seemed fake and bullshit-y… nonsense you wrote for grants “OUR MISSION is to create new plays and bold interpretations of classics!” “our mission is to do plays straight from OFF BROADWAY” “OUR mission is to entertain and enliven audiences!”
It all seemed trite and dishonest. We create theater so the mission, tonight at least seems always clear-
We set to better our craft
To challenge ourselves
To avoid the boredom and pointlessness of the everyday by creating and sharing art
Our mission is to do it well but to not be chained by how well it’s done. Our mission is to be able to fail as long as we fail in a big way. Our mission is to dream in an equally big way. Our missions is to live a theatre life, not to simply have a theater career.
It wasn’t so long ago I started at this. It feels forever. Grad school seems forever. KILLADELPHIA seems forever. I’m impatient I want everything now.
As a company you are supposed to make a five year plan. That one seems funny. I want to make projects. In five years I want theaters to trust we can create and sell shows that are political and communal. That we can take them in or out of the theater and still make them happy to have been present, to have been witness…
You make vision statements and financial projections. I’m shit at all of it. I do this to know me and the world around me better.
Of late theater has made me feel more at sea. High concept plays- workshopped through development system and reading after reading… it sounds like Hollywood:
“Well we put it through our system and it’s a play about two women who are actually salamanders and they swim through the reef but the reef is really a cover band for REO Speedwagon and the whole thing is about the elections in the end.”
Maybe not Hollywood but a gross and similarly singular and high falutin reaction to hollywood.
We create work to defy a world teetering.
To escape the loneliness of existence.
To celebrate and revel in joy.
JOY THE HARDEST and MOST OFTEN ignored emotion onstage.
To be more fully human.
This is my mission statement. Grants rejected. Festivals say no. Theaters ignore. But a mission is eternal. A mission is yours. And yours alone.