This blog is full of thoughts on leadership, art + directing so I'll give you excerpt from the origin pond on the upcoming Theatre Under The Trees preparation. And a sneak preview of the logo process in process.
From the origin pond:
Just found a new to me amazing, simple + sweet web comic: Extra Ordinary . Has made me both smile and feel a little grim about how much time theatrical commitments took out of everything from early December 'til now. Robin Hood lighting is done and done well, I believe, and the show opens this weekend. I have decided to be more judicious choosing my collaborators henceforth.
So now I have about a month until A Midsummer Night's Dream auditions. Which means I spent today discussing Theseus and Act 5 with my Apprentice Director (A.D.) via text. That seems to be the medium that suits us both. Midsummer aka #3dreams doesn't feel like it cuts into my creative time because Theatre Under The Trees is what the rest of my year is planned around. And I am happy to have an A.D. to collaborate with. He was an excellent Malvolio the first time I directed Twelfth Night, is a computer or web some sort of something by profession and I offered him the position unasked when he was telling me about getting turned down for a directing gig. I think it's an opportunity to strengthen my program by involving someone familiar with Theatre Under The Trees (four shows over the fifteen years) and yet still new to the how does a director get a show on stage process. We also talked scheduling today. Scheduling is a very important skill for any artist.
But #3dreams aside for a moment, I am finding myself wondering what (and if there actually exists) a project: writing, animating, moviemaking, cartooning, painting, something that will attract my full attention and effort. Plays have a closing date, a day to strike and move on to the next project. I've always avoided more open ended commitments. And not just out of fickleness or being easily distracted. Total focus is scary. Yeah, basic excuse making 101. The root of the problem. Excuse making 201 progresses to: I should be making ca$h instead of ___________. Which is why I end up writing freelance articles and chatting up people on Twitter about blogging or photography gigs. But these just interrupt EVERYTHING.
End quote from origin pond. Continue meditation. I find myself at the what to commit to intersection far too often and the scenery begins to turn from a vista to a fog that wraps itself around any vision of progress. Reading a book by Tim Harford (Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure). I find myself liking books written by practical economists who don't make their points academic. I enjoy the thorough review of data and possibility. Got dragged to a John Kenneth Galbraith speech in college by a stats major buddy, which is where I got my taste for the slant of the economist's perspective.
Harford's book is getting put into the inspiration mix* as I consider the casting mix for this year's Midsummer. I always err on the side of small children who want to do Shakespeare, but last year I padded the Watch numbers (Much Ado About Nothing) and there were too many crises of behavior. So I have vowed not to pad the fairy numbers and to split the younger actors among the three groups. This, of course, all depends on actual auditionees.
*And why is Harford's book in the mix, I ask as I edit. Because the influence of non theatre thinking is a good thing. And because I'm serious about how I can make my program better and/or continue to evolve it in its fifteenth year.
I am hoping (and that's why this year's hashtag is #3dreams) to bring out the humor in the friction between the three separate groups: Athenians, Fairies, Players. I'm trying to approach it as 3 different plays, which may also help with the too much rehearsal downtime for actors not onstage problem. The A.D. was planning to help alleviate downtime but now he's officially a Directing Intern since he accepted an assistant directing gig with the Artistic Director of DreamWrights. It's his best path to directing a "main stage" show at DreamWrights so I'm glad for his opportunity, although I am going to try to make it so he's missed out on a lot of fun.
I was spending a lot of time trying to conscientiously develop a "help him learn how to direct strategy." Which is still in play because he's missing auditions + readthrough for the other show, so he asked if he could still help with mine. So I have a directing intern for a couple of weeks. Golly.
The logo design ties into the three worlds idea. I'm trying to get something from all three groups into the logo, which led to this first effort.
Then I started rereading Northrup Frye on Shakespeare, which is what I'm using as my base research/inspiration text for this show. Frye has a bracing, sane + simple take on reading, understanding and staging Shakespeare. He made a comment about characters existing only in the world of the play they are in and I began thinking about the three worlds of #3dreams, Fairies surrounding, overseeing + affecting everything, ruling Athenians circling the simpler Players. Which altered my thoughts on the logo.
Which gets us to here:
Which is about halfway.
And I am all the way to needing a vacation, a bit early, thanks partly to my winter of other people's theatre. Midsummer is an exciting prospect though. I have always loved the play** and enjoy revisiting it. It's a good touchstone for my development/current goals as an artist.
"Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with revelling."
Perhaps Theseus speaks of art, as well as wooing. Good night!
**Midsummer Night's Dream is the first play I ever remember reading, and I think I might have been in the 10-12 year old range. Shakespeare*** has always been a writer I return to.
***and Edgar Allen Poe -- but that's another post.