Yesterday, I went back into the studio for the first time in 2 years! This lapse is due to my commitment to get my masters degree and although I've been directing and writing, contraints on my time (kids, life, etc) have not made it feasible for me to arrange studio time. For a while this situtation has been fruitful in that I've been able to focus on my writing without the pressure of running a theater company and producing theater. Don't get me wrong: disengaging from my company, (which has been my avocation since my early twenties) was disorienting; the first summer I wasn't in rehearsal I felt like I had lost a limb.
To a large degree that emptiness was necessary and I had to struggle not to fill it up, to just allow it to take me. It was hard to let the company go - for me there was a sense of loss and and a huge sense of failure. But I had become frustrated and bitter about producing theater in San Francisco. In the end, the company just couldn't create any momentum either within the SF community or within the company itself. I suspect that these two things are interdependent. Navigating through the loss made me aware of the influence the company mission exerted on my work and my growing discomfort with the limitations I feel that mission imposed. More on this later, because it's a topic in itself.
A friend asked me recently, if I ever feel like I'm in the wrong place, echoing a question that one of my teachers and mentors had asked almost ten years ago. The first time I was asked the question, the answer was no. Now, I'm not so sure. I had a common denominator moment recently, when I worked with a local company in the development of their annual summer touring show that left me in a tailspin wondering why I have such difficulty connecting to artists in SF (Get Down! notwithstanding).
It would be one thing if I were met with indifference where ever I worked and with whomever I came into contact. I would be willing to accept defeat if I couldnt get anyone anywhere excited about my work , but that is not the case. It just seems to be rooted in SF. The truth is, I see so little theater in San Francisco that stops me in my tracks and much that thinks it is so much more than it is - either out of naiveté (which is forgivable) or arrogance (which grows tedious overtime). The dance community, on the other hand, is remarkable and for the most part, is the only community to have gotten excited about the work I am doing. So maybe that's my answer right there.
At any rate, I fluctuate between absolute certainty that I'm in the wrong place and then I have a day like yesterday when going back into the studio and working left me feeling inspired and engerized. It's clear to me that I want to continue producing theater, but perhaps not specifically in San Francisco and perhaps with a new vision of production.
All of this is my way of saying that my work in the studio has given me insight about what I want to focus on in this blog and made me realize that what I want to do may require more than one, so expect to see some interesting changes in the next few months.
Ongi Etori! (as I understand it, that is the French Basque version of "live free or die!"