Monday, November 15, 2010

Not Alone

I've talked a lot about my experiences at both the Hollywood and New York Fringe Festivals this past summer. If you've read with any regularity you already know that both festivals were absolutely incredible experiences for me on a personal level. I left them wanting to go back, wanting to do more, wanting to find the next project that would give me that level of motivation and excitement and give me that artistic and creative high. Like I said if you have read my blog you already know all that.

What hit me last night was the lasting impact of these festivals, particularly the Hollywood Fringe Festival (most likely because I live here) had over the entire small theater community. I think many people left Hollywood Fringe feeling the same way I felt, wanting more, wanting to do it again. In many ways it reminded me of summer camp long ago, when after two or three weeks you had made many new friends and when it came time to say goodbye there were promises to write, to keep in touch, to maybe visit each other during school breaks. Rarely did those things ever happen. Sure we saw each other the next summer and picked up where we left off 12 months ago, but the friendships never went farther than summer camp. And so at the end of Hollywood Fringe I found myself wondering what the outcome would be, would people make that effort to stay in touch, to support each other's creative products or would we get lost in our own busy creative worlds, forgetting about the actors, writers, producers we met over the summer, would we be able to go farther than just Fringe?

It's been nearly six months since Hollywood Fringe and what hit me last night (while at a show produced by Coeurage Theater, a company we met at Fringe) was how unlike the summer camp experience Fringe turned out to be. For those who made the effort Hollywood Fringe was the turning point or the connection that many smaller theaters have been looking to find in Los Angeles. It was the moment that many of us realized we are not alone and not only are we not alone, we are not competing with each other, we are allowed to and should be supporting each other. I think many of us realized this is a team effort, we may come from several companies, from all parts of the city, but in order for small theatre in Los Angeles to survive, we need each other.

The organizers of Hollywood Fringe did an amazing job of organizing a festival that brought the Los Angeles theater community together for a little over two weeks last June. It is an incredible testament to them that not only was Hollywood Fringe a successful two week festival, but it succeeded in gathering the small companies in Los Angeles and getting us to talk with each other, to realize we have the same frustrations, the same desires and the same goals and most importantly none of us are alone.

Unlike summer camp those smaller companies have made the effort to stay connected and because of that the Los Angeles small theater scene is becoming stronger. If after only six months scripts are being shared, cross-promotions are being explored and bi-monthly producers meet-ups and breakfasts are planned, I can't wait to see what this community of artists does after a year, two years and then five years of working together.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And I Was Doing So Well

Sigh, I was doing so well for nearly a year, keeping up the blog entries and then I stopped. I think I was waiting for something, I'm still not sure what I'm waiting for, motivation perhaps or maybe inspiration, a spark, I'm really not sure, whatever it is I'm still not quite sure I've found it. Either way I have a lot to catch up on, so forgive the rather unfocused rambling that will occur in the next couple paragraphs.

Things are good. Theatre Unleashed opened 25PPH this weekend. It's a great show, 25 plays all done in an hour (well an hour-ish). Our houses seemed to really like it and I've heard rumors of people quoting certain lines. All good things.

We'll be announcing our next season this week and it's a season I am excited to see move forward. Perhaps more than anything else I'm excited to be putting season three to bed. I'm happy we are leaving it behind with a strong production up and running. Unlike seasons 1 and 2 I feel like the best way to describe this one is with the phrase, "we survived it" and we certainly did, we may have come out a little more bruised than we would have liked, but we learned a lot, we have picked up the pieces, dusted ourselves off, perhaps used some gaff tape or super glue on a few edges and have emerged shiny and stronger than ever. That feels good.

I still have moments when I miss our time in New York. I know that my time in New York was idyllic, I didn't have to work, my expenses were taken care of, it was not real. Knowing that doesn't make me long for it any less at times. There are things I worry I'll eventually forget, things I want to take with me for the rest of my life. And so while they may not make sense to anyone else the following words are words that I hope will be enough to keep these amazing memories alive in my head: pac-man, rain, diner, "Today," The Cherry Pit, and the G train.

I also remembered this week why I rarely take work outside of Theatre Unleashed and how lucky I am to be working with such an incredible group of people. Actors are an interesting group of people. I've discussed my love affair and fondness for them in other blogs, but still their uniqueness continues to astonish me in both good and bad ways. I was reminded that with Theatre Unleashed I know that actors will come to rehearsal ready to work, they will come to have fun, but first and most importantly they are there to work, to rehearse, to be creative, they are there to listen to each other and the director and they are there because they care about the process of creating a show. I was sadly reminded that not all actors think like the actors I have come to know and love in Theatre Unleashed. As I watched this rehearsal that reminded me of all of this I remembered how fortunate I am.

So looking ahead, I'm excited to spend three more weekends with 25PPH. I'm excited to move forward into season 4 and in just a few weeks I should be able to share more about an independent project I'm working on. So maybe I have found my motivation, inspiration, creativity, whatever it was I was looking for, perhaps it's back and ready to go again!