I did my undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, a huge campus of over 50,000 students. Of course, with that many students, not to mention the faculty and staff of the university, the major problem was predictable: parking. If you got to campus after a certain time, you usually found "Lot Full" signs standing in the entrances to most of the parking lots on campus, and often there were a dozen or so cars sitting in line waiting for somebody to finish class and vacate a spot. Sometimes you'd sit there an hour before there was a space for you.
The point I have been trying to make about Nylachi, and most recently about DC, is that these lots are full. When a lot on the U of MN campus is full, nobody went from building to building trying to get people who had a spot in that lot to move their cars. That would be a waste of time. But if there were other lots on campus that had plenty of parking spaces available, one might go up to the drivers of the cars in line and tell them, "Hey, maybe you oughta check out that lot about two blocks away -- they have lots of open spaces." And then it's up to the line-sitter to decide.
The same is true of the theatre. Don Hall has a spot in the Chicago lot, and for some reason he thinks I'm trying to persuade him to move to another lot, so he feels the need to defend his reason for parking there. I hope that Don and all my Nylachi friends will not take it personally when I say I'm not all that concerned with why you chose Nylachi, why you love it, why you stay. I am not trying to get you to pack up and head for some non-Nylachi place. I am thrilled for you that your Nylachi life is splendid. But to all those young people who are sitting in line waiting for a chance to park, I say, "Hey, there's another lot a few blocks away with a lot of space, you might want to try it out." I'm not telling them they have to go to another lot -- they can stay in line if they want. But they should know that they don't have to.
Don's reasons are perfectly valid. Some of them are about being a consumer -- lots of things to do in Chicago, lots of people to hang out with. My assumption, which for some people may be incorrect, is that doing work yourself is more satisfying than seeing the work of others. My assumption is that having the opportunity to do more work is an important motivator. And if what really revs your engine is competition -- playing in front of an audience in Nylachi is somehow beating the odds, and so more satisfying -- then more power to you. I have the belief, again perhaps not shared by everybody but perhaps shared by some, that an audience is an audience, people are not more important because of where they live, and that there might even be more satisfaction bringing the arts to a community that wouldn't have an opportunity to partake otherwise.
But let me reiterate: if you live in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, or any other large city with a vigorous theatre scene and you are happy there, you have my applause and my blessing to just stay right where you are. And if you are someone who dreams of living in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC or any other large city with a vigorous theatre scene and you're willing to wait in line for the opportunity to try your hand, again you have my applause and my blessing to do exactly that. As if you all need my applause and blessing.
But if you are a theatre artist who doesn't want the big city life, who wants a family and a house, who thinks that 99 people in Vermillion IN are as important as 99 people in Greenwich Village, who wants the best chance to work frequently to develop your craft, then I invite you to consider the ideas I am developing.
It's as simple as that. It's another option. It's a choice.