Saturday, March 15, 2008

On Opening Doors

When I first started devising this new model for regional theatre companies, it seemed pretty straightforward. I had several "themes" that I was going to address that I had written about in the past, and they seemed focused and manageable. But the more I learn, and the more I write, the more this project becomes about more than simply theatre. I find myself learning about sustainable economics, about consensus processes, about ecologically sound theatre practices, about community building and organizing, about dialogue and communication, about barter and alternative monetary systems. It involves thinking about the life of the citizen-artist differently, and seeking ways to conceive of the work of art in a different way than a product to be marketed and sold. I feel as if I have opened a door in a subject I thought was compact, and suddenly found another huge room behind the door with many more doors opening from it. It is exciting and daunting, and it wars against the insistence on concise action statements. In a previous post, I talked about the path of least resistance -- the cow paths that are created by following the same walkways over and over again. And I am starting to realize that to simply propose a few quick fixes -- non-hierarchical structure, tribe shares ancillary income, etc -- without deeply understanding a different way of thinking will do exactly what Don says it will: the tribe will grow and become a corporation, it will follow the traditional pathway, the path of least resistance. I believe it was Rilke who said "you must change your life;" perhaps so, but unless you change your thinking, your life will track back to the well-worn. I suddenly have realized how difficult it is to change one's thinking, and also I've realized that the task that I had set for myself is much deeper than I first thought. So much more to learn.

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Think Again: Funding and Budgets in the Arts

Every once in a while, I think I'll post a link or two to posts written earlier in the life of Theatre Ideas that seem worth revisiting ...