Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Participate in the Process

Charles Olson

You must speak to your community.

The poet Vincent Ferrini, talking about poet Charles Olson, said "Everybody has to find his or her place. You find a place and you operate from that place. Once you find that place, that place becomes the center of the whole cosmos. It’s like the dot that keeps the circle going around it. So the center and the circumference are the same thing. Especially if you find your place and work that place to the best of your ability. So you participate in the process. "

That last sentence is crucial: participate in the process. Don't stand apart from it throwing explosives into the group like an Oakland policeman attacking Occupy Wall Street protesters. Join the group, listen and speak, participate in the process. The idea of the artist as magical outsider is cowardice not purity. Don't give up your selfhood, but be open to other voices and offer dialogue not monologue. Participate in the process of creating a community, a place, an idea of what it is to be human today, now, in this place.

I don't believe you can live one place and write for another -- the massification of something as local as drama has led to homogenization and and impoverishment. Drama not written for a specific place is like supermarket tomatoes compared to those you grow in your back yard -- mealy, watery, lacking in nutrition and gusto. Find your place. Write for it. If others find that what you have written speaks to them, that is gravy, but it is not the goal. Charles Olson said "Polis is eyes." It is you looking out through your own eyes at a place.

Participate in the process.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Latest Email from StageNorth

As some of you know, I am a big fan of StageNorth in Washburn, WI (pop 2,280). I am on their mailing list, and received the following this morning. For those of you who think that "culture" only happens in urban areas, StageNorth has an independent film festival this month, and their hit production of Hamlet being extended "because of our long waiting list and sold-out shows of our recently completed production or Hamlet." Are you paying attention, Rocco? 

where every night is entertaining...

Hello from StageNorth!

It is such an exciting time at the theater.  Tonight, more than eighty (!) local students will descend on StageNorth for our first rehearsal of Christmas Carol, which will run from December 8-18th, the phone is ringing off the hook for our upcoming reprisal of "Hamlet", and we are getting ready for this weekend's (4th Annual) "Big Water Film Festival."  Life couldn't be better!

We hope to see you here! 
- All of us at StageNorth

P.S. Check us out on Facebook too!
Coming up...
The 4th Annual "Big Water Film Festival"
November 4-6

The Big Water Film Festival offers a whole weekend of independent films from around the corner and around the world, each one "as fresh as the water of Lake Superior," combined with question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers, and special features, all in the friendly and inviting ambience of StageNorth.

The Big Water has developed a reputation for good films, a welcoming environment, and a lot of fun.

To see the complete schedule of films, please visit

StageNorth presents... Hamlet
Thursday, November 17th - November 19th

Because of our long waiting list and sold-out shows of our recently completed production or Hamlet, we are extending our run by another week.  We hope to see you here!

StageNorth is taking on the Bard, and is starting with the most famous of tragedies.  With themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption, these 400-year old words are just as stunning and true today.  Starring Artistic Director Noah Siegler, this is sure to be one of the biggest productions of the season.

Show dates & times:
Thurday, November 17th, 7:30pm  ($9 Night!)
Friday, November 18th, 7:30pm
Saturday, November 19th, 7:30pm

Tickets: $16 Adults / $14 Seniors / $9 Students

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 ...