So then, the heart of the matter:
(2) For a long time, I’ve thought that making theater requires a dual desire: the desire to make great art, and the desire to make theater itself, as a form and an artistic proposition, work.
That’s why I documented Outdoor Dramas, I was looking for why those plays manage to cater to audiences of over 1000 people a night for three months, when most regional theaters in major cities have problems filling out a theater of 300. That’s why I wanted to work for Cornerstone Theater Company, because their form of community-based theater clearly results in some beautiful art that at the same time manages to serve and be relevant to specific communities. That’s why I did community-based work in Mississippi. That’s why I went to grad school, so they could pay me to write about this stuff, and help me settle down after 3 years on the road.
Anyway–if I’ve had any epiphanies of late, it’s that I’ve been so absorbed in the big questions of how theater, and whence theater, and what’s up with theater in America, and why it’s so screwed up, in what precise fashion, that I haven’t been thinking like an artist.
It’s been a very long time (years) since I’ve asked myself what I want to do–what might delight me–what tortures me–hell, what play might I want to direct. It’s been a long time since I’ve followed my impulses, or even owned my impulses. Maybe I never have, or only have in moments, or under certain controlled conditions.
And I realized that I’ve become scared of those questions, scared of taking those risks.
I wouldn’t take back the past few years of inquiry. I can’t, first of all. And a lot of it wasn’t done out of fear, but in good faith. I need to simply trust that everything I’ve learned about the Big Questions will serve me, and to stop thinking about them so much. And just make things. Even shitty things. Even little things no one will ever see.
That’s the road. Everything else is a detour.