All right, I’ll stop whining…

Well, that’s one play in the bank, the reviews are in, the sets, props, and costumes have been returned, and the receipts have been counted. On to the next, as soon as all involved do whatever it is they do to recuperate from the physical and emotional exertions of pouring their all into such an intense and revelatory work of art. Some are away reconnecting with their love interests, while some remain snug beneath the covers sucking their thumbs. Me, I’m working my way through a large gin. To each their own. The next step is to reassemble the family and debrief ourselves on the whole experience in order to quantify it and talk about lessons learned. Here’s my top three:

1.) Always work with people you trust, because there will be times when you will disagree with each other. Strongly.

2.) Never underestimate your audience.

3.) There is no such thing in theatre as too much marketing.

That last one is the real challenge, for it is my ardent belief that we live in a latent theatre town, full of people who love this art form, and just don’t know it yet. I’ve heard so many people say that the arts don’t thrive here because this is just not an intellectual town, to which I call bullshit. If there was a buzz about the arts scene here, if it was buoyed by the sensationalist and partisan mainstream media so that it would reach those uninitiated into the burgeoning alternative media, and if the artists in town would start making more noise, then the city would reveal its true nature as one of the smartest, most opinionated, and impassioned kids on the block. It will happen, and it will happen sooner than the naysayers think.

Now that the inaugural production is behind us I’m eager to connect with the other theatre troupes that are championing the cause. Up until now this blog has been an omnibus of “Wah, indie theatre is so hard”, I know, I get it. I’m excited to move beyond the sphere of our company and report on the state of theatre everywhere, not just in Vancouver, because ours is an art that can transcend borders and comment on them at the same time, and right to your face. Theatre is all about the voice, so I’m going to start talking to people in the global community and posting the conversations here, so that they may stimulate some of your own. After all, the best thing about experiencing art is discussing it.




  1. Hi Simon,
    “The best thing about experiencing art is discussing it.”
    Does art-making then, for you, fall under “experiencing art”? Or do “art experiencers” assume a somewhat more passive, receive-and-discuss role? Or – have you kept the wording intentionally loose to see if we’re paying attention?
    Hmm. Put more simply: Does the above statement suggest that you get more satisfaction from talking about art than you do from making it?
    Just curious.

  2. Hey Ian, damn good question for first thing in the morning. I certainly can get as much satisfaction from experiencing good art as making it, and for me discussing (or arguing about) it with friends whose opinion I value is an essential part of that experience. It lends to the overall exploration of the piece, be it a play, a sculpture, a song, whatever. I’m pretty stubbornly critical but I’ll admit there’s been times when someone else has found value or depth where I have not, and has thus changed my opinion.
    That’s the point of view I was coming from in my assertion above, but you’ve got me thinking now about “experiencing art” while making it and how that fits with said assertion. As my chosen form of art is by means a collaborative one it is naturally enriched by constant discussion before, during, and after rehearsal, as opposed to, say, an oil painter who probably doesn’t want or need to hear squat from anyone during her process. Even as a playwright, itself normally a solitary pursuit, I’ve found that since I’ve been workshopping plays and shaping them with the company that my work benefits immeasurably from these discussions. It also keeps the ego in constant check and stops the writing from becoming too “precious” to me, which was one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned.

  3. Hmmm…very interesting conversation happening here. My turn to chime in: art by its very nature is a sensory process – the inspiration, the making, the experiencing, the critiquing – no matter what the medium. I know many artists, myself included, that weight the process involved in a piece just as important (and sometimes more important) than the final outcome. But anyone can experience art, the artist will just experience a different part of the piece than what the viewer experiences. I think the most important thing here is to make sure that art has an experience, period (meaning that art gets seen and heard by an audience). Otherwise it’s just art therapy, and I’m not sure about you all, but I know that I’m in it for way more than that.

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