Sunday, June 23, 2013

Post-Fest Thoughts

I personally could not have asked for a better 14/48: Kamikaze weekend. Being a virgin actor scared the hell out of me, but the 14/48 gods were smiling. Two great scripts, two amazing and supportive casts, one damn fine director twice.

But, it was the side conversations during and after that really struck me, and one idea in particular. Virgin playwright Mik Kuhlman said her goal when writing was to give the actors a really great experience. Virgin band member Jose Amador, speaking of his many veteran directing experiences, said his goal is to make the playwright happy. Every actor I spoke with talked about focusing on supporting one another, making sure their castmates had a good experience. Nobody foregrounded their own needs, or worried what the audience would think.

And, it isn't because we are all perfectly selfless artists or because we don't care about the audience. It's because the 14/48 process is built on trust, and artists realize they have have the freedom to give everything to one another because they trust that they will be supported as well. It doesn't have to be asked for, because it will be given. And the audience? We have all come to understand that if we forget about them and pour our genuine love and energy into the work, the audience will be rewarded.

I have heard at least one local artist publicly proclaim that 14/48 is no longer risky, and this weekend is the perfect illustration for why that is bullshit. The risk of failure was staggeringly high. The terror in the eyes of virgin playwrights and directors and actors was real. But, 14/48 has nurtured a community that can consistently spin risk into gold, and shared risk into community.

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