Waking up with a smile this morning (and at noon, thank you very much) and thinking of the love I have for my Seattle theater community filled me with heaps of joy that's hard to describe. I'll attempt to if you'll excuse the slight digression.
Six years ago I went to Burning Man for the first time. If you've never gone, it's hard to understand from a simple explanation of 'it's a big party in the middle of a desert.' If you've heard about it, you may think it's just a big hippie fest, which it can be, but it's so much more than that. I made connections that became friendships and many of those friendships morphed into family. It changed my life. I'd lived in Seattle a little more than decade by then and never really felt family in that way before. I'd found my first community and it was glorious.
Though I moved to Seattle thinking 'I'M GOING TO DO THEATER HERE!', as someone who may have less a gift for acting than those I've come to know and admire, I channeled my organization skills and got into production instead. Having been part of two fringe companies and stage managed for many others, it took 14/48 to make me realize I had another community in which I was included. Sure theater can be fraught with ego and drama and conflicting personalities all in the name of art, but now, when I'm part of smaller productions post-14/48 with any of those participating artists, I notice a stronger camaraderie that seems to compound and extend further to the next play and the next.
Maybe it's just networking, but I'd like to think it's more than that. Non-theater types sometimes don't understand how we memorize 'all those lines', so maybe working in theater isn't always a relatable passion. But if you appreciate any kind of art, you can see how those of us who are used to the 'normal' four to six week rehearsal process and as many performances a week for minimal pay might jump at the chance to create something that pushes us further as artists than we're used to. And it ain't gonna be the same tomorrow so we may say we're tired or smelly or nervous, but being apart of 14/48 is never boring.
It's the glow on a writer's face when she watches her play at the 8pm show for the first time and at the end, she's beaming with content that it went well. It's the pats on her back from her friends around her saying it was wonderful. It's the tap of the keg! It's the 7pm meeting when Megan or Peter asks us what we do when we're dragging and feeling like we can't possibly find the energy and we all reply, "Raise the fucking stakes!" And it's the wonderful gadgets and gizmos the design team creates that get seen or used for only a moment like a space gun or a shadow dinosaur or when James Venturini walked into the green room with 'space boots' for Alyssa Keene and she shouted, "I FUCKING LOVE YOU!" It's all the work the kitchen staff does to keep us well fed and hydrated because that's super necessary! It's curtain call for everyone involved as those of us who get to watch from the audience run down to stand with our fellow artists and take our bow and know we did this together. It's never ever going to be recreated or duplicated again exactly as we just did it. It's incredibly special.
I'm filled with gratitude to the Steering Committee for everything they do, for allowing me to document this weekend and asking me to be apart of next's in the design crew. I'm grateful to every artist I got to play with this weekend in every discipline who brought their gifts to the table and shared them generously. I admire you all so greatly and am so humbled to be apart of this staggeringly inspiring community. Thank you. Truly.