Haven't done that for a while. Worried I might have forgotten how...people will say "it's just like riding a bike," but the last time I got back on a bike after not having ridden one in years, I went promptly over the handle-bars on a busy street in front of LOTS of people.
This should be fun!
Everyone is bitching and moaning about last night's TELEVISED LIVE PERFORMANCE OF THE SOUND OF MUSIC...and though I won't get into my initial gut responses to the majority of those people, I WILL get into what I think is the cause of my underlying gut response (which has lost me several facebook friends--LOL).
I live in a pretty small professional market. Tiny, actually, in comparison to Chicago, New York, or even Cincinnati (I'm told). A very incestuous, very close-knit (keep your enemies close) "professional" market. So tiny, in fact, that we haven't had a legitimate Theatre Critic in over 20 years. We've got reviewers--oh, we've got them in bucket loads. Mostly people who either take time out of their own performing schedule to review other shows, or people who work (or want to work) somewhere in this community. And there's lots of plot/story-line regurgitation, lots of commentary on the history of a piece (where it's note-worthy)--and very little actual discussion of the actual performance (aside from tech)--other than than the requisite fawning over all of the "popular" kids everyone loves to love because everyone actually hates them so much.
What do I know from other markets? Perhaps it is the same (to one degree or another) everywhere, but I can only speak to what I know here.
The fact of the matter is, this market likes particularly to fawn all over new, pretty people, and especially over people who come from other places to perform on our professional stages. As a matter of fact, in a couple of notable theatres, if you don't have a NYC address, you're not even considered legit--and it is unlikely you will ever land a leading role.
Fine. That's fine. They do what they do--and for the most part, it's really not bad. But what it has done, is it has trained a certain audience to believe that the REST of the "small, professional" theatres around town are not actually legit because they do not cast from NYC, or LA, or Chicago...or from wherever else isn't here. And that's bullshit.
Another problem is...because we haven't had an actual Theatre Critic here for over 20 years, there are some who pass for super stars...who just. aren't. There are shows that have been cast with the old, standard, presentational actors who do nothing more than a bigger version of themselves in every role--and everyone laps them up like warm cream fresh from the cow. Puh-leeease. Oh--and don't get me wrong--I've buttered them up and fawned all over them just like everyone else, because that's what we do (and how we survive?)--but it still sucks. (Oh, and don't get me wrong--I know for a fact that I've been mis-cast before and that people have fawned all over me because they felt it was somehow necessary--so I am not suggesting in the least that I am not guilty on both sides of the bet--I'm just sayin'.)
I think part of what I'm actually MOST pissed-off about, though, is something entirely different. I've worked in this market for over 20 years (I've batted that around a LOT in this post...and now I just feel really, really old), and I've made contributions. No. I mean, I have really made contributions. Let's see...I bet I can recount some of them here. Since I'm pretty much on the fringe of it all (wabbling towards extinction? Who knows...probably after this...), I have very little to lose.
The new rage for ensemble theatre? Yeah. I helped forge that trend. The company I started was based entirely upon the ensemble model.
Active, ongoing theatrical training for professionals (particularly in the area of movement and physical theatrical training)? Yup. Did that. Mostly only women felt they had anything left to learn (minus the ones being fawned over, mind you).
Collaborative theatre movement in our market. Bingo! Yeah. I thought it would be cool to collaborate with artists from all sorts of different mediums. Seemed like a great idea...until we mostly found ourselves collaborating with each other. Now we've got all sorts of stuff, including a fabulous fringe festival---headed up by an alumn of the ensemble theatre, no less.
And, just to be petty, our original (still in use) logo. It really is petty--I mean, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Sure it is. I keep telling myself that.
But just so we're clear: even though this sounds very much like an artistic, ego-maniacal break-down (which, on some level, I assure you--it IS)--that's not even my point. My point is this: I HATE IT. I hate that I have this part of me who is SO petty, and so hurt, and feeling so forgotten, and so abandoned. I hate that person. Detest her. She is ugly, and pathetic, and in serious need of a good bitch-slap upside the head. She is angry and nursing festering wounds because she's never been lauded for any of her contributions--not once. Ever. And that has, apparently, hurt.
And that's why I'm here. What was it all ever really about, if at the end of it all, I'm left here being pissed-off about how under-appreciated/under-acknowledged I was? It was all EGO--period. End of story. Disgusting, un-artistic, self-serving twat. That's not art. That's got nothing to DO with being creative--and the very least, it is about taking more than it is about giving or sharing...and who the Hell do I think I am?
I think the disaster I am feeling right now is because I am seeing it all for the complete and utter bullshit that it was--and I am horrified. What if I'm not even an "Artist" at all? What if it was ONLY about feeding my ego, and this was just the arena I happened into?
I've had my time on stage--so now I pick and choose VERY carefully, because my time is truly precious. But all of the things I think I ever created? I'm not so sure about that. Today I am questioning EVERYTHING. I know that I have (at least) been a part of creating really good things...but I am questioning, now, my intention. My consciousness. The seeds I planted.
I look at what has brought me to this moment--and all I can see is an egotistical desire to be noticed--to be "the one." Somewhere. It was suggested to me, today--during my break-down--that I leave people behind. The funny thing is...I'm the one who always feels left behind. How crazy is that? What that says to me, is that the person who accused me of leaving them behind was dead-balls-on...I feel abandoned, because I abandon things. That sucks. I'm left standing here alone feeling sorry for myself--when the whole time, what I've been doing is leaving a wake of people feeling abandoned by ME. And the "Artist" in me--if there really even is such a thing in me--what does that say about the things I think I've created?
All of the things for which I feel I should have been lauded...are just things that I did to make myself feel better about me, and then I found the next better thing to make myself feel better.
So here we are. Sitting on the precipice of...I don't know what. Self discovery? Sitting here in the dark listening to music, feeling VERY alone, and knowing that it is all of my own doing. I want to emerge with some new, more elevated consciousness/reality--but I'm just going to end up walking out into the snow to my car, hoping beyond hope that the dogs have a parade when I arrive home (as they are prone to do).
And all of my ranting? I've burned bridges. Several, today--of that, I'm sure. The change will happen when I walk over that next bridge...and I haven't left someone behind. I guess that's the lesson. I couldn't really care any less about The Sound of Music if I put effort into it...but this has felt cathartic.
I think I'm going to like being back in the blogosphere.