Friday, March 17, 2006

Rock and a Hard Place

"It has been said by others far more qualified then I am, that 'once you comromise your art, you compromise your soul.'" - SL2000's dad.

I had to make some very difficult decisions this past week. They were the decisions of an adult, one who protects her own interests, her own principals, and stands firm on a ground very far away from college. I can barely see those red brick buildings and open quad from were I stand. It just seems to be quiet a learning curve I'm on.

I had agreed to stage manage the show of Ms Creative's boyfriend, who's name is now going to be poltical art boy, or PAB. I have to say I felt a bit pushed into it, he begged me to do it, practically getting on his knees right in front of Ms. Creative, who just happend to be designing the show. I was promised a good time, to be used as more than a stage manager (that never happens) and that it wouldn't be that much work (that also never happens). I had never seen PAB's work, I only had the good word of the groveling director and Ms. Creative. I broke out of retirement and agreed to do it. I also dragged Mark Darcy down with me, and got him to audition for the show.

He was cast

The problem was never us working together, we're really professional. The problem was that we were seeing the same problem.

The show was a format I'd never seen and am still hard press to explain. What it looked like from my vantage point were a series of acting improv games strung into a format that has a dramatic formula and tells the story (roughly) of Hamlet, only it takes place in the present, and there are protests and the shooting of heads of state. Did you catch all that? I didn't either.

I kept thinking I wasn't giving it a chance, then I saw a DVD of a previous show using the same method and realized, no that's actually what it is. Improve games, dramatic formula, story line. It was improv, so there were no lines or blocking, which amounted to one bored stage manager. My main function was to tell PAB what time it was. I had plenty of time to sit there and watch MD get more and more fusterated, wondering what I had dragged the two of us into.

The rehearsals ran a bit like college student shows from Sophmore year and I kept having flash backs to that period of time and how miserable I was. I'm hard pressed to say this show was going to be a disaster, or that PAB didn't know what he was doing. I'd say he learned his methods in college, and just hadn't transitioned out of it yet. He kept teaching the actors how to act his way, to get them to fill out this frame work he'd created. Very fusterating for a professional actor who didn't go to college with PAB. Hence MD's distress during reherasals. I was also becoming painfully aware of the political message in the show, and how amorphous it was....

Brief Rant:

Art should never strive to be poltical. The very act of creating art is a poltical statement. Who said that? That's right, Frida Kalho, who was poltical in life, but not overtly so in art. She kept saying that her art wasn't poltical enough, and felt pressure to create art in honor of the Communist party she so dearly loved. Frida's most controversal works of art are her self portraits. They were revolutionary in thier surrealism, and emotional rawness. So then, to be truely revolutionary in art, is to also be emotionally honest in your art. Don't strive to MAKE a statement. Strive to make art, and that will make a statement.

Rant over.

PAB has taken a broad brush and decided to make a big poltical statement with his show. That is his intent. He believes in his work, but he's also very insecure about it, this makes for awkward rehersals.

MD and I decided to bail. Professionally speaking.

First MD quit, which went over like a ton of bricks. There was groveling involved. I let the waters settle, then dropped my own bomb. I quit as well.

I quit for several reasons. One being that I couldn't sit there and watch bad poltical art unfold, two being that I HATE stage managing. I have for years and I shouldn't do it anymore. Period.

I was afriad that the professional and personal would all get mixed into one stinky swampy mess. I feared PAB would be upset I quit, that Ms. Creative would be upset he was upset and so on. I basically put all of us in between a rock and a hard place.

I've learned to NEVER agree to help someone with thier art, if I don't know what that art is.

Not sure were I stand with PAB and Ms. Creative, MD is unsure as well. So far I've hit a wall of stony silence from Ms. Creative and have decided to just let her be for awhile. I'd like to think that all that happened was a on a professional level, but I can't account for other people's behavior, just my own.

I don't regret quitting, I did it to protect myself, something I didn't do enough of in the past.

We all put ourselves in that little space between the rock and a hard place. We have the power to get out as well....


Blogger DesTheRay said...

Hey Lady,

Your blog is amazing. I am going to check it out more often. And also, you are quite wise. Making art is political. If the art you are making just so happens to deconstruct some huge political machination because that is what you are into exploring, that's great. But the goal will be served much better without your awareness, I think. I wonder if Brecht was sitting there trying to be political, or if he just had some shit to say about what he saw, and a damn good way of saying it. It's up to the academics to be political. That's why critics have jobs.

And yes, you do have to take care of yourself. Most people, I am finding, are learning that the hard way. There's a balance, but yeah, don't help someone make their dream happen unless you believe in their dream. I have done "that play" before. And stuck it out for the most part (I have done "that play" more than once, because i like to overdo things), and try to chalk everything up to experience. After a while you get a little sick of experience.

10:08 AM  
Blogger DesTheRay said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:08 AM  
Blogger DesTheRay said...

also, my brand of melatonin is made by "Schiff" and I think I got it at the GNC. you really must try it. it's kind of great.

10:14 AM  

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