more than 1% inspiration

I have always been a big fan of rather endless options for inspiration. I’m forever cutting out quotes I love or saving articles with thoughtful takes on the world. I used to primarily look for inspiration in terms of performance, acting, but the range has grown as I have (dare I say) grown. When I started having these story ideas and sought out training/education as a writer, I absorbed all the resources I could find about screenwriting and playwrighting. I read books and watched DVD commentaries. I attend talks and lectures.

Recently I discovered podcasts, particularly the ones through the American Theatre Wing. And my current favorite is the one with a bunch of Steppenwolf people talking about their theatre company and about August Osage County. I could write a massive diatribe about the splendor that is that play but I doubt I could do it justice. It is tremendous, and on a national tour, so see it if you ever get the chance. Now I have been a fan of Steppenwolf for a very long time, they represent this amazing blend of spirit and opportunity. I want to be a part of a company just like them, or if anyone from Steppenwolf is reading this (yeah right) then hell, I want to be part of their company. A girl can dream.

I have been working with a theatre company here in New York, Maieutic Theatre Works. They cast me in a show and they produced my recent FringeNYC show as well as asking me to be a company actor. Over the last month or so they have been doing a series of Living Room Readings to explore possible work for their 2010 NewBorn Festival. I have been lucky enough to be a part of some of them, even reading the Stage Directions for one last night, and I have to say that I’ve loved every minute of it. Mostly because of the potential that comes with being a part of something with so much hope. When a play gets a reading, there is this feeling of “yes, this can be something” and it takes the script one step closer to a real, “butts in seats” production. MTWorks has been referred to as a possible Steppenwolf successor, or at least in their mold. It’s probably because of the young, upstart, take-no-prisoners attitude they adopt. Their relentless drive to “do work.”

So why do I still crave more? Because I know that, to an outside eye, I am part of a company and I am a continually working actor and I am a produced playwright. Shouldn’t that be enough? Why do I vicariously comb interviews for inspiration and feverously search for more and more work as if today is my last? I guess it’s because, unlike the Steppenwolf podcast participants, I am not guaranteed anything. I am not a founding member of the company and I am not automatically granted work in any of their projects. Maybe but maybe not. And although I love the ‘anything is possible’ aspect of an actor’s daily life, there is also the possibility that there is no immediate or inevitable next thing. There might be nothing, no definite artistic outlet, and my soul could atrophy little by little.

Okay, I know that is an extreme viewpoint. But I go there. As we all do in our way. So I need that quote on a post-it in my pocket and that podcast with Laura Linney where she shares her feelings about reviews. I need to touch base with all those points of contact, those sources that remind me that I am not alone in this journey. Because one day can be lackluster and uneventful and the next can be a flurry of calls, emails and collaborative exchanges.

Wait, I just had a thought… maybe I need to be my own Steppenwolf. Okay that sounded so much better in my head. What I mean is that maybe I need to push the envelope with this company, show them I care and want to do more or maybe I need to group together like-minded people and we need to do our own work. In fact, I did that once already this summer. And maybe someday in the future someone will be talking to their friends or writing on their blog about the podcast or interview or satellite feed (did I just put myself in space, that was weird) with Louise Flory and how it gave them hope and inspiration. Now I’m going to whip out some Gandhi because it seems fitting. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Okay, gauntlet thrown and I accept. You heard it here first. Bring it Mahatma. So go out there and do something new yourself and report back.


Things I’m digging this week: Steppenwolf, TED talks and Childreach

Dream Role: Amanda Blue in a feminine ending by Sarah Treem

Leave a Reply