So there is a lot of talk in the theatrical blogosphere of late about many a big and important issue in today’s Chicago theatrical community. It’s all very fascinating and inspiring and frustrating, like theatre tends to be. Having moved here 5 years ago from an area where there is major undercurrent of anti-intellectualism, I sigh in utter delight when people are talking seriously about the Arts and nobody’s elbowing anyone in the ribcage and making faces. Well, not as much anyway. And when I don’t zone out, I enjoy reading it and thinking about it and wondering.
What do I wonder? I wonder what I should do. First and foremost, I’m an actor. I’m beginning to direct, but if the theatrical police came along and said, “Name, title,” I would say, Elizabeth Morgan – actor. So what do I do? I want the Chicago theatre scene to be vibrant and diverse. I want to feel like I’m a part of a community. I want resources to be readily available and shared. And I want to do it all while eating the occasional fresh vegetable and not just ramen. But, as my friend Jamie says, I also want a pony.
I won’t bemoan how little time and money we all have and how big some of these issues seem to be. That’s not what I mean to do here. I mean to ask this, is it okay to be just an actor here in Chicago? Of course we must also be advocates. But can I merely appear in and promote the shows with which I’m affiliated? OR do I need to don my philosopher hat and grab my producer cane and find a way to have a voice in these big discussions? I’m not very good at organizing get-togethers. (I just planned a prop-building party and forgot to include the time, date and 5 people I meant to invite.) BUT, If and when there is a Storefront Summit, I will be there. Assuming I don’t have rehearsal. And certainly, it would behoove people holding rehearsals (myself included) to pause that evening and join in the summit as well, but…well, see my “pony” comment.
I guess what I’m saying is I’m feeling kind of helpless and kind of dumb, in both senses of the word. So here’s my way of holding up a flag and saying, I’m a Part of this Community and I Want to Do Something to Benefit This Community But I’m Not an Artistic Director or Head of the League or a Known Voice of Dissent. I Just Want You to Know I’m Here and I Love This Place that is Chicago Theatre and I Want to Make it Better (It’s a really big flag.)
Sure I have my list of “Shit I wish wouldn’t happen every goddamn time I do a show,” but that’s a company by company thing and it’s heavily arbitrary. (I’m also discovering that, as a director, I’m horrifyingly guilty of some shit that pisses me off as an actor.) And sure I have in my head what a dream life in Chicago theatre could be. But again, that’s subjective. I mean, some of you like Meisner.
So I’m here, I’m theatre, I’m used to it. I just don’t know what to say. I mean I read these blogs and I think, Hmmmm…interesting point, Mr. Vire. OOooh snap, Kerri Reid! Cool idea, Nick Keenan! Jesus Christ, shut the hell up….people who will remain nameless. But, other than popping popcorn and clicking refresh 8 million times until 5:00 where I head off to rehearse, I don’t really know what to say. I don’t know most of these guys personally, but the ones I do I’m very honored to know. Occasionally Dan Granata posts stuff that I can dig into, particularly because he’s an actor, too. And Rebecca and I seem to be on the same page about a lot of stuff, particularly material, process, and finding answers to questions. I find Bilal Dardai’s blog to be consistently thought-provoking and very well-written.
Certainly I don’t want to come off as a drooling idiot, here (Theatre Blog important. Reading goooood.), who does? I’m just saying I feel young and overwhelmed. But I want to be a deliberate and effective member of this community. Hell I minored in political analysis, I LOVE a good set of public policy (emphasis on “good.) So count me in. I’m just not sure what’s going on.