Tell me what to do. For the love of God, just tell me what to do.

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.


3 thoughts on “Tell me what to do. For the love of God, just tell me what to do.

  1. “Theatre Blog important. Reading goooood.”

    That’s basically my subtext while reading all of these confounded things, too.

    I think we all must have watched a lot of Mighty Mouse when we were little because I want to help save the day somehow, someway but realize that my talents, brain, ideas, etc. aren’t quite as amazing as I once thought. Not that I ever thought they were amazing but I realize, while reading Nick Keenan’s blog, say, that I don’t know much and would like to learn so much more. For example, Nick proposed that every theatre company should try and come up with a promotional video before the TCG conference. I think that’s awesome, but then look at some of the footage we have and realize … dang, that’s intimidating to try to compete with the bigger theatres on the technical front. We’re not that savvy but we’d like to be. I think (and know) that we have very talented folks on the GZ front but I’d like to open our theatre company and resources up to others because we need help with things and I know others need help in things that maybe we could help them with.

    Anyhoo, I’m going on and on here. I think that this Summit will be good because I realize that I am but one mouse and I certainly don’t know how to do everything and the things that I do know I could be better at and I realize that I’m not able to do much of anything by myself. I’m ready to be inspired and to, hopefully, make something happen.

    Good bloggy blog.

  2. We can be mice together! There’s an old George Carlin joke about mascots that goes, “YAY Mice! Victory for the pink and white!” That’s us.

  3. I’m not sure what’s going on either. But I think talking about it is the first step – so way to go, doll!

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