My inbox has been filling up with invitations from every theater company in town, as it does every August. The new season launch parties are here! For a few hundred (or thousand) bucks you can attend. Which I would certainly do had I that kind of cash, but alas, I haven't hit wealthy patron status yet, so... But isn't a season launch party a great idea? I'd love to be throwing a party to hear about all the cool stuff you just did and are about to do, and introduce cool people to other cool people they somehow do not know yet. What a nice way to start the theater season! So I'm doing it.
Monday, September 24
6pm - 8pm
17 Stanton Street, between Chrystie & Bowery
in the garden out back weather permitting
Send Me Your Info! Seriously. Are you performing? Got a show coming up? An episode you'll be on? A book being published? Because there's going to be a program. My entry will say "Catherine has various irons in the fire that can't be discussed just now but you'll surely know if/when I need to cast!" Don't skip this because you don't have something to announce. Send me your info and I swear I will make a damn program. You can even put your web address on it.
Things I Used To Believe.
When I was a kid I went to dance class, and one of the hard and fast rules in the ballet studio is no street shoes on the floor. When I came to New York City and began my theater training, I was asked to leave more than my shoes outside the studio. I was trained in a tradition that asks the performer to leave everything at the door, and yet somehow bring everything into the work. It makes a kind of pure sense: you leave your personal life, your dating, your grocery list, your complaints, your job, your schoolwork, the weather, all of it at the door and just live in the world of the play or the world of the theater piece being built. We didn't chat in the studio. We warmed up. We arrived at least 15 minutes before class or rehearsal was scheduled to begin and got physically and mentally prepared to work. It wasn't always silent--vocal warm-ups are damn loud and necessary conversation ("Are we using the props today?") was fine. But it was focused.
Working this way was amazingly freeing because I could drop my day-to-day insecurity, concerns, and problems for the next few hours. But there are people I worked with in the most intense way that I barely knew. People I simultaneously knew with both an intimacy and a distance that is rare. The work created a bond and prevented connection. There were things we were explicitly asked not to discuss outside of class or rehearsal, to strengthen the energy of the room. That works, by the way. But it also means things happened that bordered on not OK or sailed well past the border of OK that were simply never addressed. Things happened that needed some processing and were never processed. People stopped showing up and I'd realize I hadn't any idea why: was it the work itself or did they have a life situation to take care of (which of course they never mentioned)? A closer friend might know, I might hear from a particularly close colleague, but others just came and went without a trace. As I did, eventually. I moved on and the circle simply closed behind me.
I still believe in showing up early to prepare. I still think it's a good idea to leave my personal stuff at the door, for the most part. I still think a focused room works best. But I'm learning to loosen up, to chat a little, to get to know a bit. Connection doesn't undermine the work.
So this season, I'm starting with a party. I can't wait to see you there!