Some time ago I was introduced to the concept of Cathedral Thinking. The notion stretches back through the centuries to medieval times, when architects, stonemasons and artisans laid plans and began construction of the soaring, cavernous structures that served as places of worship, community gathering spaces and safe havens. Since then, the concept has been applied to space exploration, city planning and other long-term goals that require decades of foresight and planning so future generations can enjoy their full realization.
I never mean to be cruel but I tell the truth and the truth sometimes hurts. My husband doesn't let me post pictures of you on Facebook. He thinks that you should be the one to decide what personal content you share on the web. I’m a bit less generous. I think I made you, you are my cells and flesh, you radically altered my life and it’s my right to talk about it.
Moreover, these colleagues and I have control over our means of production: we are the means of production. We have the ability to adjust timelines and meetings to accommodate due dates, parental leaves, illnesses and naps. These are the gifts that we can give each other when we recognize, collectively, that we don’t need to adhere to standard models of scheduling or rehearsal – models that have more to do with industrial production than the creation of art.
How do we do it? With volatile schedules and 16 hour day work days, ‘Daycare’ in the traditional sense doesn’t work for us. So we do our best not to double book gigs. We try not to have overlapping projects and we use Babysitters! Lots and lots of baby sitters. We hire, mostly, young actors to watch Aaron as well as some help from my in-laws. We spend as much time looking for sitters as we do conceiving ideas for shows, at least that’s how it feels.
While at the school it is easy to focus on our individual experiences determined by our specific program demands, I think it is essential that we bear witness to our parallel artistic development and how they differ from program to program. After all once we move past these walls we will inevitably meet again so why not start getting to know each other as best we can now?
Theatre of the citizen is not simply political theatre. It is deeply personal.
"There is a power in having different perspectives in our artistic voices. Because there is a great tension between ideas that also tells a story. There doesn't have to be terms of agreement, or a fight to prove that one's voice is more important or more 'right' than another. "
It seems a good time to reflect on recent innovations (and devolutions) and take stock of what the deal is with social design at this moment. Hopefully I will write something of this nature each year for as long as I teach the class. I am only going to get older and more naturally out-of-touch with youth-inspired innovation. This seems a good way to force myself be on the ball with current trends and best practices.
When I look back I know that SpiderWebShow was born of a hunch. I had a sense that there might be a way to gather and collate the disparate strands and to allow meaning to form as a result. I had a feeling that we might be able to tell a story in a new way and to allow that story the space to have ever changing narratives. I wanted to move forward and backwards through the story and to look to its left and its right. Ultimately I hoped we would be able to expose all the story making elements.
The original goal of the SWS was to build a "National Theatre" that made sense for the Internet age. Reading the original proposal, I felt that it was going to be actually very difficult to separate the project's artistic goals from their technical realization. Which is why I kind of asserted myself a bit more and said that not only was I going to write some code, but I had to have some sort of advisory role, helping the creators see the technical limits, but also the technical possibilities.