We were lucky enough to have Emerson College student Connor Fatch in our office last fall as an intern. Connor helped tremendously in putting together the fabulous new Community Room. He attended last week’s “If I Knew Then….” seminar and wanted to share his experience.
I’d like to express my gratitude to the team behind StageSource’s “If I Knew Then…” series Monday evening for the insight into the world of ‘the actor’ living in Boston. De’Lon Grant kept the dialogue going constructively as he and other New England based actors Tim Smith, Marianna Bassham, and Will Lyman shared experiences and opinions on the business and the craft to a nearly packed room of union and non-union actors. If you didn’t make it to ask them a question or hear them speak, you can read brief bits of the conversation thanks to whoever live-tweeted on the @StageSourceBos twitter feed– I believe the organization is now offering bona fide Tweet Seats for avid Twitter users to do their thing in the last row of the audience! If you don’t know what a Tweet Seat is, I tempt you to scroll down to Julie’s blog post on January 5th and share your opinion.
I left last night’s panel discussion with a full page of condensed notes, taken in a specific style, and at a rate that I haven’t churned out since my college acting classes. Although most of these “notes” look like scattered blocks of short semi-sentences thrown-up across a yellow sheet of paper, they are in fact savory snippets of conversation that I found particularly enlightening. It was refreshing to be in that environment, and although I felt bashful arriving midway into the discussion, I quickly settled down amid the relaxing atmosphere of artists simply having a conversation.
Let me tell you something about conversation. I’ve been a StageSource member since 2009, but I met Ms. Julie Hennrikus during my final year at Emerson College. She taught my Arts Management class, and although I learned a lot about the art of Arts Management, what I was most blown away by was the flood of inspiration and thought that came out of the conversations we had in that jam-packed room on the tenth floor.
These were the utterly awesome conversations that would come up once more, months later, after I graduated and I began a very influential internship experience with StageSource. Each morning I arrived to an office where there was much to be done, but also much conversation to be had. I’m not talking about regular chit-chat, but about that special, artistic, rich-with-insight kind of conversation that occurred once more in my life, a month after my internship came to a finish, at Monday’s “If I Knew Then…” panel.
It’s that same type of conversation that inspired the new StageSource Library and Community Room over the course of my time there, and the type that continues to plant seeds of thought into the head of Executive Director Ms. Henrikkus and her colleagues. I cannot articulate how much being a part of the conversations that began in that office energized and re-fueled my passion for theatre.
Let’s talk about Tweet Seats. Let’s talk about how StageSource can continue to grow as a resource. Let’s talk about the role artists can play during this Occupy movement. Let’s talk about using the community room for live podcasts.
Let’s talk about getting Howard Sherman in here for one of those podcasts. Let’s talk about a giant script give-away. Let’s talk about how we can reach out more to schools. Let’s talk about how we can better assist theatre communities outside Metro-Boston.
Rich with similar conversation, the “If I Knew Then…” event on Monday made me realize that a theatre artist not engaged in these crucial exchanges of ideas and insight, is similar to a flower that continues to live but rarely gets any sun. For us to function at our most passionate and really bloom, we need this, and thank goodness StageSource continues to give us those opportunities to be a part of the conversation. Mr. Lyman, Mr. Grant, Mr. Smith and Ms. Bassham even reaffirmed, it’s a shame actors don’t collaborate and communicate and discuss more casually, and more often, as we all did on Monday. If I hadn’t been a part of that conversation, I wouldn’t have gotten that reminder I needed to rate and value my experiences based on execution before results. I wouldn’t have been persuaded that it isn’t wrong to really pursue and trust in what I want to do with my life; what makes me feel best. And without Mr. Lyman specifically, I would have completely forgotten that the phrase “I’m booked” is a perfectly acceptable way to get out of an audition or call-back I’m sketched out by.
So StageSource members out there, and all artists in the community:
Let’s have a conversation about how fear of failure really is the biggest sin.
Let’s have a conversation about long-term measurable goals.
Let’s have a conversation about how we come across monologues and songs.
Let’s have a conversation about what the next step is for theatre.
Let’s have a conversation about what the next step is for us.
Let’s have a conversation about what you learned on the other side of that audition table.
Let’s have a conversation about how we help and learn as a members, interns, volunteers, and friends of StageSource, and what sharing your time, resources, and insights can do for yourself and the theatre community.