Happy New Year

Life in the Theatre

It’s a new year, a new beginning, time to begin new projects and make new resolutions. I woke up today with that tight feeling in my stomach that tells me, “do something! be productive! get a move on, create something, plan a project, take control of your career! go forth and conquer! (and if you don’t do all of this RIGHT NOW, you are a total failure and may as well give up!)” You know, that feeling in your gut that is simultaneously motivating and totally paralyzing and destructive.

But I should back up.

Not surprisingly, the holidays were a busy time, and my blog writing (along with most other theatre-oriented activities) has taken a backseat recently. We enjoyed a lot of time with family, from traveling to California to see my parents for Thanksgiving, to hanging out with my husband’s family in the Chicago suburbs in December. We enjoyed a lovely break at the end of an eventful year.

I did at least get to see a few shows during that time, though. It was a pleasure to see Promethean Theatre Ensemble’s THE WINTER’S TALE, returning for an evening to my old company and spending time with friends. The show was lovely, with passionate performances and clear storytelling. A few weeks ago I saw Piccolo’s THE LOVE OF THREE ORANGES, a holiday panto that was hysterical, smart, over-the-top and fun. Then right after Christmas I saw The Hypocrites’ H.M.S. PINAFORE, which can only be described as utterly delightful. The energy, excitement, and joy that The Hypocrites bring to their shows is both infectious and inspiring.

I should also take a moment to appreciate my 2014 year in review: I directed two plays: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at Midsommer Flight, and ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD at Promethean Theatre Ensemble. On those shows, I met and worked with a slew of new wonderful people, along with a bunch of my old favorite people. We created two beautiful shows of which I am immensely proud, that represented the kind of theatre I want to make and to see. I’m thankful that they both received overwhelmingly positive responses from audiences and critics, and I’m so grateful to all of the people who went on those journeys with me and helped make those productions great.

Also in 2014, I saw at least 16 plays (that I can recall), most of which I saw in the latter half of the year when I re-committed to seeing lots of theatre. I wrote two grant applications for Midsommer Flight and received them both. I reached out to theatre friends and acquaintances, which led to the opportunity to submit directing project ideas to several companies. I was a reader for a play competition. Unrelated to theatre, I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, got out on a few date nights with the hubby (no small feat with a baby at home), and took an anniversary trip with my husband for a couple days to Michigan. Oh, and I spent my days as a stay-at-home mom, which I’m delighted to call a success, since my daughter is, you know, still alive (and so am I).

There were challenges this year too, of course: some family health issues, the constant struggle to balance mommyhood with theatre, and the inevitable self-doubt that comes with that struggle. But taken altogether, this was a pretty great year. And when I write it all down like this and actually look at what I’ve been doing, it seems easier to tell that anxious feeling in my tummy to take a hike.

So, here’s what up for 2015. I have specific plans to direct two shows this year (no spoilers…details forthcoming). I am working on plans for Midsommer Flight’s next Shakespearean adventures, including trying to build some new initiatives with the company (again, details forthcoming!), and continuing to do the administrative work to keep the company afloat. This year, I hope to do a better job of asking for help with all the Midsommer Flight stuff. Aside from these planned activities, I hope to pick up at least one small project this year like a staged reading, a short play festival, or an assistant directing gig. And I’m going to work hard to see lots of shows, read new scripts, and stay open to any other opportunities that might come up.

Take a moment to appreciate all that you accomplished in 2014, and then roll up your sleeves and get to work on whatever is next. I wish you an exciting, productive, creative, and fulfilling 2015.


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