Monday, December 23, 2019

Learning, Growing, (not showing).

Hello friends,

I have been remiss in blogging here of late, but as my interview with Artist Soapbox was recently featured on their blog in an end-of-the-year post, I thought I ought to put an update here in case we had a few new visitors.

As you may or may not have noticed, the first weekend in January is rapidly approaching and ... we're not promoting our show. Yes, South Stream will not be producing a January show this year. And the reason is mostly me.

This story goes back to February of 2019. We had just finished This Doesn't End Well. It was artistically successful, but to be honest, I was feeling a bit drained. Writing, producing, and directing takes a lot out of you. It puts a lot on the line too. And while I am absolutely proud of the show and pleased we put it on, it wasn't perhaps quite as successful as I imagined it might be.

While in that state of mind, I saw that my friend Lucinda had helped arrange a workshop for the the last weekend of March presented by Shakespeare & Company. I was a bit skeptical. The price point was not out of my reach, but high for an acting community with very little in the way of paid work. I was also was unsure if the instruction would be at an appropriate level. I have taken many classes. Some have been well worth it, but some have perhaps not been quite at the right level to provide a quality experience. But Shakespeare & Company had a good reputation, and I was creatively in a place where I needed to participate and learn rather than lead. So I said "what the heck" and signed up.

And I am very, VERY glad I did. I thought the workshop was frankly excellent. The instructor was an inspirational artist and really a gifted teacher. He was an example of how to be open and honest and caring in the process of making art. And the work that we did, I mean, I was really pleased with what we learned, and how the monologue I had grew and changed, but zing-pow at least half the pleasure was getting to witness with others as you saw them really experience growth in their art and life. Just ... well I thought it was great.

Afterwards, I did some things that tried to carry forward the work we did there and reinforce it. Lucinda was kind enough to work with me and another participant to facilitate some exploration of Linklater. But Shakespeare & Co also offers a month long winter intensive. And I decided that if I could make the money work, I would take the time and do it. I love leading this little company. I love the challenge of taking a script and just saying, hey, we can do this, and then doing it. As an artist it's incredibly fulfilling. It really forces you to grow in important ways as an artist. But it also prevents another kind of growth. It keeps you from really questioning your process, of doing an examination of your technique, and it keeps you too busy to really do structured learning of any kind.

SO, this coming January, from December 29-January 24th, I will be doing exclusively that at Shakespeare & Company's main campus in Lenox Massachusetts. They are promising to keep me very VERY busy - the schedule promises 10-12 hours of instruction six days a week. I'm excited and nervous. I'll try to keep folks updated, but given the schedule, once per week is likely the best I'll be able to manage.

Until then have a Merry Christmas (or winter holiday of your choice) and a happy New Year.

-Brook

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