Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I don't envy the heads of theatre companies. We've all heard the time honored saying that no one gets into the business for the money, and if they do, they've chosen the wrong profession. Some people strike gold (or oil, as it were,) but most are in it for the love and fun of the process, making art, being artists, creating and, at the end of the day, a little acknowledgement. We love putting on shows.

But somehow, when you're at the top of pyramid, all these other things sneak in. I see the heads of our theatre not only directing, acting, producing and promoting the shows, but looking through boxes of merchandise, appearing at PR events and checking boxes of postcards, napkins for concessions and worrying over what kind of treats we can serve at rehearsals.

Greg, one of my mentors and bosses, is not only the Artistic Director of the Montana Rep, but directs one of the touring shows now and then and serves as the head of the acting/directing department at U of M. Last year as we were in the throes of putting together Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, we were on a brief break and a young man who was putting together the Benefit Party came into Greg's office in a worry over finding coat racks for the party.
There is a larger lesson to be learned about the chain of command and delegation here, but the bottom line being: Greg didn't get a break. In the midst of directing our great American Drama, he was answering emails about phone interviews, photos, bookings, artistic statements, issues with the following semester - and coat racks.
He came back to rehearsal bemused, and told the story. Coat racks..?

I suppose it's a lesson to be learned for all of the midst of creating art, drama, comedy, having big visions and dreams and big, big fun, there are minutiae to be considered. The kind of things that nobody notices unless they aren't done.

I hope the artistic heads of our army of art will be able to reach a point when they don't have to worry about the extras and can focus on the art - but then again, as it all ties together, I suppose the little things can have an impact that pushes a company up from 'neat' to 'Great.' Still, all those extras shouldn't be what keep them awake at night, should it?

Coat racks.

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