So I’ve been sharing this interview that I did with Stuart Bousel of San Francisco Theater Pub (among other Bay Area theater companies and capacities) because something Stuart said resonated with me as I think of the Bay Area theater scene, and also other scenes and communities.
What will save theater in the Bay Area is creating a culture of abundance and opportunities for those who are invested in creating a life here.
So often we’re told and expected to believe the life that there is not enough room at the table for everyone. That only if you have a certain level of polish and experience backing you up will the scene move over a bit so you can sit there too. This is true only because we’ve created a system of scarcity. We tell ourselves that a play or an artist has to be X and if they are not that, that’s all we’ve got. Try again later. It shouldn’t be surprising then when the people you tell there is no room for make their own communities, experiment using nothing, and guess what? Make some interesting as hell art. Art that then turns heads because it creates space where there apparently was none.
I am absolutely not calling out anyone and at the same time, I’m calling out all of us. How can we get over this idea that we’re in competition with one another? I wonder if we stopped thinking in these terms, if we could start looking for creative, collaborative posdibilities instead of responding with what wouldn’t work.
I guess I am fundamentally kind of a Pollyanna about it because I see the potential, but on small (and sometimes large) levels, I’ve seen how it is possible for large institutions and known artists to work with the artists that don’t have that kind of noteriety or clout.
Stuart’s response makes me think of all the different ways we could start and further the conversation and also how we can move beyond conversations into action. And action is the part I get really excited about. Words on the page and thoughts floating in the air are so beautiful or compelling sometimes, but as a lady on action, I’m much more interested in what happens next.