Dedication and commitment are components of wonderful and deep relationships. They make the connections visceral, where there is more to eye contact than respectability and politeness. There is an exchange, a warmth, a sensory expansion. This may seem to be a very hippy dippy sentiment and I make no qualms about it not being from a world of peace and love. It totally is. But for myself, such pieces are essential in how I do theatre and who I choose to work with to do it with me. Making small theatre and, in fact, making most art is abstract. Abstract in the sense that it does not fall into the realm of a series of quantifiable factors or a procedure on how and why to do it. There is no clear cause and effect. There is no scientifically discernible point. It does not uphold that specific concept that monetary value determines success. And I must come clean, that this is all from my own perspective. I sometimes forget to use the “I” pronoun. But is me doing me. Others do it for other reasons.
For myself, dedication and commitment within small theatre are intrinsic. They are tied to emotion, personal values and putting one’s passion in the foreground of their life. The show I wrote and am producing with Spec Theatre, Hipstory, is not a product, but a collaborative process that relies on such things. Small theatre does not work without dreamers and visionaries, abstractionists and wonderers; Hipstory is diving into a cold river and learning to swim. It’s neologisms and registers. It’s higgily piggily. It’s answering a “why” with a “why not?”, “what is there to loose?”, “to see where this can take us”.
The team I am working, I believe, with must be firm believers in this. Let me be blunt. All I have is honorariums based on ticket sales. I am using student loans to fund this project. I cannot afford union rates. The offer is a chance to experiment, to explore, to make mistakes, to try, to laugh your ass off, to scream, to delve, to gesticulate, to immerse. To be given a space to do so in and feel safe that the table is open for all to present whatever they wish. I am the writer, but not the writer of this play. Well, the promotional material has my name on it as the writer, but this play is not just my words. They are a discussion with others, they are cuts, because the director, an actor, questioned a motivation, they are scene headings, as to not befuddle a stage manager. Small theatre is not stagnation. It is giving in. To not always being right. For not having the loudest voice. For actively listening to a peer. For considering and for validating. Small theatre is dedication and commitment to having fun, to an influx of ideas, to freedom, to renewing stalemates, to taking dance breaks to just shake what yo’ mama gave you for a moment.
Routine is the enemy of time. I am not a 9 to 5 person. I do not knock it. It’s just not for me. Small Theatre is not 9 to 5. It’s late nights. It’s screeching to a halt in the middle of a bike ride to jot an idea down. It’s being reprimanded for spending too much time on a hobby. It’s defending that it as NOT a hobby. It’s NOT a hobby. Small theatre is dedicating and committing to inquiry, to being bold, to sometimes feeling like the underdog.
Thank you to the lovely people for making small theatre. For making small BIG theatre. Small theatre is BIG. It’s around the clock. It smashes the clock and notes that time is a human manifestation. It gives Big theatre a run for it’s money (literally, competing for ticket sales), because sometimes big theatre can be a spectacle. Small theatre sheds the spectacle for something up-close and intimate. In a city where we have so much distance and artificial and real barriers that separate us from other breathing, thinking folk, small theatre can be a dialogue to speak with you, compel you, share with you something. Small theatre is a conversation about commitment and dedication. It’s presenting a living example of it, that isn’t done, that is morphing and grooving. Small theatre is exhausting, it’s draining, it’s no weekends, it’s practicing a pratfall until you feel it’s worth it, until it makes sense.
I am so thankful to small theatre. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you to those who are involved in it with me, from before and in this new play. I am so amazed at the level at which people will be there, right there with you and feel the same ownership you do for something you love so much. I work, I laugh, I play with such lovely people. Small theatre is beautiful, magical notes, catchy beats, unique, flowing, staccato. No experience necessary. Don’t send in your resume. Just move, just ponder, just dance, dance, dance!
Hipstory: I’d Tell You About It, But You’ve Probably Never Heard Of It
August 10th to the 20th (Wednesdays – Saturdays) @ 7:30pm
Studio 504 – 504 – 2050 Scotia Street
Tickets: $20 adults // $18 students
Tickets @ hipstory.brownpapertickets.com
Support Small Theatre! Support local art! Smile, laugh, happy, happy, joy, joy!!