Friday, March 25, 2011

On losing the will

Looking at the audience development through social media chat that happened last week over twitter, I felt sad. Sad because this used to be so important to me yet right now the passion for it is gone. As is my desire to direct. And for one big umbrella itself. Which is why you haven't heard from me in a while.

I think there's a few factors for that. The election of Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto signalled a new era of divisive me-first politics, where the only priority seems to be tax cuts and bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator when it comes to wages. Almost three years later we still don't have a national program that helps companies tour their work abroad. I want to see change but feel less hopeful about it than ever.

As far as obu goes, thanks to the effort of others (especially Tina Rassmussen) I've seen my dream of more exchange between Canada, Australia and New Zealand become a reality. And after being told by the Toronto Arts Council on the appeal of our last grant application that our work was not a priority for them, I've lost the will to press on.

I've reached that point in my life where I'm tired of scraping by. I want to move out into a space of my own. I want to eat in nice restaurants and see the plays I want to see, regardless of price. I want to travel the world, meeting people and seeing art. See lots of concerts. All of which I can't do with what I'm doing now. I've been spending the last 9 months trying to figure out a way to do this, to get up each morning excited about what I'm going to be doing that day and make enough money to do the things I talked about above. I still don't have an answer.

As for directing, I've loved assisting on Sondheim in September and Joe White and the Seven Divorcees (which needs a website update). I loved the one-on-one development work I've done with storyteller Jean Bubba and comedian Rusa Jeremic. But I can't bring myself to do the hard prep work. I skimped on Kingship and it cost me. It seems to me that I find success when I support someone else's vision rather than try to articulate my own when it comes to theatre. Right now I can't conceive of directing a script. I've also loved being an assistant producer but don't want the pressure of being the lead.

So where does this leave me? Leaving the industry? I've wondered about that. However, this community is home, where I feel I belong. I don't want to abandon it. I do believe that I have things to offer, mostly through the conversations and information sharing I do over twitter. I am tired of where I am though.

They tell you to look at what you love to do to find your purpose. I love networking, even though I'm very inconsistent with followup. I love to travel. Yet when the AD job at Magnetic North came up, I didn't bother applying because I knew I wouldn't even be looked at. I never went to theatre school, I don't have a curating background, I've never run an arts organization. When Stratford was looking for a social media person, I didn't even get an interview. It seems my strengths can't be documented in a way that would lead to a job.

I'm discovering that's why I don't have the passion anymore. I've given up. I'm tired of hitting walls. I know all the motivational stuff about not giving up, that success may be that very next step but I'm so weary. I really don't know what to do now. Can anyone help?

3 comments:

thomas-morison said...

The funding system for the arts in Canada works to favour a few individuals and organizations who become established inside the funding institutions. So it revolves around a small number of individuals who are very careful to protect their interests. As for the work and how it is done, what might measure interest or success, that's not at important really. It truly is a hopeless business to be involved in producing theatre in Canada. For small companies who try to get by on Project grants it cannot end well. The most heroic of martyrs will end up on a pyre after a few productions.
There are solutions for a number of problems, but there is no interest in making changes.

MK Piatkowski said...

Thomas, would you be interested in writing about the possible changes? It does seem like there's no will for change here in Canada but there are other places that I know would be interested. I am too.

IAENSTERÄ said...

As much as I hate to hear about the downfall of the Canadian theatre budgets, I cannot begin to tell you about the atrocities the arts (and education, healthcare, jobs, etc) have suffered in Texas under the "leadership" of Rick Perry. First, we somehow managed to eke by with George W. Bush's reign, but now budgets are deplorable, and many more are out of work. If you find some suggestions on what to do to get by, I'm sure many of us would love to hear your thoughts/suggestions.... (As a production designer, I've been lucky to branch out into film, illustration work and interior design, but not all can do the same. And let's face it, without directors and actors, my job is non-existent)
Looking forward to hearing some ideas :)

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