It has been shockingly hard for me to write this post.
For the last 5-6 weeks I have been working on a play with my group, Anthem Theatre Company. We are newly relocated to Boston from New York City, where we felt like we were one of a million small companies, fighting like dogs for a scrap of meat (i.e. audiences, reviews, funds, etc.) Our move to Boston was in line with our wish to stay in a metropolitan and arts-forward city, but with a slightly smaller market that is on the verge of a great theatrical boom. We are indeed in the midst of that Boston boom now, between the advent of Howlround and Center for the Theatre Commons, as well as the amazing curation at ArtsEmerson, the transplantable and roving work at both the Huntington and A.R.T., the Boston Center for the Arts and its resident companies, and the amazingly supportive Small Theatre Alliance of Boston and Stagesource…I honestly can’t believe we waited so long to move.
Working on a project here is not without its complications, however. Space to rehearse is expensive and difficult to find. Spaces in which to perform are highly sought after and competitive! We were fortunate to have planned a season that interested the BCA enough to be accepted into the fold, and the experience has been very positive. But I digress…
The indisputable fact is that people have to come. We can do all the great work we want, but tickets must be sold. Shameless plugging is something that we, as theatre artists, MUST get better at. That I must get better at. We can never hide. We can’t stop spreading the word. I say shameless, because we really have to willfully decide that there is no shame involved in getting people to see our work. We can’t do our work and have no one hear it. What is the point?
I have found that the old saying, “You’re always auditioning,” is a true statement for every facet of life (as an artist and a person). As icky as it has always made me feel, to plug and advertise and beg or persuade, it is a vital and necessary part of this craft to get people in the seats…there must be an audience there with whom we share our stories.
So here’s my unashamed plug: The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare, adapted for FOUR actors by Will Ditterline and Shannon Michael Wamser, is my Boston directorial debut. It is my first time directing Shakespeare, though my third time working on this adaptation. It runs until Saturday, September 28.
I am using this forum to plug because I would love to talk about the show with my new peers. BUT I really want to open up the discussion forum to talk about why it always feels so weird to do that plugging? It’s not like I’m selling shower curtain rings. I have labored and loved on a piece of art, and I want to share it with people. Where is the shame in that, and am I the only one that has this ridiculous-seeming hang-up? I would love to know.