Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An open letter to a playwright colleague in distrss


well xxx was correct.
and , of course, blind to your intent
which is the difficulty of the reading/development model
in our country

of course, what you're also seeing
is that audiences
more and more
are no longer satisfied by theatre
where the performers only speak

the desire for theatricality is high
and therefore
the desire for performers who are multi-talented

when people don't have access to this kind of talent
their imaginations become more limited
like yourself
of course
are not limited in this way
your only limitation
is your ability to get your idea attempted in full theatrical form
no small limitation
but your imagination
and your ability to put suggestions onto a piece of paper
as you have
are not limited
and indeed,
often exceed the resources and the talent
of those assembled around you.

you offer suggestions for others
of how they can exit the prison of their ignorance
but you cannot give them the key,
and like horses
who long
to be running with others
who are not limited by these fences
you see them and know it is where you should be
and look for the next sign of how to escape these fetters

before you begin to believe that you were incorrect all along and and have belonged with the
imaginatively limited
special needs artists
of our world

this is the ceiling where
our egalitarian , capitalist
comes in conflict with a less forgiving
state run system
like those in Europe
they are less generous with professional opportunities
in a way
but clearer in establishing communities of excellence

the admission into those communities
is just as limited
but one cannot recognize this

in art there is no greater hell
than to find yourself
in the same room
with the boring
i think every artists
no matter how successful
knows this hell
i think some are more limited than others
and i believe the fear of this
fires a good many artists
to reject others and to practice
a kind of elitism
that is all at once cruel
and self-serving

those in the arts unwilling
to cut so hard
are often weighed down with the burdens of associations
with the mediocre

can we practice an art that is at once loving, forgiving
the essence of true excellence and prosperity?

i think the prosperity becomes the true issue for all
because necessarily
the system rewards excellence
those that stand out from the norm
and to stand out from the norm
to be in a word
means in a way
not to associate
with the mediocre

every artist of excellence understands the dynamic above
I speak of
and every artist of excellence must somehow
keep their understanding of this to themselves,
because to share it with anyone
even as I share these thoughts with you
is to make us aware that we are only one phone call away from being put on the blacklist
of the critically inferior
the imaginary list which haunts our lives and even our inner psyches

in order to cope
some artists
create a world
in which they pass judgement on others
and in so doing , craft their own superiority
in each disapproving verdict

each decision to advise upon improvement
with a tone of serious knowledge and severity

again, artists of excellence
over time
not immediately always
begin to recognize such characters and they
normally avoid them
literally like the plague
enforcing the isolation from genius
for those absent of it

and so
we are mindful of our associations
the clarity of our intentions
the honesty of our struggle
knowing it is that honesty that might set us apart
knowing we cannot know if it will or not
knowing that the self -knowledge
that true excellence is beyond our full control
that we are only vessels through which we may allow it to pass
and that the conditions of its realization
are frequently outside the
practical control of one another
knowing we do not and cannot know
it is with this lack of presumption
we work
or try to work
and live

the misperception is that this
is the road to happiness
it never has been
but rather the road to perdition
on which we are walking
and along which we recognize one another with easy glances
hold one another's hands easily
and let go
when we see another calling pulling a fellow soul
from the path
without words and without explanation

it is lonely
as you know



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