Thursday, January 20, 2011

Has my 'get up and go' taken a vacation?


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Stephanie Barton-Farcas.

Man, how do we do it? How do we keep going in this economic wasteland? How do new companies form every year and folks keep slogging it out season after season? And they make it work!? How do I stay inspired? In our 11th season? I have been asking myself this lately and trying to figure out how and why I keep coming back to running a company after 10 years. Cause, boy it can get tiring. And sometimes it makes me nuts, frankly.
After the 4th rental cancellation, the 9th refusal of play production rights, the hissy fit an actor throws, the 'validate me' from an auditioner who hasn't learned to validate themselves.......... and still you have a whole new season, new sets, new actors, new challenges. Plus your own life. How to keep pace and not tear your hair out? What seems to work for me is either a play which gets me going (the world premiere this summer of a great funny, scary zombie play) or looking at new actors in new roles (just thinking about seeing a bunch of 9 year olds for the spring show Bad Seed is pretty cool).  A new grant, cleaning our space with the company and eating pizza. Sometime I think artists have a great gift in that we can be happy with our community, just taking off makeup and putting props away. Just cleaning and eating pizza.
Ultimately though I think maybe it is something which nobody can give you. Its inside you. Its the art in you - not you and what you do in the art (playing a great role, or directing a great show is great but that is what you do in the art - not the art which burns inside you). Self-inspiration is the key, I think.  It makes you say 'yea I can' when you start out with a new company and it is that little voice which you find 10 years later still there saying 'yea, you can - all of you can'. Sometimes I worry that the voice will die out, what with being a mother, a wife, life moves on, you know? But thank god for our muses, thank god when that voice seems to perk up in me. I took a hiatus from the theater a great many years ago- took off for 8 years and traveled the world, lived in other countries and did a lot of great things - none of which I regret.  But returning to the states - oop, there was that voice- welcome home! Hey, lets make art!
You have to feed that little person in your heart who speaks to you. Feed that voice with art, books, plays, movies, dance, music, food, sleep and love. Have a life of your own outside the art so you can feed your soul in the art. Treat yourself kindly and as much as you can treat others the same (there are always those who make you nuts, hey sainthood is not something I am up for, I know that...) but FEED YOURSELF. Take care of yourself and the little artist inside you, love them, so when the time comes to make art, you are bursting at the seams with things you MUST let everyone see.
So, in a way that is pretty 'touchy feely' stuff, BUT when I see someone burn out, that's why. Nothing 'gets' them anymore, nothing inspires them. As for artists, its our job to stay inspired. We have no choice in it. We need to do it in order to do our work well. Some folks work out at a gym. We get inspired. Our 'get up and go' gets off its butt and then we pass it on. Isn't that what art is? Passing on of inspiration and passion? Hmm, I guess so- maybe that little voice is onto something..........

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