Contributed by Connie Hall
In June of 2011, Paul Bargetto, artistic director of the undergroundzero festival, instant messaged me on Facebook while I was at the proverbial Day Job as a grantwriter. It was a tiresome day, for a reason I cannot remember that involved a spreadsheet and a government form with its own internal maze-like logic, and I was cranky. We met after work and he asked me a set of questions that it seemed to me he had asked others before. I told him, kind of like a zombie recounting someone else’s experience, about my life as an actor in New York, how I came here to go to grad school for acting at Columbia, how I balanced finances to support my life as an artist, when and where and how I started Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant with a group of collaborators, how I structured that venture, and how I saw all of this continuing now that I had turned 40 years old. The zombie haze lifted as it became my turn to listen. Do I want to join a new cooperative of independent theaters? Do I want a slot in the annual undergroundzero festival? Do I want to find ways to share resources and invent a new system of working that involves cooperating rather than competing or working in isolation? Yup, yup, and yup. I do. Something’s not working the best way it could here, and letting it all go is not an option, not with the inspiring work I see fomenting in this struggling/thriving independent theater community I am privileged to be a part of. Sign me up.
P.S. Thank you IT Awards for reminding us of all we have to celebrate every year!
Connie Hall is the Producing Director of Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant and Executive Director of undergroundzero