Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why I do it

First if you have never wandered around the ted.com, you should. My fabulous friend Bina turned me onto this website which offers a simple and brilliant resource, "riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world." If you are ever in need of some new inspiration you should check it out.
I recently came across a link to this TED talk- Simon Sinek. He goes into some fascinating details and interesting examples, but his main idea is this, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." To apply the situation directly; "I do theatre that is well researched, well acted, intelligently directed and beautifully designed" is not going to give you an audience. "We do classic plays," "We showcase new playwrights," "We do plays that focus on minority characters," all of these mission statements are focused on what your company does. What Sinek suggests is that we should instead be focusing on why. You find your audience and inspire people to believe what you believe and invest in your product because of why you do theatre, you prove your point by what you do.

I do theatre because I believe theatre can change the world. I believe that the intimacy of the theatre can provide the best outlet for exploring a local community identity and tackling immediate issues. I believe that theatre creates a venue for discussing important ideas unlike any other. Books, newspapers, blogs and even television are consumed mostly alone, even if we discuss them with friends later. The closest experience offered by another medium is going to see a movie in the the theater. The discussions that I see people having as they leave movie theaters, debating characters, talking about favorite moments, are the same discussions that I think make theatre so great. The difference is that in the theatre, the artists can be involved in the discussion. By the time I see a movie the actors and directors have all moved on to other projects. The script and the ideas presented in it are already months, if not years, old. A play might go from script to stage in 6 weeks and when I see it the artists are still actively exploring the ideas every day.

I do props because I find the details fascinating, and I think that they matter. I do props because the research involved provides me a window into constantly learning new things. I do props because it is a skill-set I have, that allows me to actively contribute to art that I believe in.

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