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The Good Stuff.

July 15, 2013 / by Jamila Reddy


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At the beginning of the summer, Shana pointed out to us that when we talk about our work as directors, we often talk about what sort of plays excite us, our fears in the rehearsal room, things we know we need to work on…but we rarely put forth what we’re good at.

I’ve spent this summer discovering that I am, in fact, pretty good at a few things. [Directing included. :) ]

I’ve just ended my two-weeks as producer for the Lab Academy/Wedge, and it was one of the most gratifying roles I’ve ever had. In producing, there are super clear goals, instant rewards, and the absolute joy involved in serving a vision of a director who you admire, trust, and love.

Lian and Louisa put so much passion into their Kidstuff and Wedge shows these past two weeks, and it’s been such a pleasure to watch my fellow fellow’s work and to be able to support- and learn from/ be inspired by- their vision.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to survive as a director: once I leave this beautiful Ithaca bubble, where will I go? What will I do? We often think about survival jobs as low-wage, non-arts-industry gigs— working at a restaurant downtown somewhere just so we can afford to pay the rent.

Serving as producer and teaching my master class have allowed me to reframe my understanding of a survival job. I’m discovering skills I didn’t know I had, and am eager to see how these manifest outside of this program. I don’t want to go back to the “real world” and give up the extraordinary privilege we have here to create in abundance.

On that note, I’m realizing that it could be quite some time until I get paid (a living wage) to direct. But I still commit to this: suffering and joy are not equal parts. You don’t have to suffer through a survival job to be able to do what you love.

In the midst of everything going on in the world- most recently the outrageous verdict of the George Zimmerman trial- I feel more compelled than ever to create theatre that is urgent and loud, and that speaks to what this generation feels in moments like this. (This article in Lambda Literary is one of my favorite things ever written, and is particularly relevant: Nina Simone’s Gun by Saeed Jones)

I’m reminded that the reason why art exists because this world is so big, that we must seek to understand it through this precious form.

I can’t wait to start work on James and the Giant Peach Next week, and then my time at the Hangar will come to a close. Oh life. How time stops and how time flies.

Onward.

These are for Roger: I promise I’m not just sitting around brooding over my philosophies about art and the world. I get out! Sometimes. :)