Hi-Ho The Glamorous Life: Once More Unto the Breach

Marissa Skudlarek is very busy, but she still has time to share.

As a postscript to my last column, written as I was about to go on the Theater Pub retreat, my editor added, “Tune in next time to find out if Marissa survives the weekend!”

An easy joke to make, I suppose, when you consider that twenty of us were going to be holed up in a remote house in the Marin Headlands during drizzly weather, and that the favorite pursuits of theater people are reputed to be drama, gossip, and backstabbing. Really, though, there wasn’t even the slightest hint of violence or anger in the air. In fact, being theater people, what we really possess is an endless capacity to entertain ourselves. When the apocalypse hits, come hang out with us. We’ll be the ones seated around a campfire, sharing a bottle of strong liquor and telling off-color jokes late into the night. (That’s basically what we did in Marin, anyway.)

The official Theater Pub postmortem of the retreat is well worth your time to read: it contains our lovingly crafted new mission statement, and information on ways you can get involved in the coming year. And thanks again to the person who commented anonymously on my last column; we used your remarks as a jumping-off point for a lengthy discussion on diversity and inclusiveness at Theater Pub. Our resolve to improve in this area has found its way into our revised mission statement.

So yes, I survived the weekend. More than that, I came back inspired to make art. (I’ll be submitting a proposal for a 2013 Theater Pub project – will you?) However, I will say that I’ve had such an incredibly busy few weeks that the retreat almost feels like it happened in a different lifetime. The Olympians Festival is kicking into high gear, along with the holiday season, so I’m entering another one of those stretches where I run around town like mad. I feel more glamorous and active and alive than usual, but also more run-down and confused. Was it really only twelve days ago that I was in the Marin Headlands discussing the directions that Theater Pub should take in 2013?

I was going to write that, like a good theater person, I thrive on stress. At its best, stress can bring a kind of ruthless clarity: when you have so many demands on your time, so many things that need to get done, it’s easier to know exactly what to do when. But here I am, coming to the end of my lunch hour, tap-tapping away at my laptop, stealing WiFi from Starbucks, and I realize that I have no idea how to bring this column to a thrilling conclusion. Perhaps stress only muddies my thinking, after all.

But, in the interests of clarity, I should let you know exactly why I am so busy. I have a staged reading of my screenplay Aphrodite, or the Love Goddess coming up on December 7, as part of the Olympians Festival. It’s a sexy 1940s interpretation of the Aphrodite myth, and will be paired with Amy Clare Tasker’s existentialist take onPhoebe & Theia. Please RSVP at our Facebook event if you are interested!

Beyond plugging my show, the only thing I can think to do is borrow the words of another when my own fail me; to think of the hectic two weeks I have just experienced and the hectic two weeks that lie ahead; and thus tell myself “Once more unto the breach, Marissa, once more!”

Marissa Skudlarek is a San Francisco-based playwright and arts writer. Check her out elsewhere atmarissabidilla.blogspot.com or on Twitter @MarissaSkud – or in person on December 7 at the Exit Theater, for the staged reading of Aphrodite.

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