Falling With Style: To Do Good Work, Surround Yourself With Inspiring People

Helen divulges one of the truths she’s learned about being your best, most creative self.

When I started writing this column, I’d been underemployed for about 6 months, trying to figure out how I wanted to manifest my creativity. Those who have read any of my articles have bared witness to the falling and/or flying I’ve done since then. Most recently, my energy has been directed towards finding a stable job in an environment that I love, working towards a vision that I can get behind.

In the 9 months that I’ve been writing this column, I’ve had a handful of jobs, ranging from mundane to engrossing, within a variety of sectors. Whether the roles satisfied me had to do with a variety of factors: salary, challenge, my feeling as though I affected the company and, through it, the world. But when it all came down to it, nothing was more important than my day-to-day interactions with my teammates.

A good teammate, and even moreso a good team leader, can inspire me to do great things in a role that I might otherwise be unsatisfied with or unsure about. There are people who are inspiring just to be around, and when you find those people — “your” people — you should pay attention to that. It’s not common.

I think there’s a similar phenomenon in the community/homegrown/indie theatre of the Bay Area. There are a few people whose light is so dazzling, and we moths flock to their flame, hoping to be inspired by it. Many of those people are wonderful directors and writers. One of those people is Stuart Bousel, who was recently honored by the SF Weekly as a “Ringmaster of Bay Area Theatre.”

When people like Stuart inspire us, they deserve recognition. Who in the Bay Area inspires you with his/her writing, direction, or other work?

Helen Laroche is a writer and artist living in San Francisco. You can learn more about her upcoming projects at www.helenlaroche.com.

2 comments on “Falling With Style: To Do Good Work, Surround Yourself With Inspiring People

  1. Director David Ford at the Marsh Theater. His style is to bring out the story and performance from the people he directs and develops solo performance with (anyone who signs up for his class, not just actors and writers). He is intelligent, insightful, sensitive, deeply emotionally savvy…and he doesn’t intrude his ego into the work. I can’t imagine how my life would be now if we hadn’t crossed paths. Far less rich and small, at the least. Not just because of the creative work I’ve been able to do with his support, but because of all the wonderful performances he’s developed and directed that I’ve gotten to see.

  2. Megan Cohen, writing–so incredibly creative, and so generous as a developer of new work! Scott Baker as a director: he’s an actor’s director. He casts well, and gives an actor room to grow, gently leading them by asking the right questions. Shaye Acevedo as an actor: incredibly authentic, profound dignity, youth and passion. He’s amazing. And Melissa Clason, so perceptive, professional, generous, warm and game! as an actor. And Carlos Barrera–one of the most intelligent, insanely funny actors I’ve met. His sense of the absurd is brilliant, and his cold readings are better than most people on 4 weeks’ rehearsal. Oh, and Claire Rice: director and writer. Great design ideas, arresting stage pictures, truly insightful direction. Leads actors to places they didn’t know were possible. As a writer: beautiful, clear work–she better be famous someday. So many more! I agree about Stuart as well, though he’s already been mentioned. He makes you want to lock yourself in a library with your favorite beverage and read yourself blind with all the background research he puts into a piece of writing (or direction for that matter). Could (& will) listen to him talk for hours–high educational and entertainment value! ok, stopping now…

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