Cowan Palace: My Return to Theatre Bay Area and Other Full House Catch Phrases

Ashley reactivates her Theatre Bay Area account and shares her experience the only way she knows how: through the brilliance of Full House.

Growing up I knew three things: 1.) I wanted to be an actor. 2.) I wanted to live in California because that’s where the cast of Full House lived. 3.) I had a pretty scary dessert obsession, especially those of the chocolate variety.

As an adult, I’ve managed to stay pretty true to those guiding forces. I mean, here I am, living in the Tanner’s backyard trying to balance my love of acting and all things sweet. Though, it’s not exactly like I had pictured and my adventures don’t always fit neatly into 22 minute episodes appropriate for families of all ages. But, again, here I am!

When I first moved here in my early twenties, looking to break into the theater scene, I immediately joined Theatre Bay Area. I combed the gigs section of Craigslist looking for auditions. And honestly, it was great. Within one day of living in San Francisco, I managed to book an audition and get the part. Which resulted in A LOT of solo bedroom performances of “I Think I’m Going to Like It Here” from Annie. I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d find myself auditioning for the San Francisco revival of Rent starring Taye Diggs.

But then I got a little lazy. I stopped actively looking for new opportunities and chose to do whatever projects my friends (or friends of my friends) offered me. Which, honestly, was also great. I’m not always the best auditioner anyway and I got to perform a lot of fun roles thanks to being seen in earlier fun roles. And so my one woman Annie tribute band continued!

Eventually, I let my TBA membership lapse. Which, after a little while, caused the inner child in me to point out, “how are you going to be a real actor if you’re not even trying? The Tanners would be so disappointed in you.” Ouch, inner child, OUCH. But that little creep was right. So a few days ago (and after reading Claire’s article) I resigned up for Theatre Bay Area. And to chronicle my experience back, I thought I’d use the help of some of the token Full House catch phrases. Because, well, duh.

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“You got it, dude!”

Yes, Michelle and/or Mary-Kate and Ashley, I do got it. I signed back up for TBA! And I got a personalized welcome response from James Nelson, which made my day. This is what I love about being an actor in San Francisco. The sense of community that I couldn’t find while living in New York. I felt optimistic that perhaps my reentry into the theater scene would be as well received.

“Oh, Mylanta!”

Interesting exclamation, DJ, eldest and perhaps wisest Tanner sister. But similar sentiment (I mean, I think? I’m not even totally sure why this one became a catchphrase). When I logged on with eager eyes to view the myriad of auditions I assumed I was missing out on, I instead saw a rather short list. Maybe it’s the time of year? Did I just miss the audition season? Or is there just less theater being done than when I joined the site years ago?

“Cut it out!”

Good point, Joey. No need to immediately panic and assume my acting days are numbered so I might as well drive your car into the kitchen! Why not read through these listings first! So I opted to do a search for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

“Have mercy!”

Tell me about it, Jesse. And I don’t even have your hair to help my cause. Okay, the first audition on the list is for Shotgun Players. Awesome! I’ve heard great things about working with them. Now, looking through their post I read, “Prep 2 contrasting pieces (musical/movement abilities may be incorporated)”. Yikes bikes. Well, I have been taking a YMCA Zumba class where I always seem to stand next to someone who smells like sweat mixed with orange juice. Should I attempt some Zumba moves with my dramatic Shakespearean monologue?

“How rude!”

No! Stephanie, I wasn’t trying to be rude. I was seriously asking. I could use some assistance getting back into the audition routine… Next, I come across Grey Gardens at Custom Made Theatre. I know before I open it that my current age isn’t really ideal for this one. Which sucks because that show is going to be something special.(Side note: amusingly enough, the last time I auditioned for one of Stuart’s shows, I had my sister cut me some bangs so that I could look younger and more like child Ashley. It shockingly did not work.)

Child Ashley is judging you… are you making the Tanner family proud?

Child Ashley is judging you… are you making the Tanner family proud?

This has been a harder reality to face these days. I’ve seemed to age out of the roles I moved here for, ones for young gals in their early twenties and yet I’m not quite ready for some of those juicy roles meant for women in their forties and fifties. Or, as I like to call that age range, the parts I played in high school and college because I was taller than everyone else.

As I continue perusing through the listings, I notice a few more musicals and many shows that are happening outside of San Francisco. Unfortunately, for the car- less /Treasure Island dwelling wonder that is me, commuting to these stages isn’t the easiest quest. I also couldn’t help but notice that if you’re a fella willing to travel and/or sing, you could probably do quite well for yourself in the Bay Area! Ah, now I am sounding rude. Sorry. I don’t mean it. I selfishly hoped that my enthusiasm to return to the theater world would be matched with abounding opportunity to bring it to life.

And I’m left with the same questions I had before. Where did the auditions go? I hear about friends going to them; are these theater companies just not posting on Theatre Bay Area? Because that feels like a shame! A missed opportunity to be a part of a proud, established community. And where are they posting instead? What will I tell Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan when they seek my career counsel for breaking into the SF biz? Help!

I’ll await your feedback! And in the meantime, I’ll keep one eye on these audition listings, one on a Full House rerun, and my mouth will undoubtedly be full of chocolate.

Claire Rice’s Enemy’s List: 4 Things Theatre Bay Area Should Do

Claire Rice has some ideas. 

This is what ideas look like.

This is what ideas look like.

Theatre Bay Area recently had two very big fundraising drives. One of those was the Blushing Orchid Ball and the other was an on-line campaign asking members to help “bridge the gap” in funding that the event (and I’m assuming other endeavors) didn’t fill. How big a gap? Quoting Brad Erickson: “Nothing life-threatening ($50,000 is about 3% of our total budget)…” I got the first “Bridge the Gap” email on June 12. One day after San Jose Repertory announced it was filing for bankruptcy. Thirteen days after Intersection for the Arts announced that it would be restructuring. As of this writing Theatre Bay Area traversed the funding gap. The sweat can be wiped from our brows and we can all go back to doing what we were doing before…raising money for everyone else.No, but seriously, I’m glad they were able to raise the money. Programing shouldn’t have to be cut because the rent was raised.

Programing should be cut because it isn’t working.

So now that Theatre Bay Area is out of the danger zone, I think it’s time we take some evaluation time.

Here are a few things that I would like Theatre Bay Area to be.

1) Be More Like Public Radio/TV
I’m talking about membership here. My membership to KQED isn’t about me; it’s about what I think is important. I believe that Public Radio needs to exist in the world. My membership to Theatre Bay Area is like that too. I am a member because I believe Theatre Bay Area serves my community in an important way. I’ve been a member of Theatre Bay Area on and off over the years, but it was only the first year of my membership where I was doing it for me. The magazine, as good as it can be, is perishable. The discounts in services are negligible to being a non-member and most events are just as open to non-members as members. Membership dues right now are 30% of Theatre Bay Area’s annual income, but I know plenty of people who aren’t members who benefit by proxy from other people being members (like the companies they work for, or they read the articles on line). They may say: “I didn’t go to the conference because I’m not a member,” or “I was a member, but I didn’t get anything out of it.” American Conservatory Theatre is a member of Theatre Bay Area, and I’m pretty sure they aren’t getting anything more out of the membership than most. Why are they members? For postcard distribution? No. It’s because they understand that Theatre Bay Area is a hub of a very large metropolitan area. It’s a hub that connects a diverse range of communities. Our thinking about cost/benefit of membership needs to change. Our relationship to the organization needs to change. When a membership payment is made the member should not be thinking: I’ve paid $75 and what have I gotten out of it? They should be thinking: I’ve paid what I could and now I can feel like I’ve contributed to the community at large.

2) Tear Down the Pay Wall
And like Public Radio/TV, Theatre Bay Area shouldn’t look as if it is providing services strictly for the benefit of the cash that comes out of those services. There is a big part of me that agrees with local theatre personality and soon to be podcast celebrity Rob Ready that too many theatre companies are operating on a crutch of fundraising. There are too many theatre companies who are more worried about their pass the hat speeches, program inserts, kickstarters, and gala events than they are about whether or not a show actually sells. But theatre companies are not services organizations. As “intrinsic” as they may be to our experience as human beings, (or insert other inane grant-speak statement) they do not provide necessary services that support communities. Not all of them, anyway. Theatre Bay Area does! CA$H Grants aren’t just money to local artists; the process of applying is practically grant writing training wheels. No other organization will hold your hand throughout the grant writing process. No other organization will call you and tell you your budget is weird looking and give you 24 hours to resubmit. No other organization will let you sit on a panel first so that you know what it is like to apply before you apply! That alone is worth the $75 membership fee. But right now, Theatre Bay Area, either because of pressure from members or funders or from their own history, has set up a system where everything it does must be able to fund itself. Thus the pay wall. Right now, as a member of Theatre Bay Area I get a magazine, access to what’s behind the pay wall on the website, and discounts on their events and services. But I argue that the news, opinions, forums and opportunities are too important to put behind a paywall. The articles are too well written, the important news and opinions of the day are too of the moment, and the voices of the leaders of our industry are too necessary to keep behind a pay wall or oppressed by a press date. HowlRound, 2AMt, BitterLemons and various blogs are filling the internet for free with up to the moment opinions, incisive critical reactions, brave foretellings, and just plain old news. I argue that the pay wall is hurting Theatre Bay Area more than it could ever help it. It makes it feel like a for profit venture when in every other way it’s main and best purpose is to be for the benefit of it’s members.

3) A Yearly Omnibus Publication
I know, this sounds crazy! And, in a way, it is. But it needs to be full of nonperishable items like plays, dramaturgical analysis, and a place where writers can be published. The magazine is beautiful and it is the biggest reason to become a member. This month’s magazine included IDEATION by Aaron Loeb, and that is wonderful. But if the pay wall comes down and we can get something that looks closer to The Bold Italic or HowlRound with daily stories, editor’s picks, updates and news bits, then we don’t need a publication with those things. One yearly Omnibus publication can have: a “best of” section for articles that mattered throughout the year, the Glickman winner, Theatre Bay Area’s annual report (LINK: http://www.theatrebayarea.org/?page=2013AnnualReport), a report on the whole Bay Area Theatre scene, and a listing of award winners and where they are now! It can have reports from important unions, big funding organizations, government agencies and more. It can be so much. And it can be available electronically for my Kindle.

4) Really, Stop Being Sad that San Francisco Isn’t a Theatre Going Town
San Francisco is going through an arts revolution right now and theatre isn’t being left out of it. Really, it’s not. We are just so caught up with being “relevant” and “important” that we are overlooking the fact that we are part of a larger tapestry of incredible things going on right now. Yeah, times are hard and Netflix is better than going outside. Fact. It’s just a fact. I can’t and won’t argue it. Please, can we stop talking about it? At the very least can we find another way to frame the thought: “San Francisco isn’t seeing us. How do we make our presence known?” One day there is going to be a San Francisco Chronicle story with a headline that says: “Who knew we had so much amazing theatre?” And we’ll all stomp our feet and get red in the face and say: “We were always here!” I just need a new argument here. I need more than cheer leading and intrinsic impacting. I hope the awards will help, but I sincerely doubt they will do more than boost both internal moral and internal strife (yes, at the same time!). I don’t want to waste time telling people that I’m important. It’s time we figure out how to let them know we EXIST!

Claire Rice’s Enemy’s List: Reviewers Suck

Claire Rice bravely talks about one of the Bay Area theater scene’s biggest elephants in the room.

“Critics sometimes appear to be addressing themselves to works other than those I remember writing.” – Joyce Carol Oates

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I’ve written on this blog multiple times that honesty about our opinions on the art around us shouldn’t be condemned, but is itself a necessary element of the act of creation. We do not create in or for a void. I myself go on and on about my wishes, my favorite things and my awkward (and possibly hypocritical) feelings about pretentious theatre. While I believe what I say has merit, it also is done on an utterly volunteer basis. My opinions matter to me, but they will not be part of the historical record of events. Whatever my impact has been as a writer for this blog (whether it has induced eye rolling or link clicking or whatever) I have my doubts about any sort of prolonged impact. Despite the fact that it’s called “Enemy’s List”, it is more or less a victimless blog.

This is not true of reviewers. These are the men and women we reserve seats for, hand press packets to, and have debates back stage about how to interpret their laughter or their sighs. Their opinions do matter. When a person is paid for their review it has a legitimizing effect on both the writer and the show. It means that the opinion was worth paying for and the show was worthy of the time it took to see it and write about it. This is, of course, an over simplification; but then to your average civilian who is looking for either a) something to read about while on the train or b) something to do on a Friday night none of this background matters. They only have what is right in front of them in black and white. This person’s opinion is worthy of print and this show is worthy of being reviewed.

In my day job I’m asked to research news items from “legitimate sources” for evidence in cases to be presented to our government. The government still operates on the premise that if it is in print it is “legitimate”, which is why when you create a business and you have to post your business name it must be in a printed newspaper. These sorts of things may be the only thing keeping the printed word a float: people paying to legitimize themselves. It certainly isn’t the news or people’s opinions of art. So print news sources have had to cut back to the minimum.

Which means critics and reviewers are a dying breed.

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Reviewing used to be one of the avenues for writers to earn an income while writing books, or poetry, or plays or something. Now that there is so much free space on the internet, the phrase “everyone is a critic” is literal. Social networking is dependent on opinionated people dispensing of their opinions for free. Or, a person can start up a blog, sell ads for revenue, and start saying whatever they want about anything. Aggregates like Huffington Post aren’t necessarily curators of these blogs when they re-post them. Sometimes they are, sometimes the relationship is based on algorithms.

Is a person now legitimate because of their click rate? The title of this post is “Reviewers Suck”. This is a little bit of the old bait and switch. I don’t think reviewers suck. But if a lot of people read this, does it mean it is legitimate? Am I the one who decides something like that? Is it you, the reader? Is it a reviewer of blogs? If this blog gets an award does it mean it should be taken more or less seriously?

I would like to reiterate that I don’t think reviewers suck. I do think the relationship between the reviewers and the reviewed is always fraught with emotion.

I didn’t invent being butt-hurt due to an unfavorable review.

“Asking a working writer what he things about critics is like asking a lamp-post what it feels about dogs.” – John Osborne

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What I do wonder is, who are the reviewers I should be listening to? Who are the reviewers that anyone should be listening to?

And when is it ok for me to be critical of them?

Taylor Mac commented on fellow Theater Pub blogger’s Facebook page to call her out for her opinions on his show “Hir”. You can read her post here. Unfortunately, the conversation happened on her page on Facebook, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to link to it. Marissa’s opinion of “Hir” did not illicit a loving and positive response from Taylor Mac and he felt the need to reach out and tell her so. Is it because she isn’t a published reviewer, but her thoughts are published on her personal blog, so he felt she was approachable? Is it because she is a big fan of his and he felt he could change her mind? Is it because he’d gotten several favorable reviews and this one was the one contrary one? Did he get too many unfavorable ones and this one was the straw that broke his back?

Whatever the reason, we’ve all wanted to do it.

I do sympathize with him. We’ve all wanted to publicly lambast our detractors. We’ve all wanted to pull apart their critiques piece by piece and present evidence that refutes their beliefs. We’ve all wanted to cross our arms and stop our feet and say “But we sold out! I’ve had many people say they loved it! You are just too (old, white, stupid, irrelevant, apathetic, jaded, sheltered, biased) to get it!”

“Reviewers , with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

A reader can develop a relationship with a critic over time and come to trust their taste and their expertise. A reader can also come to trust that they will disagree with whatever a critic may say. I really only read theatre reviews after I’ve seen a play. In which case, I am either looking for someone to agree with me (because I like that) or someone to vocally disagree with (because I like that too.)

But, in this atmosphere of fly by night bloggers, Gold Star reviewers, social media status updates, aggregators, and dying print media; how do we develop relationships with reviewers? And I do mean develop. The people coming out of college and starting up little theatre companies, who do they email to invite to shows? Who’s opinions to do they take seriously and who’s do they silently tolerate? Who is legitimate?

In the heat of the moment, after reading five hundred or so words on something I’ve worked the better part of a year on, I am willing to dismiss the whole lot. But I know this isn’t fair or correct.

But, here are the things I want for our reviewers and critics in the Bay Area:

I want more of them.

I want them to be younger and hungrier.

I want them to be well informed culture omnivores.

I want them to have cult like followings.

I want them to be better writers then I am.

I want them to be openly critical of each other.

I want them to be openly critical of and write often about the whole Bay Area scene.

I want them to work the whole Bay Area.

I want them to have a sense of history in their reviews.

I want them to be rewarded and awarded for their efforts.

I’m not looking for a reviewer or critic who will be “on my side”. I’m not hoping that with a critical mass of writers there will be one out there who “gets my work”.

“Loyalty in a critic is corruption.” – George Bernard Shaw

“You need a high degree of corruption or a very big heart to love absolutely everything.”
– Gustave Flaubert

But I will say that there are some reviewers and critics who I don’t take seriously, whether it is mine or someone else’s work they are commenting on. I will also say I don’t feel like there is a guiding star to tell me who I should take seriously and who I shouldn’t. I can’t be the only one who feels this way. And since reviewing our reviewers is the only real taboo in theatre, I’ll leave you with that.

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Claire Rice’s Enemy’s List: And Now a Note without a Suicide

Claire Rice on the Year of the Rat.

Madam life’s a piece in bloom
Death goes dogging everywhere:
She’s the tenant of the room,
He’s the ruffian on the stair.

– William Ernest Henley

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I’ve spent the last year of my life contemplating incomplete suicides and other deaths. I’ve killed a great number of people on stage in a variety of ways. Sometimes I’ve written their deaths and sometimes I’ve directed them. Once or twice I’ve acted them. It often surprises me how flippant in the moment I can be about death, but after all the actor will get up and walk off stage in the dark only moments later. Crudely, it is often just one tool in the great storytelling tool box. Character B must die to show that Character A has lost all humanity. Meanwhile, Director A and Playwright B have spent hours going back and forth on the best method to bring about Character B’s demise. Should we slit the throat? Hang from rafter? Drown in a well? Poison? How fun it is to play at such violent fictions.

But this year has been the year of the Rat. Kristin Hersh’s Rat Girl, that is. In particular, I’ve spent the last year contemplating the climax of act one where she attempts to end her own life. I spent hours contemplating her method of death. Her door out. In the end I choose a violent and painful end. She picks up a discarded and used box cutter from the clutter that surrounds her. The tool yields itself up out of her world as if she’s bidden it to come. The box cutters appear during a discussion of the death of god, perception and responsibility, art and creation.

But it isn’t easy. The idea is there. The tool is there. The will is there. The need is there. Everything except the action.

In literal time it takes about ten minutes to get there.

In stage action time it takes two full songs and a monologue to get there.

In play time it takes a sleepless night, the purgatory of a hallucination, the stalemate between the fractured self and the sane self, and a calm acceptance of deeper desires.

And then she is reborn. At the top of act II she’s faced her own death at her own hands and now has to move forward and deal with consequences of that battle: the pain on the faces of her loved ones who feel betrayed and scared, the condescension of professionals who’ve seen it all before and the dismissal of those who expect nothing less of an artist. She’s died, but she hasn’t yet decided to live. As the evidence of the value and worth of her life piles up around her, she still cannot be sure. How can she be? How can we demand of her to hurry up and start living when she knows just how close death is and how easily it can be willed closer? At any moment the door out can be manifested before us and we can choose to walk through it or stand before it still.

When she finally chooses life she does so with her own voice.

How long does it take for her to find that voice?

In literal time it takes two hours and thirty minutes including a fifteen minute intermission.

In stage action time it takes about 38 short scenes split between two acts, several songs, a few monologues and two car scenes.

In play time it takes a crisis of identity, a swim in the ocean, a loss of a friend, a terrible accident, multiple discussions about art, the value of art (and thus the value of the self), a lonely suicide, a fractured survival, a move, a pregnancy, a validation, disillusionment, an escape and a return (all in all about a year and change).

Maybe in future productions it won’t take that much literal time, or that many songs or that many car scenes. Maybe in future productions it will take longer. But it will never be easy and it will never be separated from the discussion of art. How could it be? How could the life of an artist, who lives to created, not be filled with discussions on the value of that creation? The perceived value of that creation? The act of creation? Its place in the world? Its place among other art? The difference between art and product?

Of all the deaths on stage, it is this near death that has been the most difficult for me and the most rewarding to contemplate and put out into the world. It isn’t mine. It’s so many other people’s before it is mine, but it is so close to me.

I refuse to allow this death to be easy, or the life that follows it. I refuse to make it simple or direct, because it isn’t.

I’ve taken death on stage for granted, but I refuse to take the choice to live on stage for granted any more. And I’m not going to let you take it for granted either.

Claire Rice’s Enemy’s List: Gone Fishing

Claire Rice’s Enemy’s List will return in two weeks.

In the mean time, go see Kristin Hersh’s RAT GIRL adapted for the stage by Stuart Bousel at DIVAfest. Get your tickets at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/577015

You can support current and future DIVAfest projects here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/divafest-2014

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Claire Rice’s Enemy’s List: Revolutions Don’t Start in Gilded Halls

Claire Rice can hear the people sing.

El Teatro de la Esperansa occupied a small corner of the Red Stone Building on 16th Street between South Van Ness and Mission. The Redstone is full of non-profit organizations that fall around every end of the spectrum; from social change organizations to arts organizations to support groups to animal welfare. There is also a wonderful empanada place on the ground level. The Red Stone also housed Theatre Rhinoceros and Luna Sea Theatre, both of which lay follow now.

I spent more than six years working in El Teatro de la Esperansa.

It was moldy. It was too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. It’s walls were too thin, the music from the art gallery below was too loud, and it’s equipment was old and grumpy. The booth was like a tree house that had to be climbed into through a small hole. Everything smelled weird. The risers were so worn they groaned in pain. There were never enough lights. The speakers were blown. The doorways were too short for tall people and too narrow for wheel chairs. The building owner’s son would throw illegal midnight raves in the space next door. Squatters complained that the rehearsals were too loud. The landlord was never available. And the bathrooms were definitely haunted.

I had some of the best times of my life in that building.

The little black box got its name from the company that built it. El Teatro de la Esperansa was founded in part by Roderigo Duarte Clark in LA and then moved up to San Francisco. Roderigo was a leader in Chicano theatre. El Teatro de la Esperansa produced bilingual touring shows and fostered playwrights like Josefina Lopez, Roy Conboy and Guillermo Reyes. You can read more about Roderigo here: http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977239022 and here: http://articles.latimes.com/1993-10-12/entertainment/ca-45067_1_el-teatro-campesino

Roy Conboy, a faculty member in the SF State Creative Writing Program, brought Greenhouse to that little theatre in the Mission. Greenhouse gives graduate students at SF State an opportunity to work with professional directors and actors to present new plays in reading. It was through this program I saw the first readings of plays by Karen Macklin, Chris Chen, Elizabeth Gjelten, Peter Sinn Natchtrieb, and Elizabeth Creely (among many others). I worked with Roy Conboy to produce several of his plays there. After I graduated, Gabrielle Gomez and I rented the theatre and produced three plays (by Gabrielle Gomez, Megan O’Patry and myself) as well as a reading series. I saw plays evolve there and find their feet. I saw writers fail, struggle and get back up and work again. I saw writers find their voices.

It’s in places like this where it all begins. Ugly, dangerous places. These dark corners of the world are romantic in the rear view, even if they feel frustratingly small and ignored at the time. But there is so much freedom in places where the rent is cheap and no one is really watching what you are doing. In these dark corners you are beholden to no one but yourself. Any audience you get is a gift, because they had to work so hard to get to your out of the way and mean little home. You do things that are crazy because there isn’t anyone to tell you that you can’t or you shouldn’t. And it doesn’t always work. So often it fails. And it fails like a supernova because you learn by doing. Slowly. Painfully. Beautifully.

These dark corners of the world incubate.

And it is so wonderful.

Go out and adopt a theatre like this. Every company in that theatre will have a weird name. They’ll fuck and fight and die out. They’ll sing and celebrate and move out. They’ll laugh and cringe and dance out. They’ll grind and shake and rock out. They’ll come and go as they age and change and improve.

Go out and adopt a theatre like this. A small, poorly funded, off the beaten track theatre. Places where you can be the first to see something. That “something” is the next thing. The thing that will in ten, twenty or thirty years be at Berkeley Rep, Steppenwolf, or The Public. The thing that will change the world. I don’t know what it will be. It’s an adventure. It’s a failure. It’s a triumph. It is mediocre. It is sloppy. It is lazy. It is powerful. It is life affirming. It is a good night out. It is a bad date night. It is unsterilized, it still has all its sexual organs, it might have a splash zone, it will be full of naked men and it will monologue too much. It will have an out of tune piano that will play the most beautiful song you’ll never hear again. It will have a puppet that offends you so much you tell your grandchildren about it. It will have Shakespeare, Shaw, Shepard and every other “S” playwright. It will have no name, no name, no name and you’ll still love it. You’ll be the only person in the house and you’ll be standing in the back for three hours and loving it. You’ll be afraid to use the bathroom and you’re bike will get stolen. You’ll fall in love with the lead actress and you’ll party with the stage manager. You’ll grin like a mad man and cry like a motherless child. It’ll be your classroom and your torture chamber. It is a story you’ll tell your friends. It’s the thing you always wanted to do and now you’re doing it. You found it. It’s yours. It’s your special place.

Go out and adopt a theatre like this.

Mojo Theatre currently resides in this space. You can check them out on their website at http://www.mojotheatre.com/.

If you know a theatre like this, where ever it may be, please let us all know in the comments below.

Claire’s Enemy’s List: I Have No Fucking Clue What I’m Doing

Claire Rice, ensuring I have to spend at least an hour downloading, uploading, and formatting all her photos.

My camera broke.

I think it’s an easy fix and I’m going to look into getting it repaired. It probably broke from a combination of neglect, abuse and age: but I can’t say for sure. When it comes to that thing, I have no fucking clue what I’m doing.

I just sort of aim, fire and hope.

I know fuck all about that particular piece of equipment. I love it. I love taking pictures and I feel like I’ve gotten lucky and I’ve taken some really good ones. But, unlike my life in theatre where I know why a thing is good, I can’t write an essay on photography. I can’t tell you why one photo is better than another. It just feels right. Oh, I could bullshit about it for a long time if you want to. I can use the knowledge I have of theatrical framing and…blah blah blah… I know a thing or two about a thing or two. I’m not going to bullshit further or wax poetic or pretend I know anything about what I’m doing. But I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t mind. Getting lucky is fun. It isn’t artful and there’s no craft in it.

But, because my camera broke and I’m feeling nostalgic about it, I want to show off some of my favorite photos.

Don’t worry. I have a super angry post that feels very Enemy’s List cooking in the background here.

Troy: The Gates of Hell – Rehearsal Shot, SF State Rosie Josue, Aaron Teixeira, Vanessa Cota, Gregg Hood, Cecilia Palmtag, Teri Whipple, Megan Watson

Troy: The Gates of Hell – Rehearsal Shot, SF State
Rosie Josue, Aaron Teixeira, Vanessa Cota, Gregg Hood, Cecilia Palmtag, Teri Whipple, Megan Watson

City of Angels – Press Shot, SF State Sheena McIntyre (Clyde Sheets did all the lighting and set up for this)

City of Angels – Press Shot, SF State
Sheena McIntyre (Clyde Sheets did all the lighting and set up for this)

Don Juan – Production Shot, SF State  Elaine Gavin

Don Juan – Production Shot, SF State
Elaine Gavin

Killing My Lobster Reboots – Production Shot, Killing My Lobster Allison Page

Killing My Lobster Reboots – Production Shot, Killing My Lobster
Allison Page

Into the Clear Blue Sky – Production Shot, Sleepwalkers Theatre

Into the Clear Blue Sky – Production Shot, Sleepwalkers Theatre

Twelfth Night – Press Shot, AtmosTheatre Ashley Cowan, Nicholas Trengrove

Twelfth Night – Press Shot, AtmosTheatre
Ashley Cowan, Nicholas Trengrove

Ryan Marchand – For Fun

Ryan Marchand – For Fun

You’re Going To Bleed – Production Shot, DIVAfest Sam Bertken, Paul Jennings

You’re Going To Bleed – Production Shot, DIVAfest
Sam Bertken, Paul Jennings

Extra Shot – Taken during a photoshoot where we used a smoke machine

Extra Shot – Taken during a photoshoot where we used a smoke machine

Better Homes and Amo – Production Shot, No Nude Men James Tinsley, Warden Lawlor, Molly Benson, Cassie Powell

Better Homes and Amo – Production Shot, No Nude Men
James Tinsley, Warden Lawlor, Molly Benson, Cassie Powell

Love in the Time of Zombies – Press Shot, San Francisco Theatre Pub Neil Higgins

Love in the Time of Zombies – Press Shot, San Francisco Theatre Pub
Neil Higgins