I am interested in the art of collaboration. Which is absolutely an art. Here is a random quote I saw that is not credited to anyone but inspired the musing I am having today. "Collaboration is not about glueing together existing egos. It's about the ideas that never existed until after everyone entered the room." I suppose that is one of the beautiful things about the theater. It is always exciting to be in a room with other creative folk who are all interested in finding out together how they will tell a story. If one person is replaced the story will suddenly be told differently. Exciting!! I know with a certainty that everyone on the planet wins when they are seeking out collaboration. When we look for solutions in the spirit of collaboration we will find them. So why is arts education hacked away at in most schools, when the theater is the one place where the act of collaboration is the central event and a life skill we all need? I pose that it is because unless you have experienced it, you cannot know the joy that comes with good collaboration. When I was in high school and had become bitten hard by the theater bug, my father was confused. He is a sports guy and didn't understand what had such a hold on me. But my father is a rather special dude so he decided to audition for a community theater play that my little sister and I were doing. And the amazing thing was that by the time we finished he got it. He loved building the set, and playing his little part, and meeting all these people from different walks. He got it. When he came to NY to visit after I had first moved here there was a professional production of the same show we had done at the local community theater in Montana, so I thought it would be fun to take him to it. I absolutely loved that when it was over he said, "Well that was pretty good but I think our production was better." It wasn't but I loved that his investment had been sown so deep so quickly. He didn't continue to do theater but he experienced collaboration where those ideas only exist when we all come into the room.
I have been thinking about my students and how I hope that when they leave their respective schools they will hold their classmates dear to them, as they are their first collaborators, and those that know them the best. So often we are exhausted from the intensity and rigor of drama school, and so upon graduation run fast and hard from our schools and our classmates. I do understand the impulse having had that same one but ultimately I love those nuts I spent 4 years with at Juilliard . I know them, and they know me, and we spent 4 years in deep collaboration. Not always successfully, and not always with ease but damn did I learn a lot from them...that could be an entirely new blog! So my hope is that if you are reading this you will find a classmate today and share a laugh and think about a future collaboration. Don't wait for someone to give you a job, go make a job. Do something that will fulfill you and don't worry about the results. Just go make some art!