Monday, December 28, 2015

Canadian Edition Wraps Term

Now that the first edition of Dramaturgy Open Office Hours – Canadian Edition has ended, we wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on our first sessions. Instead of writing a blog post, we thought it would be fun to put our words into a conversation (which you may read below). We want to thank all the artists who joined us these past weeks and the guest dramaturgs who were so giving of their time. Dramaturgy Open Office Hours – Canadian Edition will return in 2016 and we’ll be announcing the dates in the New Year. Best wishes all and thank you again.



Emma:  Hey Catherine!

Catherine Hey Emma!

Emma:  Sooo...! Blog posty/conversationy time!

Catherine:  Exactly! How do we want to start?

Emma: Why don't we start by asking a question and get the ball rolling?

To start us off: did you find there were similar questions that kept cropping up from your patrons? Or was it a menagerie of themes?

Catherine I would say there was a menagerie of different themes, but similar questions seemed to come up every week, no matter the topic. How about you?

Emma: I found our sessions to be quite similar. The questions we received were typically about the work that the artists brought to the table and less about the field as a whole, which was very exciting for us.

Catherine Oh yeah, that's great!

Emma:  What was unifying about those questions was that they so often had to do with just needing an outside ear from the creators' artistic teams or current person. Which was a nice reminder to me that even when you have a very close relationship with your fellow developers, having a somewhat objective outside voice that isn't familiar with the creation process can be a very powerful (and empowering) tool.

Catherine Yeah, I had a lot of people who just needed a patient set of ears to work through their ideas. It seemed like the process of organizing their thoughts in order to explain it to someone new did a lot for them

Emma: Yes! That's something that I think we use often when we're creating a new show, we'll ask someone to read a draft, a scene, or come to a reading... But is something that I think I will be looking to use in a slightly more structured way in my own work.

Which, quick non sequitur, I think we have to do when writing a grant application. We have to distil our thoughts into a concise manner for a group of people to read...

I found something similar happening at our sessions... though it changed depending how many people were there... if there were a lot, they had less time and had to be more precise... if there were only a few people the artists often had an hour or more to chat with us.

Catherine I mean, the grant writing process can be tedious and onerous, but it does help you clarify your thoughts and hone in on exactly what you want to accomplish

Emma:  Absolutely. It also asks you, in a somewhat interesting/gentle way, to monetize your work.

CatherineHaha yes! It's the nature of the beast.

I think our conversations seemed to go a similar way. I had a lot of moments where I wasn't exactly sure if I was helping anyone, but then I realized that just the process of speaking out loud was giving them what they needed

Emma: Exactly! Which I think we could all use a little more of in theatre. So often I feel like I need to say something really smart or insightful, when often someone just needs to hear themselves speak to someone else to come to a realization.

Catherine Yeah, I agree. Or just simple questions here and there to keep their thought process going

Emma: Exactly. I found it to be a real lesson in dramaturgy, actually. I had no prior experience working with a lot of the people who joined us, and often I wasn't super familiar with their work (save a few), so had to be really on the ball (e.g. focused, listening, hearing them, and discovering their thought patterns to know when it was useful to speak and when it was useful to listen)

Catherine Flexing those dramaturgical muscles!

Emma:  Alon Nashman has coined this great term "slamaturgy". Which I think these sessions could turn into if you're not careful...

Catherine I LOVE THAT!

Emma:  RIGHT? It's a great phrase... and I think there are times when "slamaturgy" is really useful... but it's generally a "keep in your pocket"

Catherine Wait... slamaturgy? As in, you're bringing them down?

Emma: No no no. As in,

Artist: here's a scene, we need it cut in the next ten minutes.

Dramaturg: I call on the powers of SLAMATURGY

It's very fast, quick, to the point, no beating around the bush, work-that-thing quickly and see what happens

Catherine You just made us sound like superheroes. I'm on board 100%. We had a saying in my undergrad, "Hold on tightly, let go lightly"... otherwise known as "killing your babies"...

Emma:  hahaha, that's great

Catherine:  Sometimes I think it's the job of the dramaturg to make those tough decisions

Emma:  Oh absolutely

Catherine For the betterment of the project, of course!

Emma: What were the lessons that you took away from this project? We've already started to wade into this a little bit... but I thought I'd formalize it a touch more.

CatherineWell, I took away something interesting that's may be specific to Ottawa.

Emma: Ooo I'm intrigued

Catherine:  Every week, the discussion started to shift towards the identity of the Canadian playwright, specifically the Ottawa playwright. Is there one? If so, what is it?

In Ottawa, there's not really a central body or organization for new play development

Emma:  Ahhh... now that's interesting

Catherine Often, people have to self-produce or go elsewhere. What happens to new work in Ottawa? Sometimes it has one Fringe run and then disappears

There were 2 or 3 different weeks where we talked about getting a play reading series together. Or a playwright's unit beyond the units at the GCTC, which are usually for established writers
How does one hone their craft in Ottawa? I had no answer for them beyond the usual. For that reason (among many), I'm glad there was such a response to these office hours. I can tell there are like-minded artists in the city who are looking for the chance to develop new work.

How about in Toronto? What did you take away from your sessions?

Emma:  I didn't feel a unifying sense of that conversation happening... (bummer!) (not really) …
I learned a bunch of things, but a few really stand out for me and somewhat in contrast to Ottawa...
First of all, it took us five weeks to grow our numbers to a "critical mass".

Catherine:  What would a "critical mass" be in this situation?

Emma:  In this situation it was four artists. Which is a lot when you're trying to facilitate a conversation between a group while tackling one person's individual needs/questions.

It also meant that I had to step up my game in that regard and learn to move a conversation along (something Bob White excelled at)

I'm not sure quite what that says about Toronto, other than that it's a very dense city with a large group of artists who don't necessarily have the luxury of time, or who are hard to reach (not that Ottawa artists have the luxury of time either! Just that it's a smaller community so perhaps word gets around a lot faster).

Catherine:  Oh yeah. Word gets around faster in Ottawa, that's for sure.

Emma: Second, and honestly, I had the luxury of seeing a lot of different dramaturgical styles at work with the different hosts. Everyone who guest dramaturged for us had a different approach to working with the people who were there, which was really quite interesting to watch. I felt like I was getting a master class in dramaturgy each week...

Catherine:  That's great!

Emma:  And also made me realize that I need to broaden my interests/reading... 

Catherine:  Oh, for sure.

Emma:  I think that a special strength of dramaturgs is that they tend to have a lot of interesting knowledge at their fingertips that they can throw into a conversation to get their point across... just little tidbits that will broaden the conversation and help artists find a new way into what they're doing. Not to say that I don't have a broad knowledge, but it was a great reminder to stay interested... maybe read one interesting article a day, pick up a book of poetry instead of a novel... that kind of thing

Catherine:  But it's also learning how to apply all that information you accumulate

Emma:  Exactly! We had people from all ranges of experience join us, and it was also a bit of a lesson in how to talk to artists, not based on where they are in their career/knowledge, but based on who they are and what they bring to the table

Catherine:  Which is a very dramaturgical skill set! And also realizing that you can't make everyone happy…

Emma:  In one of our sessions we had a pair of young artists, recently graduated, join us all the way from Burlington (amazing!). In discussing their work, which dealt with monstrosity, my guest dramaturg suggested the monster could be metaphorical or physical...

They just nodded when he asked if they understood... but I had this feeling that they were unsure (mainly because I was!) and so I piped up and said "I'm a dunce, explain that to me" – the choice to “out” myself made the conversation much more rich and changed the course of the entire session for all of us
Catherine:  I had a similar experience with two artists who came by who both study Public History

Emma:  oh cool!

Catherine:  I felt so dumb having to ask the difference between History and Public History, but it started an interesting conversation about the similarities between playwriting, dramaturgy, and the work of the public historian.

Emma: That sounds like a very fruitful/interesting conversation

Let's look towards the future... if there are any changes you'd like to institute in the next round, what would they be?

Catherine:  Not a huge deal, but I got a lot of feedback about having the sessions in the afternoon. Seems like a small detail, but I forget that not everyone has the luxury of a flexible schedule. (Haha)

Emma:  What were the preferred times?

Catherine:  If we want to be more accessible to a larger group of people, I had a few people suggest sessions in the evenings.

Emma:  That's useful... it would be much easier for me to hold them in the evenings as well

Catherine:  There ya go! Also, I'm curious about an online component to the office hours, as we've discussed before.

Emma:  Yeah! I'm really intrigued about how that might work and how it would change the conversation. I also want to look more into the satellite idea, to have more across the country.

Catherine:  Now that we have a session under our belts, it would be easier to approach people. Theoretically, we have a good idea of how it works now. Or how it could work. I felt like each week required a different approach.

Emma: Something I think that you guys did, which was really important, is you had food

Catherine:  Only one or two weeks! It would be nice for it to be a consistent thing. Food automatically puts people at ease for some reason. It's magical.

Emma:  It is... breaking bread!

Catherine: Well, this has been great!


Emma:  Thanks Catherine!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dramaturgy Open Office Hours - Canadian Edition

Emma Mackenzie Hillier here, along with Catherine Ballachey. We’re emerging dramaturgs who live and work in Canada, your neighbour to the north. Earlier this year, during the LMDA Conference in New York, I got a text message from Catherine asking if I’d be interested in starting a Canadian edition of Open Office Hours. I was tickled! I’d read about the project before and thought it was a great concept, but hadn’t ever considered the idea of starting a chapter up in the great white north. It turns out that our dogs were also really excited by the idea... #doggieturgy at its best


This is Lucy, she's a very technical doggieturg and tends to moon over Backwards and Forwards 

One of most enjoyable aspects of Dramaturgy Open Office Hours – Canadian Edition is that we’re beginning an Ontario chapter in two different cities. Catherine resides in Ottawa (for now, I’m hoping to steal her away eventually), and I live in Toronto. Both cities have a very active theatre community, and both can benefit from this kind of open space. We’ll be holding concurrent sessions in our towns, 2:00-4:00pm every Monday from Nov 9-Dec 14, and social media-ing it up.

 There are a number of goals we’re hoping to accomplish with Dramaturgy Open Office Hours – Canadian Edition. Foremost in our minds is our desire to make dramaturgy more accessible to artists by answering questions, being present and available, and curious. Hopefully, we also are far enough along in our careers and knowledge to offer information that is relevant and satisfactory to our participants. We’re also looking forward to offering an opportunity for people to network in a safe and risk-free environment. The principle being: no question is too basic, so risk asking questions you’re a little ashamed of. If we don’t have the answer, we’ll do our best to find the information (research being a core strength of dramaturgs). Finally, we hope to get a conversation going. If you have just a few questions but want to hang out for two hours and chat with myself, our guest dramaturg, and whoever else attends… that is awesome. If you’d rather ask your question and leave, that’s still awesome. This is an event that is entirely decided by those who attend.

We’re looking forward to meeting you, and hope that you’re looking forward to meeting us. 

Dramaturgy Open Office Hours – Canadian Edition Details 

November 9 to December 14, every Monday from 2:00-4:00pm
Ottawa: Great Canadian Theatre Centre – Lobby
Toronto: Toronto Metro Reference Library – Main Floor (centre of floor)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Session 11: 9/24/14

Jeremy here. This has been an exciting fall expansion for the Project, to new social media (Twitter, at #opendramaturgy), and to new locations around the country. And after musing at length on here myself, I'm happy in these remaining couple of blogs for the fall to let some other voices lead the way.

From Amy Freeman, our facilitator in Philadelphia, about this week's session:

Although Philly has only had two Open Office Hours (so far), it's been interesting to see if any patterns have emerged in terms of questions people who drop by have. This past week, two people (both directors) dropped by with specific questions about research. Although the questions were along the lines of "how do I get started. . .?", the end goals of each research question and of each project were vastly different.

Our guest dramaturg, Sally, was able to find specific information in response to the first director's question, and showed it to him at the table. The next question about research required a much more fluid answer, reflecting, I think, the differences between the two projects. One person is working on a play that's been published and produced, it is in some ways already laid out. The other is working on a devised work that's in the very early stages.

The third visitor last week (who actually arrived first) was a playwright. He had specific questions about a work in progress and brought along the first 10 pages for us to read over and discuss. The writer was most concerned about changes in time (past and present) in the piece, and I think Sally and I were able to provide some decent feedback, even with just 10 pages to go on.

This past week had a decidedly different feel to the first week. The first session in Philly was additive - people came with their questions, but then stuck around to hear other people's questions and engage with the conversation. This week, there was more of an individual vibe.

Both are fine, it's just interesting to see people's working styles or preferences emerge in a casual setting.
And from Linda Lombardi, guest dramaturg at the DC location:

When Catherine invited me to be part of open dramaturgy hours, I didn’t know quite what to expect. But I wasn’t surprised when it turned out to be a night talking about plays, writers, and the different roles we play in our respective theaters. More and more theaters are hiring literary managers. It makes sense. The more theaters commit to new plays, the more of a need there is for someone on staff to coordinate all the scripts, playwrights, and agents that inevitably follow.

Over and over I've heard us called gatekeepers. But that implies something to get past. Like you need a secret password. The model Catherine and I both follow is more open. I call myself a bridge builder. She calls herself a matchmaker. Part researcher, part editor, part community organizer, our responsibilities range from script wrangling to actor packets to post-show discussions. We are, so often, the link between the rehearsal room and the audience, between the playwright and the theater. Maybe it's semantics but one model causes the writer to try and gain access while the other models are interested in building a relationship that lasts beyond one individual play. I know which one works for me.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Session 10: 9/17/14


NYC

An actor/producer showed up with questions aimed primarily for guest dramaturg Alexis Williams, who works at Bret Adams, Ltd and ably fielded queries about writer contracts, royalties, and commissions.

I was delighted to talk with a producer working on a relatively small scale, and still so committed to paying his writers fairly, treating them well, and planning in advance how to do so. And I was glad to see that people are coming in order to meet the superb guest dramaturgs who have been donating their time.

Most of Alexis’s answers were specific to the questions being asked, although for anyone with questions about writer contracts, the Dramatists Guild is a good place to start (http://www.dramatistsguild.com/businessaffairs/). Or, reaching out to a staff member at a theater company that regularly produces new work.

One more widely relevant point that came up: in response to the producer’s questions about any general things to keep in mind as he is bringing a new work to the stage, we talked about keeping writers involved in all aspects of the production, even those over which their contracts don’t dictate approval.

Playwright/creator approval of cast, director, creative team is standard. But involving the writers/creators in other discussions can help build a trusting collaboration between them and producers. For example, it’s beneficial for all involved to invite the generative artists into marketing conversations at specific points. Aside from any great ideas that might arise about how to sell their work to the public, it’s an additional way to establish trust, open communication, and unity in the way the production is built/viewed/discussed. Good intentions aside, when these conversations don’t occur, surprises can disrupt the creators’ real work of just making the play and sharing it with an audience. I’ve heard about everything from unfortunate plot spoilers in the marketing language, to public access being granted to artistic rehearsal/process without artist awareness.

One of the best books I've ever read about collaboration, and about good communication in general, is Making Plays: The Writer-Director Relationship in the Theater Today by Richard Nelson and David Jones. It’s out of print, but if you can track down a used copy or one at a library, I’d highly recommend it. It speaks a lot to the vulnerability of the process, and how to navigate collaboration by finding ways to stay in great communication and aware of the many distinct but interlocked roles in the process.

Take care,

Jeremy

***

Philadelphia didn’t have any open office hours this week.

***

Baltimore’s open office hours facilitator Catherine María Rodríguez opened a show this week, so her blogging time has been limited. But you can follow her live-tweeting of this past week’s session, along with the full Twitter conversation at http://sfy.co/rgxG.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Session 9: 9/10/14


This week’s blog features thoughts from the office hour facilitators in each of the project’s three cities. You can find updates about the project here and on our Facebook page (facebook.com/opendramaturgy); the conversation continues on Twitter at #opendramaturgy.

NYC — Jeremy Stoller

A man from the technology sector who is creating a solo performance piece, wanted to talk about its future—how to go about finding collaborators (a director and/or dramaturg), and how to mount the show. Should he devote resources to submitting the work to venues that can choose to produce or present his show? Or put it up himself, and either take on all producing duties or hire others to help him?

Guest dramaturg Alex Barron and I shared some suggestions, including:

--attending other solo festivals and performances, to see what work seems well-directed or well-produced, and reaching out to the artists responsible.

--applying for solo festivals; while continuing to show up for the open mic, spoken word, and storytelling opportunities he’s been attending, and getting the piece out into the world for people to see—finding an audience, and honing the work itself; exploring what self-producing or bringing on some producing partners would look like; e-mailing the venues he thinks might be a good fit to see how he might get his work considered. Pursuing multiple avenues simultaneously feels like a stronger choice than pursuing any of these options individually.

We talked about the flexibility that was afforded to him in the show being its own one-man band; while at the moment the entire responsibility for the show is his, he also has the ability to put it up with more ease than a playwright writing a play for an ensemble cast. And we encouraged him to take advantage of this, to the extent that it could help his show.

A director/deviser stopped by, and talked about her positive experiences with dramaturgs—a conversation I’m always happy to have; the difference in the way dramaturgy is approached/deployed in Europe vs. the U.S; and some challenges/questions she’s facing with a devised piece she’s developing.

She talked about the free flow of ideas that exists between her and her dramaturgs when the collaboration is working well, and how much she has relied on them to support and build on her vision. They become an integral part of her creative team, there less to provide simply research and context, but to reflect back to her the ideas she is offering, and to refract them through their own understanding.

We questioned why this sort of relationship isn’t more common in American theatermaking, and could only guess that it had something to do with the processes we’ve established, and some with an attitude of ownership over work that looks different elsewhere.

The conversations with these two artists—one less experienced in the performing arts, one who has devoted her career to them—as well as with Alex in the downtime between them, were fun and inspiring and thought-provoking, and made me glad to have this project back on my schedule.

PHILADELPHIA – Amy Freeman

Going into it, I had no idea what to expect. A few people emailed to say they would stop by. But, email's so fickle, it's easy to back out. I was joined that day by Heather Helinksy, a freelance dramaturg whose dramaturgical accomplishments are almost too numerous to list - she's worked with American Repertory Theatre, The Kennedy Center, The Lark, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and Woolly Mammoth, among many others.

Heather and I hadn't seen each other in while, so we used that first hour or so, while waiting for people, to catch up on what we were doing and talk about the project a bit. I expressed a bit of nervousness about having no one show, she told me a playwright she knew would be arriving at 6.

Then, our first visitor arrived. A playwright looking for guidance about what to do next with his play. It was a historical drama that he had begun writing years ago and that had had a reading in 2011. The play was very long and at the time, he was hesitant to cut it or to consider splitting in it into two pieces. He then had another reading of the play over the summer of this year and had realized that maybe cutting it into two was the thing to do.

I let Heather take the lead here, and she provided the writer with advice on working through the play and on possible venues to submit it to or work on it with. That's one of the great ways dramaturgs can help writers. It's not just about being another set of eyes on a piece. It's also about being able to direct a writer to a theater whose mission or goals align with what he or she hopes to do with the piece.

We were soon joined by a director and the talk shifted to the work and art of directing. An interesting thing that happened this past Wednesday was that instead of people coming and going throughout the three hours, people who arrived stayed, so the conversations began to overlap or people began to be able to share their experiences or bounce thoughts off of each other. It wasn't just Heather and me answering questions.

The director expressed a deep interest in really diving into the historical context of the plays he works on, figuring out the little details that really cement a play in its period. He was also very much into taking a different approach to commonly produced plays and to working music and dance into the shows he worked on.

Our third and final visitor was another playwright. She had some questions about the process of working with a dramaturg and the process of writing plays. One question that stood out to me was how does a playwright figure out her story? What role does the dramaturg play in pointing out the story to a writer or in helping her shape that story?

To me, the role of the dramaturg is to help the play find its story. But, that can feel a bit sticky, as you don't want to tell a playwright, "this is what you're saying." Finding the balance between, “this is what I'm reading in the piece,” and insisting that that is what is being said is very difficult.

It all boils down to having a solid relationship with a writer, but what do you do before you have the relationship? Stepping too far one way or another can break that bond before a dramaturg and writer really have a chance to get going.

The writer also brought up questions about having multiple dramaturgs read and respond to a play. In a way, her question gets back to a discussion Heather and I were having at the start of the day's project, but I didn't think to make the connection at the time. We were discussing plays that are submitted, accepted, and ultimately workshopped at multiple festivals/workshops/theaters over the course of a season. When does that become an issue for the writer or when is having multiple workshop readings having too much workshop readings?

I like to ask questions and encourage responses, so I think I will end here. More to come in the next few weeks.

BALTIMORE/DC – Catherine María Rodríguez

The first Open Office Hours in Baltimore covered a range of topics, from submissions and devised/adapted works to burnout and dream processes. Our guest was Hannah Hessel Ratner, a freelance dramaturg who works in the education department at Shakespeare Theatre in D.C.

A local playwright kicked off the conversation by asking for feedback on a script submission; this particular play, she shared, had made it to the finalist round for several new play festivals – but had never been selected. After reading the cover page, Hannah and I weighed in. The playwright's write-up on the play was more of a beat-by-beat synopsis. While it noted that the play was a farce, that tone and sense of playfulness was missing in action here. Hannah suggested that this paragraph be leveraged as a teaser and recommended that spoilers be hinted at but not fully divulged. Folks from Twitter echoed this and added that expository information is less enticing than reading what's exciting about the journey of the play. We moved on from there to talk about devisers and brainstormed the following list of good ones to check out, with thanks to those who joined us at the roundtable and those tuning in via Twitter:
  • The Wooster Group
  • Rude Mechanicals
  • Steve Berkoff
  • Dog & Pony D.C.
  • Caryl Churchill
  • Sojourn
  • Cornerstone
  • XOXO CLT
  • Little Green Pig
  • Haymaker
  • Hidden Voices
  • Pig Iron Theatre Co.
  • SITI Company
  • PearlDamour
  • The TEAM
  • Bricolage Theatre
  • 500 Clown

The conversation then turned to adaptations, and we were particularly interested in the topic of translating intangible qualities, like spirituality and mysticism. Hannah spoke about the "experiential" qualities of her dramaturgy, drawing from her relationship to words and visuals (her husband is a poet, and she has a design background). A physical and visual vocabulary, she advised, is just as useful as knowledge of random tidbits. Experiential dramaturgy is empowering for the players, she said.

A young theater professional piped up to ask about burnout. Amid suggestions to take time for oneself, say no, and talk to non-theater folk about theater (which is, we were assured via Twitter, quite refreshing), we stumbled into discussing dream dramaturgical processes. Everyone had slightly different ideas (exploration without production limits; being considered a member of the design team; specificity as a guiding principle)--but the shared value was true collaboration and engagement between dramaturg and creative team from the onset. So, it seems we all appreciated being seen as more than just the arbiter of research or the script junkie. Our engagement, we agreed, extends into audience relations, marketing, and more.

By the end of the Hours, we were excitedly talking about reframing the conversation around failure for ourselves, taking risks as artists and institutions, and guiding an audience to "lean in" rather than "lean back" in their seats.

With a revolving door of visitors and online shout-outs from New Dramatists, Dog & Pony DC, and a stream of individual folks, it was an exciting start to the Open Office Hours in Baltimore and the fall 2014 session.

Join us on on 9/17 from 4-7pm at Dooby's Coffee (Baltimore) for the next session, with special guest Otis Cortez Ramsey-Zoë.

¡Sonrisas! -Catherine


Friday, June 13, 2014

Session 8: 6/10/14; and, announcing summer break


Hello friends of The Dramaturgy Open Office Hour Project,

I’ve decided to put this project on hiatus for the summer. I’m going to be working out of town in July; also, there have been fewer visitors since Memorial Day. Whether that’s because we’re entering summer, or simply because this experiment has played itself out, I’m not sure. But it seems smart to take a pause, while I evaluate whether to resume the open office hours in the fall; or to take what I’ve gathered from it and incorporate it into some other project, or simply into the way I go about my work in the future.

I welcome any thoughts from people who would be interested in seeing this or some other kind of open dramaturgical forum continue, about what your specific interests would be, venues/times that are convenient for you, etc.

Which is all to say: the project is not finished. I’m still interested in exploring the role of dramaturgy in collaboration.

Some stats about this experiment are below; I know there are many ways to evaluate this beyond these numbers, but part of what I set out to do was share my discoveries along the way, and so I want to include this information, not to claim any success or lack thereof, but simply to document:

Number of weekly open office hour sessions: 8

Number of open office hours total: 24

Number of venues: 2

Number of visitors: 21 (3 of the 21 returned for a second visit)

Number of participating dramaturgs: 5

Breakdown of visitors’ theatrical disciplines (there were numerous multi-disciplinary artists):
- 20 writers
- 5 actors
- 3 dramaturgs
- 2 producers

Average number of blog readers per post (as of the publication of this entry): 40

Number of Facebook likes (as of the publication of this entry): 251
(from a quick look, about 80% of those are from strangers, or at least, people whom I didn’t know before launching this project)

I’d loosely promised myself I would give the project at least six weeks, and we’ve passed that, so I’d like to say that I’m letting it go for the moment without any feelings that it is less successful for having lasted two months as opposed to continuing indefinitely without pause. In a business where long runs mean greater success, I’m reminding myself that this is an experiment and not a production; and the goal was not so much to build a product as to see what is on people’s minds.

This project has forced me to think about my work in ways I hadn’t before; some of those have been put into the previous blog entries, but many more aren’t fully formed yet in my head. I’m hopeful that this project has been useful to others as well—the theater artists who visited, and perhaps beyond that in some way I can’t recognize now.

I look forward to further interactions with you all, and am wishing you a great summer.

Best wishes,

Jeremy