Yesterday, I attended a play reading at a local theater, and was once again pleasantly surprised by the large Chicago audiences who turn out for new work. The play was good and the vocal audience discussion afterwards was even better.
I’m going to be taking a playwriting class and also doing some grantwriting this winter. Back in the game? Theater for Dara hasn’t always been the healthiest thing – or most conducive to sleep, rest, exercise, relationships, friends, three meals a day, a bank account bigger than a stick of gum, etc.
I am reminded, since it IS Super Bowl Sunday, of other people who take part in pasttimes (football? ice skating?) that can create long-term damage to the body or the soul. I read an article recently, which I can’t find this moment, that interviewed many former football players who were now dealing with lifelong injuries from their pursuit of the sport. Of course, they overwhelmingly said they had no regrets.
I do have some regrets about all the theater I’ve done, and the greatest one is financial. I wish that when I was younger and had enough energy to burn so many candles at so many ends that I looked like a human fireworks display that I had used some of that energy towards making money, to support myself in my late twenties, while I redistribute my energies more towards writing.
I have some sense of a few years mismanaged, of time not spent well, of decisions that could have been better made. I took care of the art but I didn’t take care of my self – and the result is some resentment, however slight, towards the art.
But being in that theater yesterday, hearing an audience experience a play in process-progress, I felt things I haven’t felt since I left. I felt my soul lifted like a tarp on an unused car. I felt the engines turn on.
If there is a way to keep doing this kind of work, but with less damage to body, soul, and checking account, then I’m going to try. Playwriting can’t kill you, right? Yet?