The month passed quickly. I knew it would from being there last year. You think a month is a long time, but it's not. And that time span had its own life. I was pushing and pushing and feeling I wasn't getting anywhere, and suddenly the third week it all broke free and I didn't even know it was happening. It happened to other people, too, that third-week phenomena, with one week left. The horse smelling the barn. The closest analogy I can think of is hiking in the mountains, and you're slogging along, one foot in front of the other smothered under the canopy, and then you come to a clear spot and look around, and you had no idea you had gotten that high up. From sheer grunt work.
In those four weeks the script to The New American became much better than it was when I got there. That was my number one goal, and I did it. I wanted a script that I could bring back to Boston and start working on with actors. If that's all I did I would have been happy. But there's always so much more happening there.
More and more you're seeing artists defining themselves as multidisciplinary. You don't see it so much in theater where it seems that the "silos" are still intact, titles and positions are clung to, though more and more you're seeing playwrights acting and actors producing. But it's nothing like I saw in Vermont where I saw quite a few artists who were building installations (scenic designs?) lighting them, shooting them, then manipulating the images on laptops and iPads. What do you call that? Who cares? What's their purpose? Who knows, and again, who cares? I met "photographers" who didn't use cameras (they're not cameras anymore anyway; they're computers) having long ago redefined what a photograph is. I lived with multimedia artists whose media included hair, menstrual blood, and strips of paper and string. I saw an installation (or was it sculpture?) that took up an entire room, was only about an inch and a half high, and was one of the most powerful pieces I saw the entire month.
Living in this environment causes you to reevaluate your own work. How can it not? You're all feeding each other. And without gatekeepers approving your work or "thought leaders"--has there ever been a more Orwellian, a more fascist term?--telling you/pressuring you into what you should be creating and thinking, you suddenly realize the restraints you live and work under in this "real world." And when you get back here everything seems a little smaller. Like you're trying to squeeze back into clothes you've outgrown. While it's important that I brought the script to The New American to the next level, and it's equally important that I grew as an artist.
Coming back to the "real world" makes me wonder how am I going to turn the new ideas I have in my head into reality? It's so easy to daydream unfettered, and I feel when I left for Vermont that I already had a number of balls in the air, and now I feel as if I have even more. I know in a month I've grown as a playwright and as an artistic director. I know I have vision, and I've proven that I can lead other artists to that vision and help them grow artistically. I want to keep doing that but in an even more complex, rich way. This, I think, will pretty much be the focus of my 2018.